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Slow windows explorer response

Posted on 2009-12-19
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Last Modified: 2012-05-08
Good eve experts - I am trouble shooting a HP NW8440 that has over time become slower and slower.  I am starting to do all the standard stuff - see whats running in memory, start up and the like.  Nothing looks out of the ordinary.  Well symantics rtvscan.exe is sitting there like like a fat pig at 121,904, but it been like that for as long as I can remember.

Basic stats on the unit:

HP Nw8440 (mobile workstation)
2 gig processor
1 gig ram

Before I dig in further a basic question....

I use my desktop as a filing system of sorts - I have various different folders with things such as customer information, CAD data, etc etc.  All within folders on my desktop that are named such that they have  meaning to me.

I have heard / read different opinions as to whether this is a good practice or not. (stuff on the desktop)

"C" drive is set up for a total capacity of 67.5 Gig.  Total free space is 22.9 Gig.  

That is 44.6 Gig filled up.

Of the 44.6 Gig,  the desktop is 32.1 Gig.

Could this be slowing my system performance?

What I am observing is that when I open a folder in windows explorer, it freezes for a moment, and then finally displays.  When scrolling through the files in any given directory the same thing happens.  It is functional, but some what annoying.  

This is a relatively recent issue (within last 2 months).

Any ideas on how to trouble shoot this?



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Question by:skacines
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:R. Andrew Koffron
ID: 26089424
Remove the symatec products and try NOD32 or Kapersky I think they both have free trial versions.
sometimes just removing and deleting folders, and re-installing Symatec stuff helps A LOT. I'm a fan of NOD32, but there are other good choices.
I find that a truly disturbing number of poor performance issues are fixed by removing Symantec products.
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Author Comment

by:skacines
ID: 26089441
Alas.. I was once a big symantic fan, but have reconsidered over the years for the reasons you cite.  Unfortunately, this is a company owned machine and although my IT department is very weak, eventually, they will coerce me to re-install.    Keep in mind that this issue only started a few months back, symantic has been on this machine for since I rolled it out. (have 4 others that my staff use that dont seem to have this problem with same config. )

I can not think of any software change or install over the last few months that I can attribute this to, other that just my collection of data getting larger.



 
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by:R. Andrew Koffron
ID: 26089458
yeah, like I said. just remove it, use the norton removal tool, and than re-install it. I've seen many performance issues fixed(or at least significantly better) doing this in cases where symantec is required.
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by:R. Andrew Koffron
ID: 26089477
you might also check that you don't have any corrupt files in the directory tree you use most often.
BACKUP before you try this.

a very easy way to find out is to cut and paste your desktop contents into a new folder. if you've got corruption it'll fail (hence the BACKUP). but at least than you'd have a point to check from. a tool like explorer2 helps with this so you can resume or skip the cut/paste operation after hitting an error.

I've never understood why Microsoft's file management is so crappy... how hard can it be to add "skip/continue" to the typical, "your screwed message" or make honest messages like "the file xxxx.txt is corrupt, and now we're going to end your operation, and not tell you where the file is bad. hahahaha"
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Author Comment

by:skacines
ID: 26089503
So the general opinion is that having such a large amount of data on the desk top should in itself not cause this?
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Author Comment

by:skacines
ID: 26089518
Interesting observation - the more files that are in any given directory, the slower it is.  As a test, I created a new directory with 2-3 files in it, and when I click to open it, poof.  In contrast, an existing directory with 100 files in it seems to staff for a good ten seconds or so.

Im not sure if that means anything.

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Expert Comment

by:R. Andrew Koffron
ID: 26089569
to some degree this is relatively normal, any virus scanner will increase the effect. but even loading thumbnails takes a few. so each one more incrementally causes more of a pause. but usually Virus Scanner is the most noticeable culprit, it's just the price you pay for being safe, however it sounds like your describing more than "normal slowness"
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Author Comment

by:skacines
ID: 26089655
Yes.. I would call this "more than normal slowness".... the thing that has me stumped is the installs and config of the machine has not changed significantly since this started.  
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by:R. Andrew Koffron
ID: 26089714
too many people get stuck on that "nothing changed", but the truth is obviously something changed. it could be something as simple as an update from Microsoft, or your virus scanner got a definition file that for some reason doesn't like you. it might be something complex like, your directory structure has crossed a boundary( got too many subfolders, or too long of a total path name, etc....), or perhaps you accidently shut it down while it was still writing a file and now there's a corruption.
in 99% of the cases i see, fixing it is much more important than figuring out how and why.
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Expert Comment

by:RANJINAP
ID: 26090302
Hello skacines, I think you should run Power disk defragmenter for file optimization. Run Triplepass. Visit this link
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by:edbedb
ID: 26090346
I would check the drive 1st. Run chkdsk /r.
If the problem persists then remove Norton as suggested by Harel66 but test the performance before re-installing it.
If the performance is back to normal then reinstall Norton otherwise run diagnostic on the drive.
If the computer reverts back to the long delays, I believe you have 2 options to improve the performance. Try to talk some sense into your IT department or Upgrade your hardware.
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by:optoma
ID: 26090416
Checking the hard drive is a good start.
You say there is 30+ gigs of data on the desktop?-not really a good idea!
Also is there loads of folders and shortcuts on desktop?- can cause a slowdown.
Minimise the amount of icons on desktop-dump them in reference folders to cut down the amount "litter" on desktop
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Author Comment

by:skacines
ID: 26092575
Here is the status folks.....

