Search Path Used by Windows to Locate a DLL
With both implicit and explicit linking, Windows first searches the set of pre-installed DLLs such as the performance library (KERNEL32.DLL) and the security library (USER32.DLL). Windows then searches for the DLLs in the following sequence:
- The directory where the executable module for the current process is located.
- The current directory.
- The Windows system directory. The GetSystemDirectory function retrieves the path of this directory.
- The Windows directory. The GetWindowsDirectory function retrieves the path of this directory.
- The directories listed in the PATH environment variable.
Note The LIBPATH environment variable is not used.