Openal32.dll is a DLL (Dynamic Link Library) file used often by games or some by other applications to operate properly. These DLL files are only called upon where they are required. It is an essential executable system file of Windows. It contains a set of procedures and driver functions which is maintained by Windows OS. A single copy of the DLL file kept in your computer can work for most of the applications/games.
OpenAL (Open Audio Library) is an audio API (Application Programming Interface) that is cross-platform and works efficiently for multichannel 3D positional audio. It was originally developed by Loki Entertainment Software. Later on, it was maintained by NVIDIA and now it is largely developed by Creative Technology with the support of Apple.
OpenGL and OpenAL API style and conventions are pretty similar. The older versions of OpenAL frameworks were open-source, but the recent versions are of a proprietary type. OpenAL is a 3D audio library that is designed to give live effects to a game.
It means if there is any degradation of sound over long distances (attenuation), this OpenAL will produce an environmental 3D sound which makes the distant sound real and live. The rendering engine has a Doppler’s effect (frequency change as a result of motion) as well.
This effect doesn’t sound much to us, but from the developer’s perspective, it is crucial. This audio library framework net result is that whenever a character moves forward in a 3D virtual world, the sound becomes natural and doesn’t degrade after travelling the long distances. This feature helps the developer to develop an OpenGL 3D game/application with very little additional work. ALUT (Audio Library Utility Toolkit) library is also used for convenience for the higher-level experience.
The OpenAL framework consists of the two subsections of the API viz. The core contains the OpenAL call functions, and the ALC (Audio Library Context) API used for managing render contexts. This Library framework functionality is based on three object types, i.e. source objects, audio buffers, and a single listener.
Source objects are the points on the 3D space that produce sounds. The source object is not an audio sample by itself. It only plays sound after the data bounds from the buffers. There are different properties we can set for sources like velocity, position, direction, etc.
The buffers are the data that stores all the information about how the sound should be played. Consider the buffers as CDs with audio data samples embedded into it. It contains data in the PCM (Pulse-Code Modulation) format. It can be either 8-bit or 16-bit.
A single listener is ‘you’ (the person listening to the sound). The position, velocity, and direction for the listener can be set.
It is not fit for AI (Artificial Intelligence) or multiple human participants.
Creative Labs mentioned that the future version of OpenAL would support hardware acceleration (also known as ‘extension mechanism’). Without this extension support, we can’t take the full advantage of OpenAL as it has limitations.
This openal32.dll is mainly used in games and other audio applications. The error of openal32.dll is missing or not found is quite frequent. To fix the errors related to openal32.dll, consider the following troubleshooting steps:
#1. Uninstall and Reinstall the program:
If you get an error popup which says the program can’t start because the openal32.dll file is missing, you need to uninstall that program without any delay. Then, download it from the official site and check for compatibility with your Windows OS. After that, install it again, the problem should go away.
#2. Update Outdated Drivers:
Sometimes, your hardware drivers aren’t compatible with the latest version of the DLL files. In that case, you need to manually or automatically update the drivers associated with it. Go to the settings and look for Device Manager -> Look for the desired drivers and right-click on it -> Scan for hardware changes and update it. Then, reboot your computer and check to see if it fixes your issues.
#3. Restore Windows:
If none of the above fixes works for you, then it’s a good time to restore windows to the previous state that was working earlier. To do this, click on the start button -> search for system restore and hit enter -> select the restore point and your pc starts to scan the restore point and it will reboot after some time. This way, your problem will disappear.
Openal32.dll is a component of OpenAL. This library is related to audio applications and used often in games. While installing the games/applications, you might encounter the openal32.dll file missing error. Don’t despair and consider the above fixes. If none of the above fixes works for you, then you should look for the hardware issues.