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Determining the version number of the Windows system libraries

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17 Feb 2000CPOL
A simple way to determine the version of the Comctl32.dll, Shell32.dll and Shlwapi.dll system libraries


With each Windows operating system update, and each update of Internet Explorer, we are issued with a new version of the system libraries Comctl32.dll, Shell32.dll, and Shlwapi.dll. These libraries contain the bulk of the code that handles the common control and shell functionality of windows. The problem is, each version is different, and it can sometimes be critical to know which platform you are targeting when writing software that specifically uses functionality in these libraries.

Below is a list of library versions, and the platforms you would expect to find these versions.

VersionDistribution platform
4.00Microsoft Windows 95/Windows NT 4.0
4.70Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.x
4.71Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0
4.72Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 and Windows 98
5.00Microsoft Windows 2000 and Internet Explorer 5

There are a couple of points here:

Firstly, For Windows 95, Internet Explorer 4.0 can be installed without the integrated shell. Thus, you may have either version 4.71 or 4.72 of Comctl32.dll or Shlwapi.dll on a Windows 95 box, but the version of Shell32.dll may be different. On a Windows 98 system all three libraries will have the same value.

Secondly, Internet Explorer will update Comctl32.dll and Shlwapi.dll to version 5.0, but will not update the Shell32.dll library. Thus, if you install IE 5 on a non-Windows 2000 system, your Shell32.dll version will again be different to your Comctl32.dll and Shlwapi.dll versions.

So how do you test?

Microsoft kindly provides us with a handy function to test for the various flavours.

#define PACKVERSION(major,minor) MAKELONG(minor,major)

DWORD GetDllVersion(LPCTSTR lpszDllName)
    HINSTANCE hinstDll;
    DWORD dwVersion = 0;

    hinstDll = LoadLibrary(lpszDllName)
        DLLGETVERSIONPROC pDllGetVersion;

        pDllGetVersion = (DLLGETVERSIONPROC) GetProcAddress(hinstDll, "DllGetVersion");

        /*Because some DLLs may not implement this function, you
         *must test for it explicitly. Depending on the particular 
         *DLL, the lack of a DllGetVersion function may
         *be a useful indicator of the version.
            DLLVERSIONINFO dvi;
            HRESULT hr;

            ZeroMemory(&dvi, sizeof(dvi));
            dvi.cbSize = sizeof(dvi);

            hr = (*pDllGetVersion)(&dvi);

                dwVersion = PACKVERSION(dvi.dwMajorVersion, dvi.dwMinorVersion);
    return dwVersion;

It's noted that the above will work only for version 4.71 and above of the libraries. Oh well...

So - to use the above function in your code, you would do something like the following:

if (GetDllVersion(TEXT("comctl32.dll")) >= PACKVERSION(4,71))
    // We have at least version 4.71
    // Version 4.70 or below...


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


About the Author

Chris Maunder
Founder CodeProject
Canada Canada
Chris is the Co-founder, Administrator, Architect, Chief Editor and Shameless Hack who wrote and runs The Code Project. He's been programming since 1988 while pretending to be, in various guises, an astrophysicist, mathematician, physicist, hydrologist, geomorphologist, defence intelligence researcher and then, when all that got a bit rough on the nerves, a web developer. He is a Microsoft Visual C++ MVP both globally and for Canada locally.

His programming experience includes C/C++, C#, SQL, MFC, ASP, ASP.NET, and far, far too much FORTRAN. He has worked on PocketPCs, AIX mainframes, Sun workstations, and a CRAY YMP C90 behemoth but finds notebooks take up less desk space.

He dodges, he weaves, and he never gets enough sleep. He is kind to small animals.

Chris was born and bred in Australia but splits his time between Toronto and Melbourne, depending on the weather. For relaxation he is into road cycling, snowboarding, rock climbing, and storm chasing.

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Posted 17 Feb 2000


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