How To Fix Windows 10 Reference Token Error

An attempt was made to reference a token

Do you want to fix Windows 10 reference token error? Some users claim that they can’t open Explorer.exe after Windows 10 upgradation or after installing a Windows update. The error message that is shown is: “An attempt was made to reference a token that does not exist”.

It not only occurs with the Explorer.exe program, and it’s also reported with lots of other Windows native utilities like Recycle Bin, Taskbar, MMC (Microsoft Management Console).

Also See: How To Fix 0x80071771 Error On Windows 10

Causes Of Error:

After examining the problem and looking at different user reports, we have made a list of potential issues that might be responsible for this problem:

  • This update launched with an inconsistency that corrupted the files of different built-in utilities. The problem has yet been resolved. So, after applying the update now will not produce the same result.
  • An inconsistent Windows update, manual interference, or a malware infection probably leads to this error if a series of system files get corrupted.

Also See: How To Troubleshoot Printer Error 0x80040003 – Tutorial

How To Fix Windows 10 Reference Token Error:


If you’re trying to fix this issue, this guide will provide you with a basic set of troubleshooting steps. You’ll learn different methods that help you to either circumvent or treat the issue.

For good results, we wish you to initiate with the first method and move further until you find a solution that is effective in fixing the “attempt was made to reference a token that does not exist” error. Let’s start!

Method 1: Resolving Corrupted Files Through Command Prompt

Some users trying Command Prompt to resolve Registry system file corruption. Make sure that this method will only be helpful if the error message is actually triggered by file corruption. Here’s a quick guide on using an elevated Command prompt to fix the “attempt was made to reference a token that does not exist” error:

Hit Windows key + R to open up a Run box. Then, input “cmd” and hit Ctrl + Shift + Enter to open Command Prompt window. When prompted by the UAC (User account control) select Yes.

  • If you don’t know that you are in the right location, input the following command, and hit Enter:
    cd %WINDIR%\System32
  • Input or paste the following command and hit Enter to re-register a number of required DLL files that might have got corrupted during the updating process:
    for /f %s in ('dir /b *.dll') do regsvr32 /s %s
  • Then exit the elevated Command Prompt and restart your PC. After the next startup, check if the problem has been fixed after opening the same utility program that was earlier triggering the error message.

In case, if you still face Windows 10 Reference Token Error then dive down with the other method below.

Also See: How To Detect Keylogger & Erase It From PC

Method 2: Reverting To The Earlier Variant Of Windows

If the issue was not fixed using Method 1, then make sure that the issue was not triggered by the last Windows Update that you installed.

Some users use the Advanced Recovery Options menu to fix the issue or to revert to the earlier Windows version. Many of them re-applied the update.

Here’s a quick article on reverting to the earlier Windows version:

  • Hit the Start key and tap the Power icon after holding the Shift key pressed. Then continue holding the Shift key and tap on Restart. This will guide your PC to open the Advanced Recovery Options menu at the other startup. If you like to ensure that the method is successful. Then try to keep holding the Shift key until the menu appears on the screen.
  • When the Advanced Recovery Options menu appears. Then simply release the Shift key and tap on Troubleshoot. Then, move to Advanced options and tap on Go back to the previous version of Windows.
  • When the process is complete, wait for the other startup to complete and check if the error has been fixed. If it was, it’s up to you if you like to re-apply the update or not.

In case, if you still face Windows 10 Reference Token Error then dive down with the other method below.

Method 3: Performing a repair install

If the problem is occurred by system file corruption. Then you will be able to resolve it after performing a clean install. But if you’re searching for an alternative that won’t make you lose your confidential data like personal files and apps, consider performing a repair install. A repair install will simply replace Windows dependencies or files while leaving your files and apps intact.


So, these were the few working methods that will help you to fix Windows 10 Reference Token Error. This method is very helpful and safe! Hope you like this guide, share it with others! If you are facing any difficulty with any method, then let us know in the comment section below.

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