How to Repair Damaged or Corrupted Password List Files

woman with password login projected onto her face

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Password list files can sometimes become damaged or corrupted which can cause many problems in Windows.

Sometimes a damaged password list file can cause simple logon issues, or they could be the cause of error messages like "Explorer caused an invalid page fault in module Kernel32.dll" and similar messages.

Repairing password list files, all of which end in the file extension pwl, is a reasonably simple task since Windows can be instructed to autogenerate them on startup.

Follow these easy steps to repair the password list files on your Windows PC.

  1. Click on Start and then Search (or Find, depending on your Windows operating system version).
  2. In the Named: text box, enter *.pwl and click Find Now. In other versions of Windows, you may need to click on the All files and folders link, enter the *pwl search criteria, and then click on Search.
  3. In the list of pwl files found during the search, right-click on each one and choose Delete. Repeat this step to delete every pwl file found.
  4. Close the Find or Search window.
  5. Restart your computer. When you log back into Windows, the password list files will be generated automatically.

In some early versions of Windows 95, the password list files are not automatically created when you log on. In these cases, Microsoft has provided a tool to accomplish this. If the above steps do not work and you suspect that you have an early version of Windows 95, download the mspwlupd.exe tool.

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