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Windows Explorer becomes VERY slow and/or stops responding.

By Karmashock ยท 25 replies
Apr 13, 2006
  1. For whatever reason Explorer has recently started locking files that aren't being used such that they can't be moved, renamed, or deleted. It almost seems at random.

    So I got a program called "unlocker" that breaks the lockouts on files so they can me moved again.

    The problem with unlocker is that if you do this to more then one or two files per boot, then explorer starts getting really flaky.

    For example it could take 5 minutes to open one folder.

    I can fix the problem by force quiting explorer and then reopening it with the task manager.

    But I really don't want to do that 15 times a day.

    Another way I can fix it is by right clicking on the start menu and then opening perhaps 5 to 10 "explore all users"... I have to do it quickly... one right after the other.

    That will clear the problem for about 5 minutes and explorer will behave itself.

    Then it will start doing it again.

    Really, what I'd like is for explorer to stop arbitarly locking files or for it to stop cheesing out on me when unlocker breaks the lockouts.

    Unlocker makes it very clear which program is locking a file. If I have word open and try to move the word document it says that Word has locked the file. If I'm copying some big files and try to delete them it says explorer has them. That's fine.

    But it's saying things are locked that haven't been touched by anything in weeks... and it's always explorer locking them out.

    Another work around I've found is that alternate file browsers will typically not respect These arbitary lockouts. So I can move or delete files with a dos prompt or Nero's file browser for example.

    Something is wrong with explorer... any thoughts?
  2. Peddant

    Peddant TS Rookie Posts: 1,403

    First suggestion -

    From - Tidy Windows

    "If I disconnected from the network, the problem went away.

    The cause turned out to be pretty simple. My taskbar
    contained a shortcut to an network item, and that item had
    been deleted. Deleting the taskbar shortcut fixed the problem."
  3. Karmashock

    Karmashock TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 223

    I have no shortcuts to network media on this computer.

    The problem preceeded it even being on a multi computer network.
  4. Peddant

    Peddant TS Rookie Posts: 1,403

    Double check the "dead network mappings"

    "The way to work around this is to un-mount all the network drives and make sure there are no bad disks in the CD or DVD drive. Bad floppy disks are also pretty notorious for causing these problems. To un-mount all the network drives, you can right-click on the mapped drive and hit "disconnect network drive"

    "There is no reason to use drive mappings especially when dead mappings cause so many problems. Drop those drive mappings like a bad habit!"

    Also try a clean boot.Uncheck everthing in msconfig except AV/firewall,then restart.

    From - Tidy dead network mappings
  5. Karmashock

    Karmashock TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 223

    no seriously, I'm not mapping network drives... ;)
  6. dalamar

    dalamar TS Rookie

    Real Solution

    We experienced this problem at our office with about 11 users. The fix is to cut and paste the folder c:\docs and settings\"profile name"\local settings\application data\microsoft\windows" to another location. Log back in and problem will be resolved.

    Note: to do this you must log in as another user to move this folder.

    Note: local settings is a hidden folder.
  7. Karmashock

    Karmashock TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 223

    what do you mean cut and paste? do you mean delete the information in it? Because moving the file should just cause the OS to loose track of the information. And if it can't find it, then what's the point of having it in another folder? To back it up?
  8. JRodd

    JRodd TS Rookie

    Had similar issues. I agree with Dalamar. I was able to simply rename the folder mentioned while being logged in to the local administrator account (or any account on the machine that has administrative rights). Once I logged back into the profile that was having the issue, viola. It was gone.

  9. Karmashock

    Karmashock TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 223

    What do you mean move it though?

    Do you mean just simply move the folder? Because that will cause windows to lose track of it. Which to the OS is the same thing as deleting it. Or do you mean moving it AND editing the registry so that windows knows where it is?
  10. JRodd

    JRodd TS Rookie

    Don't worry about moving it. Just rename the folder. For reference:

    c:\documents and settings\<profilename>\local settings\application data\microsoft\windows

    Rename that folder to "windows_old"

    Then log out and log in to the profile that's having the issues. When you log into that profile, it will recreate that windows folder. And Viola.

    Hope that's more clear :)
  11. Karmashock

    Karmashock TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 223

    It does... I wasn't sure if we were forcing windows to refresh that folder or if we were just moving it somewhere else (while changing most registry entries to reflect that move) to break non-relevant references.

    thank you for clearing that up.
  12. JRodd

    JRodd TS Rookie

    Sure thing. Report back to us if it works for you as it did for me :)

  13. Karmashock

    Karmashock TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 223

    It worked like a charm.
  14. RVer

    RVer TS Rookie

    Windows Explorer is not responding"

    I tried
    c:\documents and settings\<profilename>\local settings\application data\microsoft\windows
    and could not get there. Probably 'cause of profile name. I tried just going to c:\documents and Settings\ and got the message "access denied".

