WININET.dll missing

I have an HP Mini 1000 (flash drive, no hard drive). I rolled back the computer to the earliest date to get rid of files I no longer need. When I reboot I get a message saying WININET.dll was not found. I tried rebooting in safe mode and got the same message. When the desktop screen appears, it is blank and useless. I have to open task manager to log out in order to reboot. I tried downloaded a WININET.dll file from a site(I know, scary) to a flash drive. There is no way to open it on the damaged machine. Any suggestions on how to fix this? I guess the first thing will to be getting an external input system to work but I am stuck.
 

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Last updated November 17, 2019 Views 55,979 Applies to:
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Booting in Safe Mode and running sfc /scannow will not help you for two reasons:

sfc /scannow will not run in Safe Mode.

Running sfc /scannow will not replace the missing file even if it did work.

Of course you should be suspicious of files you download form unknown sources, b
ut there are copies of the wininet.dll file on your system in other places.

You can also use Task Manager to copy from the flash drive to your hard disk if you want, but I would save that for the last option and get a copy of the file from a trustworthy source.

If the c:\windows\system32\wininet.dll file is missing you will see a message like this:

Explorer.EXE - Unable to Locate Component
This application has failed to start because WININET.dll was not found.  Re-installing the application may fix this problem.

Clicking OK, you may then see a message like this:

dwwin.exe - Unable to Locate Component
This application has failed to start because WININET.DLL.dll was not found.  
Re-installing the application may fix this problem.

Depending on your configuration, you may see other complaining messages, so just keep clicking the OK button as they come up.

Clicking OK, you will eventually get to an empty desktop with just the background wallpaper showing.  

Since the Explorer.exe will not start without the file and therfore is not running, there will be no desktop icons or Task Bar, but you can still
navigate and do other things using Task Manager.

Depending on your configuration, other applications may complain in various ways, so just click the OK button as each message comes up.  
You may not be able to replace the missing file until all the pop up error messages are acknowledged (work quickly).

From the desktop background image. press Ctrl-Alt-Del to launch the Task Manager and from there you can replace the missing wininet.dll file
(you can replace any missing file from Task Manager).

We know that XP keeps copies of critical system files in the following folder:

c:\windows\system32\dllcache

You need to copy the backup copy of the file from the dllcache folder into the system32 folder where it belongs.

From Task Manager, click File, New Task (Run...),  Browse... and navigate to the following folder:

c:\windows\system32\dllcache

In the Browse window, be sure the 'Files of type' down box is set to 'All Files' or you will not be able to "see" the file you need when you are browsing the folders.

Browse to the following folder:

c:\windows\system32\dllcache

If you do not see the file, be sure the 'Files of type' drop down list is set to 'All Files' or you will not see all the files.

If the file is also missing from the dllcahce folder, look for a copy in this folder:

c:\windows\ServicePackFiles\i386

Locate the wininet.dll file, right click it and choose Copy (this copies the file to the Windows clipboard).

Navigate up one level to the following folder:

c:\windows\system32

Right click an empty area in the c:\windows\system32 window and choose Paste to paste in the missing file where it belongs.

If any pop up messages come up from other applications complaining about the missing file, just click OK so you can complete the
file copying process.  If there is a complaining message, you need to click OK to get rid of the message to complete the file copy.

After the file has been copied, from the Task Manager, click Shut Down, 'Restart' to restart the system (always try to avoid using the power
button to restart the system).

It is possible that the file is also missing from the dllcache folder, but it is in other places on your system.

If the c:\windows\system32\wininet.dll file is missing, you can also replace it by booting the system into Safe Mode with Command Prompt
and copying in the backup copy of the file.

After booting into Safe Mode with Command Prompt, from the Command Prompt window, replace the missing file with the backup copy be entering the following command (in the Command Prompt window):

copy c:\windows\system32\dllcache\wininet.dll   c:\windows\system32

If the file is also missing from the dllcahce folder, look for a copy in this folder:

c:\windows\ServicePackFiles\i386

Respond in the affirmative if asked to overwrite the existing file and then you should see a message that 1 file(s) was copied.

Enter 'exit' to close the Command Prompt window and press Ctrl-Alt-Del to launch the Task Manager and from the Task Manager, Shut Down
menu choose 'Restart' to restart your system (always try to avoid using the power button to restart the system).

If the file is also missing from the dllcahce folder, look for a copy in this folder:

c:\windows\ServicePackFiles\i386

Once your system is running, you might want to figure out how it got broken in the first place and fix that problem.

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