'Program can't start because d3drm.dll is missing' Error

With the rapid advancement in technology, running into compatibility issues has become a common occurrence. In fact, it is a problem that PC gamers who wish to revisit a classic legacy game have to deal with quite often. Due to the massive difference in software between the years the game was released originally and the current environment of Windows 10/11, some games may not even launch properly. 

Another problem that could emerge when trying to run legacy games, is the 'Program can't start because d3drm.dll is missing' error. Typically, this error has been reported when users try to play older versions of games, such as Microsoft Flight Simulator, Motocross Madness 2 and more.

The d3drm.dll file, also known as Direct3d Retained Mode DLL, is part of the DirectX software. DirectX is a software technology that is essential when it comes to running multimedia products on a Windows system such as 3D gaming, network gaming, graphics and audio. 

To fix the 'Program can't start because d3drm.dll is missing' error, try the following solutions:

Install the Latest DirectX Version

DirectX is an integral part of the Windows OS and should be updated to the latest available version automatically whenever users install new service packs or platform updates. You also can install DirectX from the official Microsoft site manually. Also, try the DirectX End-User Runtime Web Installer. It will install the required runtime libraries associated with the legacy DirectX SDK required by some games.

Try the Compatibility Mode

Windows has a built-in feature dedicated to resolving compatibility issues that could arise when running older or legacy games. 

  1. Locate the program or game experiencing the issue or an associated shortcut. Right-click it and select 'Properties.'
  2. Go to the 'Compatibility' tab.
  3. In the 'Compatibility mode' section, check the corresponding checkbox.
  4. Then, select a suitable Windows version from the drop-down menu.
  5.   Click 'Apply' and then 'OK' to save the changes. 

Run an SFC Scan

SFC (System File Checker) is a powerful tool that comes with the Windows OS. It is designed to detect and resolve a whole host of different system issues by replacing any corrupted or missing system files. To run an SFC scan, you will first need to open an elevated Command Prompt window.

  1. Type cmd in the search field on the taskbar and then press Ctrl+Shift+Enter on your keyboard.
  2. In the elevated Command Prompt window, type sfc /scannow and press Enter to execute the command.
  3. Wait for SFC to finish scanning the system and fixing any detected errors.
  4. Restart the computer and check if the error has been resolved.