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Oracle Troubleshooting

ORA-01991: invalid password file ...


When trying to open (or mount) a database the following error is generated:

ORA-01991: invalid password file '...PWDOrcl.ora'

Where ‘Orcl’ is the SID of the database instance.


Typically some corruption of the password file, or possibly the password file is for another database instance?

Possible Remedies:

  • If encountered when creating the database then it is because Oracle expects to create the password file but it already exists. In this instance database creation will have failed. Delete the password file and try again.
  • If it is suspected that the password file is corrupt then try deleting it and recreating it:
    1. Delete the existing password file.
    2. Create a new/replacement password file:

      orapwd file=<path>\PWD<sid>.ora password=oracle

      Use the same path as given in the Oracle error. The password specified will be the new internal password.

These notes have been tested with Oracle 8.1.5 running under Windows NT.

This page represents one page of many pages of notes I made whilst working with Oracle 7 through to 10i. I now no longer work with Oracle databases, but hope that these notes will continue to be of benefit to others.

About the author: is a dedicated software developer and webmaster. For his day job he develops websites and desktop applications as well as providing IT services. He moonlights as a technical author and consultant.