Windows 2000 Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer slow response times

Hi all,

My Windows Explorer often takes upwards of 1 minute to respond to any interation (mouse click, keyboard).  After responding, it works normally for around 10 seconds or 3-5 clicks/keystrokes, then takes a further 1 min + to respond.   It happens when Windows Explorer is invoked from anywhere in the system, including Open/Save dialogs, installation dialogs, etc. This behaviour also affects Internet Explorer, but that is less of a problem since I don't need it for anything.

I have tried resetting Internet Explorer to default options, scanning for spyware using AdAware and Spybot, using HijackThis! to remove BHOs etc, removing all mapped drives, removing all entries from network neighbourhood, removing all favourites, turning off indexing and a number of other suggestions found on this site and elsewhere.

The machine in question has Windows 2000 Service Pack 4 (5.00.2195) on Pentium 4 2.0Ghz with 394Mb RAM and 40Gb local hard disk.  It runs McAfee Enterprise 8 andGoogle Desktop but disabling these does not appear to make any difference.

Reinstalling Windows is not an option, unfortunately.

I am fairly confident using Windows, and am prepared to try virtually any suggestions.  Editing registry settings and stuff is no problem.

I have spent a considerable amount of time and effort researching and experimenting this.  I use this machine for upwards of 8 hours every working day and this is possibly the single most frustrating problem I have come across in 12 years + of extensive computer use!  I have therefore allocated the maximum allowed points for this problem, and would be willing do more if possible.  Please ask me for any more information you require, I will be watching very closely.
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Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperCommented:
Several things can cause this type of Behavior.

#1: Hard Drive Partition Size and Remaining Free space:
      How large is your "C:\" Partition?
      How much Free space is left?

#2: Hard Drive is becoming bad.
      Check the "Event Viewer" and see if you find anything that states:
      [Hard Disk [0] has a Bad Block.

If #2, Then you will need to download the HD Manufactures Hard Drive utility.
The Utility will check the Hard Drive for Error, and will try to fix them, if not able to fix
Then it will tell you that you Hard Drive is bad, and information on contacting the Manufacture
Will be supplied for "Still in Warrenty" RMA's.

#3: In [My Computer] Right click on your "C:\" Drive.
      Choose [Properties]
      Choose the [Tools] Tab.
      Choose "Error Checking" by click the [Check Now] button
      Put a [x] check in both boxes.
     Click the [Start] Button.
(You will have to Reboot the computer to have these Test done.)
Reboot, and see what it finds, fixes, does not fix.

Keep us posted.
Start | Run, type "sfc /scannow". Remember to insert OS CD
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akadruidAuthor Commented:
Thank you carrzkiss

There is one 40GB hard disk in the machine.  This is formatted as a single FAT32 partition mounted on C:\ showing 37.2GB usable space.  There is currently 5.22GB free space available.

I cannot see any entries saying 'Bad Block' by browsing through Event Viewer.  I have read all the entries for the last couple of weeks.  Is there a method to search for strings in the log file?

The only entries I can see that I thought might be related are about 2 or 3 per day with the source 'MRxSmb' that read 'The redirector failed to determine the connection type'. Googling suggests these are related to mapped network drives.

I am just about to start the Error Checking.  I will post again with the results.
akadruidAuthor Commented:
rleepy, I have to wait for the IT guy to get back in the office to get hold of a Win 2000 CD, but I will try that then.

I looked at the linked knowledgebase article, it seems there are two options - contact MS for a fix or contact MS for a way of turning off caching for special types of disk. AFAIK I do not have a special disk (it is a Western Digital which was supplied in my Dell Optiplex GX260).  I'm a little reluctant to spend out a support call to MS - their support page says I should contact Dell first anyway, and to be honest I don't have high hopes for that.
akadruidAuthor Commented:

The Error checking completed without showing any errors or anything (took nearly an hour though).  I watched it most of the time, and all I saw was a percentage counter for each stage, and then a message along the lines 'completed successfully'.  It does not seem to have made any difference to Windows Explorer performance.

Any thoughts/new ideas?
Have you done a defrag on your disk? If not, please try that first.
akadruidAuthor Commented:
yeah i did a defrag recently, since the problem started, and it did not seem to make any difference.  is the problem likely to be disk related? it occurs on network shares too, and in internet explorer
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperCommented:
Go to:

My Computer | Control Panel | Administrator Tools | Computer Management

Choose: [Disk Management]

Make sure that it says that the Disk is: [Healthy]

If it takes a long time for the information to become present, then chances are, your
Hard Drive may be going bad, as certain signs of a HD going bad, is slow load & response times.
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperCommented:
Humm, I did not read your response to the "Disk Scan".

The only other thing that I know to do, to make sure that it is not your HD.
Is to do a [R]epair, and then a "Win2k Pro Upgrade" from the CD, after the Repair is completed.

Let me know if this is an option, if so, I will give you the information on how to do it.
akadruidAuthor Commented:

Sorry for the long delay, I have still not managed to get a Win2k CD from our IT guys, I think this might not be an option in the short term. Does anyone have any other suggestions?

I noticed that the delay appears in cygwin too.

in the Disk Management section it says 37.21 GB FAT32 Healthy (System)
akadruidAuthor Commented:
I have solved this problem myself, fortunately it was nothing to do with a bad hard drive or anything, it turned out to be the 'Path' environment variable.  Among the values in this variable was a server that no longer exists on our network.  This was causing the lag while it attempted to resolve the server.
Closed, 500 points refunded.
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