Search Path Used by Windows to Locate a DLL
With both implicit and explicit linking, Windows first searches for "known DLLs", such as Kernel32.dll and 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.
The LIBPATH environment variable is not used.