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Older version of the Windows operating system, such as
Windows 98 and Windows XP, allowed the user to change whatever they wanted
within the operating system files, with little or no protections or oversight.
That all changed on Windows 7, however, and you are now
prevented from making most modifications to operating system files such as
Modifying and moving these files can be extremely useful at
You should be aware, though, that modifying and moving files
such as shell32.dll may impair or break your operating system in some way.
Open the start menu by clicking on the Windows icon in the lower left corner of
your desktop. Click on "All Programs," then on "Accessories" and finally on
"Command Prompt," which will open up the Command Prompt program.
Type "cd C:/Windows/System32" in to the command prompt and
push the "Enter" key.
If you have installed Windows on a drive other than C you
will need to replace the "C" in the above command with the correct drive
Type "TAKEOWN /f shell32.dll" in to the command prompt. Push
the "Enter" key.
This gives you ownership of the shell32.dll file.
Type "ICACLS shell32.dll /grant USERNAME:F" in to the
command prompt and push the "Enter" key.
You will need to replace "USERNAME" in the command with your
This is the name that you see when you log in after turning
your computer on.
Rename shell32.dll to something else if you are planning
to copy a new shell32.dll in to the System32.
Do this by typing "rename shell32.dll shell32.dll.backup" in
to the command prompt and pushing the "Enter" key.
This will rename the old shell32.dll to
"shell32.dll.backpup" so that if you ever need to revert back to it,
Alternatively, you can use File Explorer to navigate to the
System32 folder and change the name like you would any other file.
Type "copy path\to\modified\shell32.dll
C:\Windows\System32\" into the command prompt and push the "Enter" key.
You will need to replace the "path\to\modified\" portion of
the command with the file location of the new shell32.dll that you're copying
in to System32.
Alternatively, you can use File Explorer to copy and paste
the file as you normally would.