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Microsoft Knowledge Base Article - Q31998

How the Linker Searches the Libraries

The linker searches for unresolved externals in the following order:
  1. Find all modules in the library that define current unresolved externals.
  2. Process those modules (you may pickup more unresolved externals). The linker keeps making passes through that library until no new unresolved externals are picked up.
  3. It then advances to the next library.
In a similar manner, the linker makes a pass through the entire set of libraries. After the last library is searched, if new unresolved externals have been picked up, it returns to the first library and makes another pass.

Problems can be avoided if you do not use bidirectional cross-library references (that is, avoid library A calling something in library that calls something else in library A). Try to make each library as self-contained as possible.

The information in this article applies to:

  • Microsoft LINK for MS-DOS
  • Microsoft LINK for Windows NT
Last Reviewed:10/23/2003 (2.0)