Instrument Control (GPIB, Serial, VISA, IVI)

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When I open NI MAX I get an error saying:


"MAX has detected that NI-VISA is installed on you system, but visa32.dll could not be found in your windows system directoy." and it says it is looking for the library to be in C:\\


I have checked that directory location and the visa32.dll library is there. I have also uninstalled and reinstalled NI-VISA a couple times and I keep seeing the same error. Why am I getting this error? I am using NI-VISA 17.5 with LabVIEW 17, 64-bit.

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Message 1 of 16

HI PFour,


Could you please post a screenshot of the error message? We've seen this error before and often the solution is to execute the correct set of installation steps. By chance, have you messed with any registry keys related to VISA recently?


Since you've already tried uninstalling and reinstalling, I would try force reinstalling using the following article: Force Reinstall Non-Working or Corrupt NI Software.


If that doesn't work, next we can look into uninstalling other VISA-related components.

Mike B.
Technical Support Engineer
National Instruments
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Message 2 of 16

I have the same error. How to solve?

What are the correct install steps? I tried already a lot. Uninstall MAX, reInstall VISA (makes MAX available again), then NI Update service etc.



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Message 3 of 16

Hi KdCMC - Have you tried Mike's troubleshooting step of force reinstalling NI-VISA? This forces all of the files in an installation to reinstall which can catch problems with the installation that an uninstall and reinstall may miss. Also, are you installing the latest version of NI-VISA from our website?

Adena L.
Technical Support Engineer
National Instruments
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Message 4 of 16

Hey Adena,

I will let You know the outcome. Not having time right now.

Great chance it will not solve, cause I tried a lot, also e.g. installing our local VISA install (old one) & then running NI Update, updating VISA to the latest (17.5).

But the problem started by installing a VISA from another firm (Tektronix; for an oscilloscope communication). I uninstalled that VISA & then, the problem started.

I also see the visa32.dll in explorer, but when I run dependency walker/viewer, I don't see that dll in the dependency walker application & also some other files not accordingly. Strange. I then stumbled into diskcleaner for cleaning up winSxS directory, because I thought some side by side windows 7 issues are interfering. And I also now that NI sometimes uses a hidden windows directory to look up some dlls .... which would be expected in the c:\windows\system32 directory. I'm running 32bit NI software on 64bit windows7 system.

Kind regards,


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Message 5 of 16


tried Your proposal without succes:

remove via NI Package Manager:

NI-VISA 17.5 runtime 15.5.0 runtime 15.0.0


via Programs and Features

VISA shared components 5.9.0 (64bit) uninstall shared components 5.8.0 (64bit) uninstall shared components 5.6.0 (64bit) uninstall

restart PC (Windows7 64 bit)

Verify if visa32.dll is not available in c:\windows\system32 (via windows explorer)

install Your proposal (17.5full) save & run as admin -> unzip auto & exec auto


verify if visa32.dll is available in c:\windows\system32 (via windows explorer) <- OK!

verify if visa32.dll is available in c:\windows\system32 (via dependency walker/viewer) <- NOK !!!

start MAX and see if VISA is ok <- NOK !!! still same problem !!!!

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Message 6 of 16

Hey Adena,

I tracet with Russinovich Sysinternals (windows) proccess monitor while opening MAX and saw that visa32.dll is never searched in the c:\windows\system32 directory, but in lots of other directories (see attached png).




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Message 7 of 16

Hi kdCMC,


You mentioned that you uninstalled NI-VISA from NI Package Manager, but have you tried the force reinstall from the steps in this KB? A force reinstall works differently than uninstalling and reinstalling and it may catch the visa32.dll that is missing. 


 Force Reinstall Non-Working or Corrupt NI Software.

Adena L.
Technical Support Engineer
National Instruments
Message 8 of 16

Yes, I tried it once. I will try again, but

it's MAX looking not in c:\windows\system32

why then reporting VISA error in MAX saying dll missing in this directory, where he is not looking???

Let's assume just the error report text is wrong and must be c:\windows\system or something else.

I will check the dirs where MAX is looking after the force install and report.

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Message 9 of 16


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Message 10 of 16