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Slow to display a large windows shared folder

Posted on 2010-09-08
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I'm hoping someone has run across this before and has a simple fix.  I'm pulling my hair out over this one.

Site is a small law office.  6 PC's 4 of which are older self built AMD boxes /w your standard assortment of cheap components.  All running XP Pro SP3.  1 of these machines is the "server".  The server has a single shared folder which is mapped to all the other machines as drive r:  Now one of the subdirectories in this share is the main data repository for the practice and contains roughly 10,000 files.  They've used this setup for about 5 years with no issues at all.

Now the problem...They decided to expand a bit and purchased 2 IBM ThinkCentre refurbs from the local computer store.  Dual core Pentiums, 1GB RAM, 80GB HDD, XP Pro SP3.  Basic, but much more powerful than what they currently have.  The problem is that these 2 new machines take FOREVER to display the folder /w 10,000 items in it.  Everything else is near instant but that one folder takes 20-25 seconds to display vs. 2 seconds on the old POS machines.  

I've tried everything I can think of.  Firewall on/off, /w and without anti virus, different network cables, jacks, nics, router/switch, disabling shared task and printer checking, with and without indexing service.  Installed software is the same on all machines.   It's almost as if the older machines have cached the contents of the folder and the new machines have to scan it every time they access it.

I'm out of ideas,  Any help would be appreciated.
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Question by:OCGeek
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Expert Comment

by:Justin Yeung
ID: 33633910
does it open up very long time on the 1st time and 2nd time will be a bit faster?

check taskmgr and see how much memory usage took with explorer.exe when browsing to the folder.
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by:OCGeek
ID: 33633964
First time, second time, tenth time, doesn't matter.  20-25 seconds.  If you enter a subfolder and then browse back, 20-25 seconds.

Processor usage does not change and explorer.exe uses 20mb prior to displaying the folder and about 25mb after.
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by:rockiroads
ID: 33633969
what view are you viewing these files in? there is a "do not cache thumbnails" in tools/folder options/view tab
look at the options in that like like simple view and display filesize info (which takes time to do I guess if lots of files)
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by:OCGeek
ID: 33634020
I'm viewing them in explorer.  Simple view is on, display size makes no difference (same result /w it on or off), and do not cache is unchecked.

It also makes no difference if I'm viewing the items as large icons, small icons, detailed, etc.  Still takes 20-25 seconds to display.
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by:rockiroads
ID: 33634030
so would it be any security s/w running that is checking files?

seperate issue - maybe run a scan anyways
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Author Comment

by:OCGeek
ID: 33634057
AV is avira same as on all the machines.

It's also not malware.  On 1 of the new machines I did a clean OS install.  It's currently just base OS and AV.  Same result.  20-25 seconds.  I also tried my laptop with the same result.  20-25 seconds.
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by:rockiroads
ID: 33634081
dunno, how about defragging that drive?
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Author Comment

by:OCGeek
ID: 33636824
It's not a server/drive issue because the 3 older machines access it just fine.
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by:Justin Yeung
ID: 33638405
try to disable the windows xp visual effect and see if that help

system properties-->advacned-->settings (under performance)-->Adjust the best performance

and try it again, i had a problem that issue before and that resolved my issue
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Author Comment

by:OCGeek
ID: 33639454
Nope is has no effect.
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Expert Comment

by:matthewspears
ID: 33748705
Do the new machines have Microsoft Search installed?  If so disable the service and reboot the box.
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OCGeek earned 0 total points
ID: 33864975
I ended up replacing the server machine with a linux/samba box to fix the issue.
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