SQL SERVER – Could Not Load the DLL xpstar.dll, or One of the DLLs it References

SQL SERVER - Could Not Load the DLL xpstar.dll, or One of the DLLs it References DLL Once upon a time a customer wanted to apply a patch on SQL Server instance, but it failed at the end to start SQL Server services. As usual, I asked to check ERRORLOG and found below information. Let us see errors related to the DLL.

2017-05-01 11:04:40.00 spid5s Error: 17750, Severity: 16, State: 0.
2017-05-01 11:04:40.00 spid5s Could not load the DLL xpstar.dll, or one of the DLLs it references. Reason: 126(The specified module could not be found.).
2017-05-01 11:04:40.00 spid5s Uploading data collector package from disk: Install\SqlTraceCollect.dtsx
2017-05-01 11:04:40.00 spid5s Uploading data collector package from disk: Install\SqlTraceCollect.dtsx
2017-05-01 11:04:40.00 spid5s Error: 4861, Severity: 16, State: 1.
2017-05-01 11:04:40.00 spid5s Cannot bulk load because the file “Install\SqlTraceCollect.dtsx” could not be opened. Operating system error code 3(The system cannot find the path specified.).

The message in the ERRORLOG was clear that it was not able to find xpstart.dll or its dependency. When we check BINN path (E:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL11.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\Binn), we were able to see the DLL there and we were not sure what the problem could be?

We tried starting SQL from the command line using below options

NET START MSSQLSERVER /m /T3608 /T902

When we attempted to connect to SQL Server via SQLCMD, we were welcomed with the below error

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SQLCMD.EXE – System Error
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The program can’t start because ATL100.DLL is missing from your computer. Try reinstalling the program to fix this problem.
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OK
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Now we know that this could be one of the dependent DLL. We saw that ATL100.dll was missing under C:\windows\system32.

WORKAROUND/SOLUTION

As soon as we know the DLLs was missing, we don’t know how many such more DLLs might be missing. Based on my search on the internet it comes from Visual Studio Shell (vc_red.msi). I asked them to install VS Shell from SQL media and meantime, copy that missing file from a working machine. As soon as file was copied, we were able to connect SQL using SQLCMD and then we start SQL server normally.

Reference: Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)

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