Network Windows Windows Server

How to fix “An Attempt Was Made to Reference a Token That Does Not Exist” in Windows 10


I encountered this error after resetting my Windows Registry since the Task Scheduler Services was not running. This error is one of the many errors Windows Users likely experience on their daily usage of their PC. Many other Users also experience the request to add or remove features on the specified server failed, Windows Error 0x80070057,  Unknown Hard Error , Hard Drive is Not Accessible, and insufficient System Resources Exist to Complete the Requested Service, and DISM Error 87: The package is unknown to name but a few. At times, this error occurs when you open Windows File Explorer. One other major cause of this error is a corrupt system registry, files, or the installation of unknown and incompatible software on your PC. This error can also occur after upgrading to Windows 10 or installing an inconsistent Windows update.

Ultimately, corrupt system files or registry are the two major things that usually provoke the explorer.exe issue. Here is a guide on how to synchronize your on-premises AD with Azure Active Directory using the Azure AD Connect tool, and how to use the built-in AAD Connect troubleshooting tool.

Let’s Fix the Error

1st Solution – Repair Corrupted Files

As stated above, the main cause of "an attempt to reference a token that does not exist" is registry system file corruption. In this case, the problem can be resolved by executing specific commands. Here’s how you do it:

Step 1 – To open the elevated Command Prompt, press Win + R to open the Run dialog box, then type cmd in it and hit Ctrl + Shift + Enter.

Open CMD

Note: Alternatively, you can type cmd in the search box, and then right-click the Command Prompt app and select Run as administrator.

Step 2 – Type the following command in the elevated command prompt and press Enter to be in the right path.

cd %WINDIR%\System32

Step 3 – To repair a series of corrupted DLL files that might trigger the error, type the following command, and hit Enter.

for /f %s in ('dir /b *.dll') do regsvr32 /s %s

Restart your computer after exiting the Command Prompt. Open File Explorer and check to see if the error message "An attempt was made to reference a token that does not exist" still appears.

2nd Solution – Run System File Checker

As previously stated, corrupt system files can cause Windows 10 to attempt to refer to a token that does not exist. System File Checker is the most effective utility for repairing system files. It is extremely simple to use.

Open the Command Prompt in an elevated mode just as stated in the 1st solution above, type sfc /scannow and press Enter. Then, take a chill pill and wait for the process to complete the repair.

Corrupted Files Successfully Repaired using the sfc /scannow command

3rd Solution –  Go Back to the Previous Version of Windows

If the explorer.exe attempt was made to reference a token that does not exist error appears only after installing the most recent Windows updates you can reverse the changes by performing a system restore. To do so, follow these steps:

Step 1 –  Press the Win + R keys to open the Run app, and then type rstrui.exe and press Enter.

Step 2 – Select the restore point option. As shown below, use the recommended restore option.

Selecting Restore Point Option

Step 3 – Select the last restore point created and click on Finish for the system restore to take place. See how to Create a Restore Point in Windows 11 and how to Create a Restore Point in Windows 10 and Windows 11 to learn how to create a system restore point.

Selecting the last Restore Point

That’s all you need to fix the error. Let us know the step that works for you.

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