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Desktop Icons Refreshing with HDD Activity

By EXCellR8 ยท 6 replies
Oct 16, 2008
  1. I've been noticing some strange behavior lately which I think may be tied to low performing files and/or disk clutter. Sometimes when I open up a new folder with many items inside, I see that the icons on the desktop refresh slowly and the hard drive is constantly accessed until it's done. This keeps happening on a regular basis so I'm trying to figure out what exactly is causing it. I've defragmented my system drive and secondary drive, which sped things up a bit, but that didn't really fix the problem. I also ran a disk cleanup and I'm wondering if I should do a registry scan or something.

    I also have a similar problem with a folder full of application files. The system seems to "struggle" when trying to fetch the icons, for there are a lot of them in there. I've had Windows XP installed on this computer for over a year so perhaps it needs a tuneup? The problem isn't so severe that it renders the machine useless or anything, it's more of an annoyance. Anyways, I'd appreciate anyone's input on this. Thanks in advance.
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

  3. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Topic Starter Posts: 1,835

    Thanks, I'll give that a try when I get home later. Also, is there any way to change how much memory a background app hogs without setting a process priority? I have one "svchost.exe" process that is (fortunately not hogging CPU anymore) using like ~25000 K in task manager. I thought it was normal for this process to use a lot but that seems like too much.
  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    If you want to know what is really running under SVCHOST.EXE, go to a command prompt and run:
    tasklist /svc

    Checking in Task Manager in Vista

    You can right-click on a particular svchost.exe process, and then choose the "Go to Service" option.

    (Xp & Vista)
    You can use the excellent Process Explorer utility from Microsoft/Sysinternals to see what services are running as a part of a svchost.exe process.

    You can also go to Start-> Run-> services.msc
    And check out all the services running
  5. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    Have you a lot of compressed files? Or encrypted files, or zip files?

    Empty the pre-fetch cache. It is quite instructive. Click run and type prefetch. After a few seconds, Windows explorer will appear with a folder open. There will be quite a few entries, which you will recognise, all ending .pf If there are more than about 100 of these, delete the lot. Oh, and empty your recycle bin often.....
  6. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Topic Starter Posts: 1,835

    Alright I checked out all of the services that were running and most seemed legit. I forgot I had that Process Explorer program on this machine, showed me everything. There were a couple I shut down which reduced the amount of memory being used so I guess I'm set with that, thanks.

    I do have quite the abundance of self-extracting, and zipped files on my hard drives. I don't usually compress any of them but I do have a ton of RAR files too. I checked out the pre-fetch cache and there were 97 entries, so I just left them in there. My recycle bin is always empty; I usually just delete whatever is in there as soon as I can. Thanks for the help guys, system is running a little better now :)
  7. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    OK, to disable the way XP expands zip files so they appear like folders (but takes forever to display as a consequence), type this into the 'run' box and press enter.

    regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll

    You may also not have switched off Windows search indexing, which also takes ages to create a searchable index for every file. Do this on the porperties panel for every hard drive (general tab, untick 'Allow indexing service....'

    In folder options set 'do not cache thumbnails' on view panel
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