How to Uninstall & Reinstall DirectX on Windows: Quick Guide

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If you asked a knowledgeable computer user how to uninstall Internet Explorer completely in Windows, they would likely advise you not to do that because IE is part of Windows and some features require the IE files be present or there would be crashes and other weird problems. The same principle applies to to DirectX. Simply put, DirectX is a Windows technology that enables higher performance in graphics and sound when you’re playing games or watching video on your PC. Even if you CAN uninstall DirectX completely, it’s almost guaranteed you that you will face problems on your computer by doing so.

For example, if you uninstalled DirectX and tried to launch Windows Live Messenger, there will be an error popup “This application has filed to start because DSOUND.dll was not found. Re-installing the application may fix this problem”. That’s because the dsound.dll is a part of DirectX which adds functionality for Direct Sound and Messenger requires it. Logging in to Outlook.com will make the screen and advertisements keep on flashing. As for computer games, anything that relies on DirectX wouldn’t run, which is most games available today.

program can't start dsound.dll is missing

So, if you have problems when trying to play a game or watch a video and know that it has something to do with DirectX, the first thing we would suggest is to download the latest version of DirectX and perform a re-installation. This will replace any missing files. However, if re-installation fails or doesn’t fix the problem, your last resort would be to uninstall DirectX and then try installing again. Here’s a few different ways on how to try and uninstall DirectX.


Note: After completely removing it from your computer, you won’t be able to re-install DirectX, so this isn’t the ideal way to go about it. If you try running the dxwebsetup.exe, you’d get the error “An internal system error occurred. Please refer to DXError.log and DirectX.log in your Windows folder to determine the problem.” Weirdly, both log files cannot be found in the Windows directory. What you need to do is to rollback to the original DirectX from the Windows setup disc first, then install and update DirectX to the latest version. There are a few tools and scripts around which are able to help you uninstall DirectX or rollback to the original DirectX from Windows installation CD.

1. Iobit Uninstaller

This Windows uninstall tool makes it easy for the user to eliminate a faulty DirectX on their device. This software provides additional security when removing unwanted programs, Windows applications, and malicious extensions. To get started, follow the following steps.

1. Download, install, and launch the software.

IObit Uninstaller dashboard
IObit Dashboard

2. Next, activate the Iobit Uninstaller by using a license code. Once you’ve entered the license code, click Register Now to activate it.

3. Next, visit the computer’s control panel and select Settings > Programs and Features > Powerful uninstall to launch the program.

IObit Uninstaller uninstall page
IObit Uninstaller

4. To delete the DriverX, right-click on the program and select Powerful Uninstall to begin the removal process. Drag the program over the Iobit Uninstaller and the app will automatically begin work.

Download Iobit Uninstaller


2. A Simple Registry Hack

The first trick to try and get DirectX to re-install involves a small change in the registry. This does the simple job of fooling Windows into thinking it has an older version of DirectX currently installed and therefore will allow the latest version to be installed again over the top. This is the easiest fix to try and doesn’t need the use of third party software. Follow these simple steps:

1. Run Regedit by pressing Win key+R to get the Run Box and type Regedit, then press enter.

2. Locate the following registry key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\DirectX

You should then see a value called “Version” with a data value of 4.09.00.0904

uninstall directx registry

3. Simply double click on Version and change the number from 4.09.00.0904 to 4.08.00.0904. Then close the registry editor.

If you’re not someone who likes to poke around in the registry, simply download one of the .reg files from below, and double click to import one of the above numbers into the registry for you.

Set Version to 4.08.00.0904Set Version back to 4.09.00.0904

Now download and run the DirectX installer, and it should re-install. This could also work in Windows Vista and 7 because the 4.09.00.0904 version number is the same. We haven’t fully tested it though on these operating systems, so do it with care and at your own risk.


3. DirectX 9 Uninstaller

DirectX 9 Uninstaller

This uninstaller uses your original XP CD and restores the original DirectX 8 files from it. DirectX 9 uninstaller extracts the DirectX 8 files from the Driver.cab in the i386 folder on the CD into a folder on your hard drive called C:\DXTEMP. Extract the DirectX 9 Uninstaller files and then execute the UnDx9.bat file. That will start the process to uninstall and replace the DirectX 9 files. The UnDx9 Uninstaller batch file MUST BE USED IN SAFE MODE because DirectX files will be locked in normal mode. The tool can only uninstall DirectX 9 from Windows XP and 2000.

Download DirectX 9 Uninstaller

We have three more methods to uninstall or rollback DirectX on page 2.

4. DirectX Eradicator

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