The 8 ******** echo is not uncommon. Often used when you have a short password to further mask what it is. Not a problem since the ones beyond your actual password length are a display thing and have nothing to do with your password.
No, the NT systems don't use anything as simple (and useless) as a .pwl file.
If you'd care to open another thread about the password clearing issue - with maybe some detail on how you know it isn't happening, you will get answers. Do put it in the IE section though.
But for this thread as it stands, I'm going to lock it since it violates Rule 6