We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

We've partnered with Certified Experts, Carl Webster and Richard Faulkner, to bring you a podcast all about Citrix Workspace, moving to the cloud, and analytics & intelligence. Episode 2 coming soon!Listen Now


Crash due to comctl32.dll

yairh asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-03
I'm writing a shell-extension dll, using property sheets.
Compiled under VC++ 5.0, it works fine.
If I try it on a machine where VC50 was never installed, it crashes while trying to create a property sheet.
I investigated and found that VC50 updates comctl32.dll to a newer version. The old version seems to cause the crash.
Is there anything I should change in my code?
Otherwise I guess the only solution would be to use InstallShield to update this dll.
Watch Question

Just replace the dll.


The answer is unacceptable.
I know I have this option, but I'm looking for a more creative solution.

New version of comctl32.dll(4.70 or 4.71) installed with IE3.0 or hire adds some new common controls and changes functionality of the existing ones( for example it adds flat style to the toolbar control, tracking style to the tooltip control etc.). If your application doesn't use any of these new features it must work fine, if it uses one of the new common controls you must be given kernel error "Undefined link...". If you use extended style of the old control I expect they should be ignored but still may cause some problem.
I also think your problem may be caused not comctl32.dll but oleaut32.dll and olepro32.dll. These DLLs are also updated and for example olepro32.dll is InProcServer32 for standard property pages and oleaut32.dll is responsible for OLE automation.So I suggest you updating these DLLs.


The problem is only with comctl32.dll.
Other DLLs have nothing to do with it.
Again, I don't want to update any DLL, since it complicates the software distribution.

I think this KB article applies to your problem. Try making your resources read-write and see if it solves your problem.

PRB: CPropertySheet::DoModal() or Create() Causes an Exception

Last reviewed: September 15, 1997
Article ID: Q158552 The information in this article applies to:

•The Microsoft Foundation Classes (MFC) included with: - Microsoft Visual C++, 32-bit Edition, versions 4.0, 4.1, 4.2, 5.0


Calling CPropertySheet::DoModal() or CPropertySheet::Create() in Windows 95 may cause an exception. The Output window displays a message that says the following:

   First-chance exception in <program.exe> (Comctl32.dll): 0xC0000005:
   Access Violation.

Newer versions (version 4.70) of the Comctl32.dll do not have this problem.


The CommCtl32.dll tries to modify the resources for the pages. Since the resources are normally in read-only sections this throws an Exception that can be caught in the application. However, if the application does not catch this exception then the OS will handle this exception correctly.


The first-chance exception can be ignored because it is safely handled by the operating system.

One way to prevent the exception from being thrown is to make the resources read/write. You can do this by adding a linker setting of "/SECTION:.rsrc,rw."

A second way to prevent the exception being thrown is to change the font of the pages so they are not "MS Sans Serif". MFC checks the dialog template font for the page. If it is not "MS Sans Serif" then it makes a copy of the resource in read/write memory, modifies the font and passes this to the C mCtl32.dll. So when the dll writes to the template for the page it is writing to read/write memory and hence exception is not thrown.

Another way to prevent the exception from affecting your application is not to have the call for creating the property sheet in a try/catch(...) block. Instead catch particular exceptions in the catch block.

If the property sheet is part of an OLE Automation Server that can be invoked through a method of the server then you have to make the resources read/write, using either of the first two methods described above, since OLE catches the exception.

NOTE: Making the resources Read/Write can cause the resources to be written to a page file.


This behavior is by design.


Sample Code

   /* Compile options needed: default

   /***** this code will cause unpredictable results *****/

   /***** this code is OK *****/
       if (0 == sheet.DoModal())
           throw "DoModal() failed!";
   catch(char * str)
       TRACE ("Exception thrown: %s\n", str);


For more information, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

   ARTICLE ID: Q126630
   TITLE     : Resource Sections are Read-only

Keywords          : MfcUI kbprg
Technology        : kbMfc
Version           : WINDOWS NT:4.0 4.1 4.2 5.0;
Platform          : NT WINDOWS
Issue type        : kbprb


Nice a thorough answer, but my problem is different.
I tried your solution, but it doesn't cure the problem.

I'm not using MFC.
The system crashed with a divide-error in user.exe.

Dump export table of comctl32.dll of old version ( it must be less then 4.70) and check if functions which you are using are supported by this version of DLL. You can use dumpbin.exe from VC++ 5.0

As previously noted, you need to check the version of the comctl32.dll that the user has installed.

There is a function DllGetVersion() that allows you to do it but it is only available in versions 4.70 and up.  So, you have to "letachmen".

Here is a piece of code that works for me (C++):

// Use LoadLibrary() instead if you don't link statically to comctl32.dll
HMODULE hComctl = GetModuleHandle("comctl32");
if (hComctl == NULL)
    return FALSE;

DLLGETVERSIONPROC pGetVersion = (DLLGETVERSIONPROC) GetProcAddress(hComctl, "DllGetVersion");
if (pGetVersion == NULL)
    return FALSE;

HRESULT hrc = (pGetVersion)(&dllvi);
if (hrc < 0)
    return FALSE;

if (dllvi.dwMajorVersion < 4 || dllvi.dwMajorVersion == 4 && dllvi.dwMinorVersion < 70)
    return FALSE;

Now, there are currently 4 versions of comctl32.dll.

The original version 4.0 is obviously not good for you.

If your program requires 4.70, it will run on Win95-OSR2, NT4+SP3 or any system with IE3.01 and up installed.  It is also available from MS at premium.microsoft.com/download/support/mslfiles/COM32UPD.EXE

Version 4.71 requires IE4.0 installed and 4.72 requires IE4.01.
Those DLLs are *not* redistributable.

So, you can (legally) redistribute COM32UPD.EXE (325K) with your app or test for existance of comctl32.dll 4.70 and up and suggest that the user gets it from one of the sources I mentioned above.

Not the solution you were looking for? Getting a personalized solution is easy.

Ask the Experts


Can you (ALEXO) send me an e-mail?
Access more of Experts Exchange with a free account
Thanks for using Experts Exchange.

Create a free account to continue.

Limited access with a free account allows you to:

  • View three pieces of content (articles, solutions, posts, and videos)
  • Ask the experts questions (counted toward content limit)
  • Customize your dashboard and profile

*This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Please enter a first name

Please enter a last name

8+ characters (letters, numbers, and a symbol)

By clicking, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.