- ran triple pass defrag
- ran chkdsk /r

Perhaps moderate improvement, but nothing to say "ahh haa" to.

Experiment:

Copied a large directory from the desktop to the root of C.  The problem occurs equally as much whether I am reading a directory from the desktop or via windows explorer in the root of C.

Optoma - yes, there is 30 G on the desktop.  Well, kinda.  I have 20 ish folders set up on the desktop with various different names - customer, product reference, HR, etc etc etc.  Within these folders there is 30G of data.  Most of what is taking up the space is CAD data and I should probably offload that anyways.  However, I do like the way the machine is set up,  

Harel66 - you are correct - "nothing changed" is not correct.  Nothing I would deem "significant" has changed.. eg: CAD installation, update to Office 2007, etc etc.  However, yes, some periodic printer installs, adobe updates, flash updates, so it is plausible something along the line is causing the issue.

I am reluctant to remove Symantic as it is a corporate edition and Id have to go back to the IT guys to have it re-installed.  The less they touch any of my machines, the happier I am.  Sorry if that offends some of you!!  But, as a for instance, they are running our corporate network as a work group (no domain) and use fixed IP rather than DHCP.  Thats just the tip of the iceburge.

Would starting up in safe mode disable Symantic?  Would doing this be useful as a test?

I could also copy the entire desktop to the root of C as an experiment.  

Thanks for all the responses!  Any further thoughts?



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Expert Comment

by:edbedb
ID: 26092978
One thing to check is available RAM. Check the Performance tab in Task Manager. What is the PF Usage?
The only thing that can be confirmed by testing in safe mode is that if it works as it should then it is probably not a hardware issue.
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Author Comment

by:skacines
ID: 26093094
PF usage is 540 MB.  This is with all applications closed.

Interesting - I am writing you this on a personal laptop and the PF usage is only 203MB.

Are we perhaps on to something?

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Expert Comment

by:edbedb
ID: 26093115
Not if it still slow at that usage. It should be okay unless your display adapter is taking a big chunk.

Select the Processes tab and click on CPU twice to bring the highest CPU usage to the top.
Open one of the directories that takes a long time to appear. Watch the processes list and see if any of them come to the top.
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Author Comment

by:skacines
ID: 26093158
When I do that.. exporer.exe blows right to the top of the list at 39,964K.    

I dont see anything else moving in the list

I didnt think of this before, but I do have a near exact close of this machine that doesnt have the issue.  The "clone" is the same chassis (NW8440) with a pre-issue ghost image of the machine on the hard drive.  

This is my back up should disaster strike.

When I do the same thing on the "clone", the same thing happens but explorer.exe is only 23,054K.  

PF on the the clone is 505 MB.  <sigh>

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Author Comment

by:skacines
ID: 26093162
Note - when I say "same thing happens", I mean movement of explorer.exe in the list.  The "clone" does not have the delay issue.

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Assisted Solution

by:R. Andrew Koffron
R. Andrew Koffron earned 400 total points
ID: 26093219
safe mode isn't a good test, but use MSConfig, disable ALL startup items, and all non-microsoft services, and see how it runs.

turn on what you need one at a time.

I'm certainly not offended that someone doesn't want to remove their anti-virus. but I'd bet dollars to donuts that it'll be the "Ah Ha" improvement your looking for,

As for the IT department, I support companies regularly where the IT Guy and the janitor have about the same PC skills, I get why you don't want to deal with them.
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Expert Comment

by:edbedb
ID: 26093241
Select the Performance tab again, Click View and check the Show kernes times.
Open the directory again. Does the CPU usage max out? If so, is it just the green or is it both the red and green?
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Author Comment

by:skacines
ID: 26093316
Results of the edbedd test:

Problem machine -

CPU usage graph goes to 42 percent.  Both red and green.

<havent played with this before, not exactly sure what I am looking at>

Clone machine -

CPU usage graph only goes to 12 percent.  Both red and green.


FYI: The "clone" machine is running a disc image of the problem machine from August of this year.

<they dont like to be on the network together at the same time... -grin-, wireless and wired NIC currently disable on problem machine>

Any significance to this?

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Expert Comment

by:R. Andrew Koffron
ID: 26093329
at risk of being too simple, why don't you move your new files over to the clone and use it?
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Author Comment

by:skacines
ID: 26093344
Hare66 -

I have actually been thinking about migrating to the clone.... however, that is indeed the brute force method.  The disc image on the clone is about 3 months old and it would take some effort to make sure I got everything updated.

It is a possible solution however....

If we cant resolve this, Ill toss in the towel and migrate over to the clone.

