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Get Your DLL's Path/Name

, 30 Nov 2006 CPOL
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Two methods to retrieve the path/name of a VS2002 or higher DLL from within that DLL.


I'm working on a project that involves writing a plugin DLL for a game, and being the lazy programmer I am, I'm using the example provided by the game author and modifying it for my needs. I don't have access to the DLL's HINSTANCE (like we do with MFC DLLs). This presented a problem when I decided I needed to know the full path to the DLL in question.

The Code

Believe it or not, it only takes three lines of code to accomplish this task:
// near the top of your CPP file

// and then, anywhere you need it:
::GetModuleFileName((HINSTANCE)&__ImageBase, strDLLPath1, _MAX_PATH);

It seems that any EXE or DLL compiled with the VS2002 (and higher) linkers provides a psuedo-variable called __ImageBase that represents the DOS header of the module (all 32 bit binaries have this). Simply cast this variable to a HINSTANCE, and you can pass it as the first parameter to GetModuleFileName().

For those of you that need this functionality in VC6 or earlier, research the VirtualQuery() function. The approach is somewhat similar.


I don't know if this will work in Vista.

The sample code includes source and the compiled EXE and DLL files.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

John Simmons / outlaw programmer
Software Developer (Senior)
United States United States
I've been paid as a programmer since 1982 with experience in Pascal, and C++ (both self-taught), and began writing Windows programs in 1991 using Visual C++ and MFC. In the 2nd half of 2007, I started writing C# Windows Forms and ASP.Net applications, and have since done WPF, Silverlight, WCF, web services, and Windows services.
My weakest point is that my moments of clarity are too brief to hold a meaningful conversation that requires more than 30 seconds to complete. Thankfully, grunts of agreement are all that is required to conduct most discussions without committing to any particular belief system.

Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 5 Pinmemberslavne13-Nov-14 18:45 
GeneralMy vote of 4 Pinmemberkhosob1-Mar-11 16:16 
GeneralRe: My vote of 4 [modified] Pinmembervuadapass1-Jan-12 15:19 
GeneralNice work PinmemberTaeyoung Jin4-Mar-07 18:05 
GeneralGood work PinmemberMonty22-Dec-06 2:53 
GeneralRe: Good work PinmemberJohn Simmons / outlaw programmer2-Dec-06 3:13 
GeneralRe: Good work PinmemberMonty22-Dec-06 3:17 
AnswerRe: Good work PinmemberGogglesPisano6-Dec-06 9:36 
GeneralRe: Good work PinmvpJohn Simmons / outlaw programmer15-Apr-08 8:55 
QuestionWhat about DLL Rebasing PinmemberDougCo30-Nov-06 11:57 
AnswerRe: What about DLL Rebasing PinmemberJohn Simmons / outlaw programmer30-Nov-06 13:16 
GeneralRe: What about DLL Rebasing PinmemberDougCo30-Nov-06 21:12 
GeneralRe: What about DLL Rebasing PinmemberJohn Simmons / outlaw programmer1-Dec-06 0:27 
AnswerA more portable method Pinmembermmatitya5-Dec-06 3:33 
GeneralRe: A more portable method PinmemberJohn Simmons / outlaw programmer5-Dec-06 13:12 
GeneralRe: A more portable method Pinmembertbrammer6-Dec-06 5:51 
GeneralRe: A more portable method PinmemberJohn Simmons / outlaw programmer8-Dec-06 4:51 
GeneralRe: A more portable method Pinmemberdenis2k627-Mar-08 15:00 
GeneralRe: A more portable method - Bug on 1 line PinmemberN_Nguyen24-Sep-08 14:34 
GeneralRe: A more portable method - Bug on 1 line Pinmembertbrammer22-Oct-08 23:28 
GeneralNot work for Vista on my case. PinmemberJinyang Yu11-Aug-09 3:38 
GeneralRe: Not work for Vista on my case. PinmemberJohn Slagel29-Dec-11 8:53 

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