What makes a DLL file suddenly disappear, leaving one with a foreboding message during a bootup like "A required .DLL file, MRTRATE.DLL, was not found"? Should I care? On the surface of things, everything still seems to be working. What's it for, why did it leave, and how do I retrieve it if it's truly important?
Dynamic link libraries, or DLLs, are small bits of code that handle repetitive tasks and other housekeeping. That MRTRATE.DLL error is caused by the popular Quicken personal-finance program conflicting with other parts of Windows designed to handle scheduling. The Quicken file is the one that updates your data automatically overnight.
The best fix probably is to just turn the updating off in Quicken. Intuit Inc., the maker of Quicken, offers other fixes at (www.intuit.com/support/quicken/2000/win/6173.html).
Or to kill it yourself, open the Edit command in Quicken and pick Options and Internet Options. Now press Alt+Shift+4 to kill the scheduling.
The best way to find these DLL issues is to use the name of the library as a Google search term, which probably will take you somewhere with an explanation, as in this case. Otherwise, restoring DLLs requires uninstalling and reinstalling either specific software or the Windows code itself.
James Coates writes for the Chicago Tribune. He can be reached at jcoates@tribune. com.