    Appreciate any more specific steps. This constant stop has been going on for months. I'm hoping for relief. Thank you
  15. Karmashock

    Karmashock TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 223

    you have to login under a different account with administrator access.

    You might need to change the NTFS permissions but I doubt it.

    I personally did it in the recovery console...
  16. JRodd

    JRodd TS Rookie

    If you're getting "Access Denied" when trying to access Documents and Settings, then you don't have administrative privileges on the computer. The user account that you use to rename the folder will need to be a different username than the account having the problem and that different username must be a member of the Administrators group on the local computer. If the account has that, it should be able to access any user profile on the computer.
  17. Karmashock

    Karmashock TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 223

    you can also get that sometimes even if you do have admin privileges. Admin privileges do not mean you have access to everything merely that you can change any setting.

    Anyone that has had to change system files in Vista for example knows that the admin account cannot initially delete certain things because they've been claimed by some builtin "installer" account. It is however very easy to just take ownership and change the settings appropriately.
  18. JRodd

    JRodd TS Rookie

    True true. Vista is a totally different animal. I mean, why is it again that if I am an Administrator that I have to "Elevate" my privileges to do administrative tasks? *chuckles* I know the answer. It just took me a while to get used to it :)

    Since we're talking XP here for this thread, unless someone has gone in and changed all the security rights of the folder system (which could be the case in a corporate environment), the Administrators group will have administrative access to all the profiles on the machine and should be able to move/delete/rename folders in other profiles without taking ownership. But of course taking ownership is easy to do as an Admin and can be done if for some reason access rights are denied.
  19. RVer

    RVer TS Rookie

    Vista: does it list Documents and Settings differently?

    I can easily find Documents and settings on my old XP computer, but I have not yet been able to locate it on the Vista I am having problems with.
    I am Administrator, but I see from previous postings I may have to reset.
    So far, I still have sporadic: "Windows Explorer has stopped responding" messages and I cannot find the common thread.
    Unfortunately I do not understand the higher-tech lingo. I can follow specific step-by-step instructions.
  20. Karmashock

    Karmashock TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 223

    First, what version of XP do you have (if you have vista then please tell us the version of vista)? Right click on "my computer" and select properties. It should tell you the version right there.

    Second, have explorer show "hidden" files. Open "Folder Options" under the "tools" menu which can be found on the menu between "favorites" and "help". Select the "view" tab, then check "show hidden files and folders"

    Third, right click on the folder that is giving you problems and select "security". If that doesn't show up then I can go through a step by step on how to fix that. Open the "advanced" tab on the security window and make sure your account and/or the user group "administrators" has "Full Control". Then check the "replace permission entries on child objects with entries shown here that apply to child objects" box and press ok. The system should either either say you do not have "ownership" of the object or it will begin changing the NTFS security settings which can take awhile. If it says you don't have ownership then tell me and I'll give you a step by step for that.

    You should now be able to both see and modify (add, read, write, delete) anything within the folder without NTFS security getting in the way. There should be no open files if you're logged into a DIFFERENT account. If you're logged into the account that you're modifying then you need to log into a different admin account.
  21. RVer

    RVer TS Rookie

    Visa Home Premium, SP 1

    my computer or elements seem to be different from yours. I did not find Folder Options under tools. I finally did a "search for Folder Options ", it appeared and I checked "show hidden files...."
    "Windows Explorer" brings me the "Documents" files. In "Internet Explorer" I was able to assure that I have administrator control and could effect ...sorry I am not sure exact title now, but childproof/minor controls....something along those lines where I can protect underage from whatever.
    I have no clue what NTFS is or how to check for it.
    I certainly appreciate your specific step directions. Hope with your continuing help I'll handle these final curative steps.
  22. Karmashock

    Karmashock TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 223

    To show hidden files in explorer:

    To change permissions in vista:
    Please tell me if you get a security option under properties for the given folder you wish to modify.

    And I need it verified that you're trying to modify this account from a DIFFERENT account. You will NOT be able to do this from the same account.
  23. RVer

    RVer TS Rookie

    May I submit pic of frames that I get?

    I have Now set up new account/user with Administrator rights. I have taken a photo of each of the frames that I get so you can see what I see..... Please advise where to post them, if it is okay to send the photos to you
  24. Karmashock

    Karmashock TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 223

    I don't need to see photos.
    Under the new account see if you can delete that folder.
  25. RVer

    RVer TS Rookie

    which folder do I delete??

    the error message says:
    "WINDOWS EXPLORER is not responding.
    If you restart or close the program, you might lose
    > Restart the program
    > Close the program
    > Wait for the program to respond"

    I cannot identify what triggers this response. Is it Internet Explorer 7?
    When I go to Windows Explorer, I get my list of documents.
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