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Differences Between Applications and DLLs

Even though DLLs and applications are both executable program modules, they differ in several ways. To the end-user, the most obvious difference is that DLLs are not programs that can be directly executed. From the system's point of view, there are two fundamental differences between applications and DLLs:

  • An application can have multiple instances of itself running in the system simultaneously, whereas a DLL can have only one instance.
  • An application can own things such as a stack, global memory, file handles, and a message queue, but a DLL cannot.

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