Vista very slow to open file dialogs and explorer (not IE).

By frank ·
Installed Ultimate on my fast Gateway desktop (4.5+ experience rating) in May. In July bought a new copy(Ultimate) for my wife's Toshiba Tecra M7. Both have the exact same issue and I don't see anyone else complaining about this (wierd).
The issue is that almost every time (>90%) a file open dialog or windows explorer is opened, the "searching..." appears in the bottom bar and it just sits there (no HD activity) for ~12 seconds. This is obviously VERY, VERY, VERY frustrating. I'm talking "throw it through a window" type frustration.
Now, more detail:
We are on a domain at home. At home or away, the performance is identical.
We run NDAS for two shared drives. These pre-date moving the file server to the house and are for photos and videos, so they need to stay external to a server. When the fires came, it took me 30 seconds to grab both drives and flee to Anaheim. I found the delay on her machine before installing NDAS (I did not get this data point on mine).
Our internet is 12MB/1MB, so there should be no hangups there. Internal network is mostly 100MB wired with some 1GB and some 802.11g. Which connection is used has no effect, nor does not having a connection.
Both machines are totally up to date.
Servers run Windows 2000 Advanced Server. One was upgraded to 2003, but the issues predate that.
I must have Windows, and I don't want to roll back to XP for one issue. I use Xandros on my kids machines, so I don't mind Linux at all, just not practical for the apps we use.

A big thanks in advance for this one!!!

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First Experiment

by TheChas In reply to Vista very slow to open f ...

The first thing I would check for is processes that run when you open a file dialog box.

I would start by disconnecting from all external networks and disabling both your anti-virus and Windows Defender.

If that makes a noticeable difference, start disabling other security processes and see which ones have the most effect.

If the culprit is a security process, only you can determine the level of security you need. And, which processes you can permanently disable.

If the security processes are not the culprit or don't speed things up enough, take a close look at every other running process. Again, only you can determine what you can live without.

Oh, before you start the experiments, you should create a system restore point so that you can readily get back to a known good configuration.


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there is the little problem

by CG IT In reply to First Experiment

where Windows Search will use up an inordinate amount of processor resources [50%] and often gobs of memory resources. This can have the effect of explorer not working or responding very slowly.

you might check to see if your Vista machine processor usage is continually at 50% due to Windows Search. If so, you can disable the service.

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Not processor loading or memory...

by frank In reply to there is the little probl ...

Thanks for that, but I just did a file/open in Firefox. The processor load jumped to 50% when it created the dialog box, but then sat under 4% for the time it was waiting (with the mouse pointer showing the little rotating circle), then jumped to 12% to show the results.

Memory sat, rock solid, at 72% (of 2GB).

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Not sure if this would catch it...

by frank In reply to First Experiment

...I opened task manager and sorted by CPU in decending order, so most hoggish tasks jump to top. I did a windows-e shortcut to open explorer. It did the 12 second pause. During the pause, System Idle Process sat at ~94% and nothing suspicious rose to the top. a few tasks (like sidebar) swapped positions at around 3% or less. Also, when this is happening, the rest of the programs respond perfectly, with no lag.

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Is it waiting for something?

by frank In reply to Vista very slow to open f ...

Thinking about this, Vista appears to be waiting for a response from something. Not a hard drive search, as the drive is not running. Something on the network? Is there some obscure discovery setting where Vista will run a full network discovery when opening file browsing? Maybe it is just a default network setting, but it doesn't seem to care if the network is present.


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by frank In reply to Is it waiting for somethi ...
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by openlyfurtive2all In reply to Stumped?

Assuming that

1. Your personal anti-virus, anti-spyware, desktop-search and software-firewall programs are not causing an issue...

2. Microsoft's Defender, Firewall, Search-Indexer, Sidebar, Sidebar-Gadgets, and Aero are not causing an issue...

3. Your hardware is intact and you don't have any rootkits/malware.

4. You don't have any remote-drive shortcuts on your desktop or in a folder.

5. You don't have any drives mapped.

6. You don't have any 3rd party programs that you installed and forgot about or tweaked the OS's behavior.

Just throwing this out there for what it's worth...

Then I would look at your domain and any policies that you may have implemented.

You also might want to verify if your system is sending any data over the network when you open the explorer window to at least verify if it a network issue.

I have had a VERY strange permissions issue with a few users on a couple of my domains that whenever I logged on with certain accounts the system would take forever to login. On top of that trying to open the task manager would take anywhere from 15 seconds to a few minutes. Turns out that the cause of the issue is that the system is trying to verify if it has permission to open the task manager even though no such rule was ever created.

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by frank In reply to If...

Thanks Openly!
My drives are mapped automatically at startup.
One of them is offline, and getting rid of that solved it. I don't understand why it needs to timeout on that every single time it browses, but that is Vista for you.
I don't know why I didn't unmap before. I guess I expected the same behavior as XP, which had no problem with that.

Sorry to cause such a stir for such a simple fix.

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Is it server shares that are slow....

by NaughtyMonkey In reply to Vista very slow to open f ...

or internal drive?

If it is server shares, enable and disable the firewall on the server. This was a temporary work around for Vista. I don't know if they came out with a permanent fix yet.

If it is local then try disabling thumbnails. I have seen it have issues with thumbnails.

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OK, not solved...

by frank In reply to Vista very slow to open f ...

My wife's laptop has been perfect. My desktop stopped acting nicely on the next reboot.
It is just as bad as before. No mapped drives, no NDAS software installed. No mapped drives or shares on desktop.

New data point -- starting in safe mode OR safe mode w/networking both work great, no issues.

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