Error -1073807202: A Code Library Required by NI-VISA Could Not Be Located

Updated May 29, 2019

Reported In


  • GPIB Connector
  • Serial Interface Device


  • Measurement & Automation Explorer (MAX)
  • LabVIEW


  • NI-488.2
  • NI-Serial

Issue Details

When attempting to use NI-VISA to communicate with hardware in LabVIEW or NI-MAX, I get the following error:
Error -1073807202 (Hex Code: 0xBFFF009E): A code library required by VISA could not be located.

How can I troubleshoot this error?


You may be getting this error for one of the following reasons:

NI-VISA not installed in the system

NI-VISA is required if you want to communicate through the serial port using NI software. Additionally, NI-488.2 is required to communicate through a device's built-in GPIB port. Verify that NI-VISA is installed and appears under the Software tab of NI MAX. If NI-VISA is not installed, download and install the correct version of the NI-VISA driver.

Visa32.dll missing

This DLL should be located at C:\Windows\System32. If this DLL is missing it will cause the error. Uninstalling and reinstalling NI-VISA should install this DLL to the correct location. 

Internal Error in NI MAX

To solve this problem try to complete a reset from NI MAX database following the steps indicated on How to Fix or Reset the NI MAX Database File. Resetting the MAX database will just delete all the scales, tasks and configurations of recognized devices on the Measurement and Automation Explorer itself, it will not impact the hardware in any way. 

Installing NI-VISA and NI-Serial on a Real-Time System

  1. Open Measurement and Automation Explorer.
  2. Navigate to Remote systems > Your Device's Hostname or IP.
  3. Right-click on Software.
  4. Select Add/Remove Software.
  5. Choose the option to perform a Custom Software Installation. NI MAX may prompt you with the warning below. Click Yes.
       6. Find the proper version of NI-VISA and NI-Serial and make sure the software you need is selected.

NI-Serial, NI-488.2, or NI-VISA drivers need to be reinstalled

You must force uninstall and reinstall  the driver. NI-VISA must be set as the primary VISA driver and force reinstalling it ensures that it is the primary driver. If you have a version of NI-Serial that is older than version 1.6 you may need to reinstall Serial. If no other steps work, consider uninstalling all NI software, as this can be caused by a corruption in NI MAX that won't resolve itself unless MAX is fully uninstalled.

Additional Information

If using a 3rd party device, it may have installed its own VISA driver which took the place of the NI VISA driver. 
In order to communicate using NI software the NI VISA driver must be set as the primary driver for the computer, and requires a force reinstall. 


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