Alas, sometimes one has to resort to that and sometimes it is actually quicker.  I had a nasty jump into the machine about a year ago and after several hours of trying to exorcise it, the end solution was to re-image the drive and call it a day. <the experts here actually gave up - only to say "wow, thats a bad one!>



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Expert Comment

by:edbedb
ID: 26093397
The red line going up along with the green one means that it is a dll kernel using the CPU.
To find out which one it is you will need Process Explorer. You can get it here.
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb896653.aspx
You use it the same way, watch the CPU while you open a directory. Should be pretty easy to find the process responsible.

Once you do all this I am pretty sure that you are going to confirm that it is your anti virus software. If it is, switching to the clone is not likely to help because once the AV gets all updated it will probably suffer the same problem.
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Author Comment

by:skacines
ID: 26093408
Thanks edbedb - I am calling it a night, but will do as you suggest tomorrow morning.

Even if I identify what it is, but can not solve it, it is still helpful information.  Not to mention I have learned a thing or two along the way!

I will report results tomorrow morning.  Thanks a bunch for the attention!
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Author Comment

by:skacines
ID: 26093459
Hey guys.. I lied .. I became so curious that I popped down into the basement to fiddle some more.

I am not sure exactly what I am looking at, but I think I may have found something...

<what is the significance of the purple, brown, blue and red bars?>

While fiddling around opening and closing directories, I noted that two lines in process explored would go "red".  I presume red = bad.  :)

Both "pop" up during the stall as red and then go away.

I havent been quick enough to catch one of them, but it pops up under the explorer.exe section.

The other is "acrordinfo.exe".

Dont think thats supposed to be in there.... eyh?

Virus - eyh?

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Author Comment

by:skacines
ID: 26093484
Got it... with a quick finger on the print screen key..

The second entry to go "red" is verclsid.exe.  This is rather quick.

I think this one is supposed to be there.

Here is the order of events:

Open explorer window....
explorer.exe - goes to about 40 percent
window stalls
verslsid.exe pops up quickly, bar goes red
acrordinfo.exe pops up,bar goes red
verslsid.exe disappears
acrodinfo.exe hangs around red for a spell
the explorer window unfreezes
after a short bit, acrordinfo.exe disappears

Hmmm... are we now onto something?  <grin, fingers crossed!>

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Expert Comment

by:optoma
ID: 26093530
Don't know what acrodinfo.exe is.
Vercslid.exe is a legit process

Run process explorer again:

1-In it ,hit options and select "verify image signatures"
Then hit view,select columns and check "verified signer"

2-Hit options again and select "difference highlight duration" and set it to nine seconds

Get a screen shot of process and attach images in a folder attachment here

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Expert Comment

by:optoma
ID: 26093564
Meant acrordinfo.exe!
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Author Comment

by:skacines
ID: 26093578
Im a bit torn on this one......

Have a look, it shows as "un able to verify".....

It is gray in this screen shot, and eventually goes away, but when the stall occurs, it is red...

Thoughts?

process-explorer-Nw8440.doc
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Author Comment

by:skacines
ID: 26093613
Hmmm.. Just FYI... acrordinfo.exe is not on the clone... I just searched the machine and it is not there....it is only resident on the problem machine.  Both problem machine and clone have adobe acrobat reader 7.

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Expert Comment

by:optoma
ID: 26093716
Could you create a restore point.
Then uninstall reader 7 and install latest reader
http://get.adobe.com/uk/reader/ -uncheck to install Mcafee scanner/google toolbar
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Author Comment

by:skacines
ID: 26093760
Actually.. what I think Ill do is create a disc image - that way I can hack away....

Alas, this will be tomorrow.. thanks for hanging around this eve......

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Expert Comment

by:optoma
ID: 26093776
No prob :)
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Accepted Solution

by:
edbedb earned 800 total points
ID: 26094899
I would just disable acrordinfo.exe. Read here:
http://42.kaizeku.com/windows/how-to-safely-removed-acrord32infoexe-adobe-reader/

This might not be an option for you, but what I did was dump Acrobat Reader altogether and replaced it with Foxit many months ago. http://www.foxitsoftware.com/downloads/index.php

If I were running your minimal hardware you would have to put a gun to my head to get me to "upgrade" an already too slow application with something even worse.
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Assisted Solution

by:optoma
optoma earned 800 total points
ID: 26100504
You can also use autoruns and compare whats running throughly on both machines.
Don't make hasty deletions or unchecking entries in it though as can cause the machine to become unbootable!

Upload the problematic machines autoruns here:

In Autoruns:
Hit options and check "verify code signatures" and rescan (F5 key)
Don't make any other changes...

Within Autoruns,select the file tab and select save(Ctrl+S) and save as AutoRuns Data (*.arn) -Output file is a few megs in size
Once saved then right click autoruns.arn and rename to autoruns.txt to upload

Autoruns http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinternals/bb963902.aspx
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Author Closing Comment

by:skacines
ID: 31668196
Thanks - I learned a lot on this one!
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by:optoma
ID: 26116006
No prob!
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