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Initial loading of network folder

Posted on 2011-03-11
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
I'll keep this as simple as possible.

Situation
I have a home network, 4-5 desktops/laptops all running windows 7, hooked up on a sitecom switch which is hooked on the modem/router.

Problem
I have a mapped network drive of a share on one of the desktops. Opening and navigating works fine, except when the folder contains large amounts of files (e.g. 1000 images). It takes a while before loading is complete. Now this isn't much of a problem as the 'delay' seems to be gone on subsequent subfolder clicks and returns, however when using a browser or any other app with a 'save dialog' this delay seems to be there every time. When I use firefox for instance and try to save a file into this folder the saving dialog comes up pretty quickly but when I click the save button it just halts for a random number of seconds, up to 30 seconds. Obviously this is very annoying.

More details
- This is happening in multiple apps, including firefox, chrome and some other with a save dialog.
- When copying a file from the mapped network drive, speed is around 10-13mb/sec, which won't get much higher as it's a 100mbit network.
- I have tried to connect the desktops directly to the router, bypassing the switch, had no effect.
- Router/modem has been replaced yesterday. Different brand. No difference.
- Saving to folders with few files causes no delay.
- Using mapped drive or directly through the network icon makes no difference.
- Disabling kaspersky on both the local pc and the network pc had no effect.
- Network is wired. Wireless is disabled.
- There are no 'broken' mapped network drives (as suggested many times on my search via google)

Any idea's on what could cause this and how I can fix it?
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Question by:Onthrax
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by:IanTh
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go gigabit
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by:Onthrax
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I forgot to mention that this has only been happening for a couple of days. before that all was running perfectly smooth. I haven't made any changes (to my knowledge) before this all started, except perhaps some windows updates (which I did a system restore for just to check if that was the cause, which it wasn't).

Any other suggestions?
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by:giltjr
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My guess is that the delay has always been there and that it is just now getting to the point where it is real noticeable.

This is an issue with the way the file sharing protocol works with Windows (SMB, also called Samba in the *nix world).

When you go to get a list of files in a directory what SMB does is it asks the "server" for a list of all the files.  Then it goes back to the server and asks for the details of each file individually.

So, say you have 10 files in a directory.  You ask the server for a list of the files, it returns the list of 10.  Then you say "give me the details for file1", then you say, give me the details for "file2", and so on until you get to "file10".

As you can see the more files you have, the more you ask for, the longer it takes.

Now, once you get this file list and the details, normally it is cached and the client will ask the server, has anything changed.

So, again I am assuming you have always had this delay, its just now you go to the point where it is more noticeable.

So the fixes are:

1) Go gigabit, which will improve response "a little".  Gigabit will not help a lot, because gigabit is designed to make large data transfers faster.  The problem you are seeing is not be cause you have a ton of data to transfer, but because you have a ton of little requests.

2) On the server create multiple folders that have fewer files in them.
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by:BudDurland
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Dividing the folder into two smaller folders will certainly help.

Also, check out these two links:

http://www.hacktrix.com/speed-up-the-display-of-folder-contents-when-the-folder-contains-multiple-video-files

http://www.connectedinternet.co.uk/2005/12/03/10-simple-ways-to-speed-up-windows-xp/
(especially the part about "automatically search for network folders')
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by:Onthrax
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@giltjr:

The delay has not always been there. It happend 'over night'. Before I was 'browsing' folders with 10.000 files or more as if I were browsing a local drive. Now a folder with a mere 1000 files takes several seconds. Strange thing is it's on all desktops not a single one. I have not changed any of the hardware before it started and the only software update would be regular windows updates.

I have changed the modem/router as I switched ISP's, BUT the problem started to occur two days before that happened, so that is not the cause.

You said something about the list of a folder being cached (which does make sense). Perhaps this part is no longer functioning correctly, so every time the contentslist must be refetched. How could I check if this is the case and moreso how do I fix this?

@BudDurland:
Thanks for your reply, but the problem is not the speed of my pc. I have a fast Quad Core PC 2.4Ghz with 8GB of RAM, so everything is running smoothly. The network folders have different types of files; one with just images, other text files, one video, all have the same issue so it's not specific to just video files.


Thanks for the help so far guys!
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by:giltjr
giltjr earned 500 total points
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The list is cached after the 1st time you access it and this is really the way it has always worked.

However, to make sure I am not assuming something that is wrong.  You stated that you have 100 mbit network and that you are getting "10-13mb/sec".  In the networking world little "b" means bits and big "B" means bytes.

When I read "10-13mb/sec" I did assume you meant 10-13 MB (millions of bytes) per second.  Was this correct.  or did you really mean you are getting 10-13 millions of bits per second?

Now, a 100 mbps lan can do a max of 12.5 MBps in theory.  In realilty you are not going to get more than about 11MB.

Do you happen to have a cross over cable?  If so, can you assign the 'server' a static IP address and then do the same thing for one other computer.  Connect the two directly to each other using the cross over cable and see if performance improves any.
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Onthrax earned 0 total points
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Thanks for the follow up.

I seem to have fixed the problem though. It turns out there was a peripheral device connected with an IP outside of the local network range. I do not know why this was causing the delay all of a sudden (as it probably had this IP a long time), perhaps something changed on this device, but assigning it a correct IP has seemed to resolve the slowness on the desktops.

I have a minor delay on the desktop which I tested stuff on, but that's probably the cause of any of the solutions I tried that I found through google (registry hacks and such, had to try something). The other desktops are lightning fast again. I'll see if I can revert this desktop  to an earlier stage, although the minor delay of about a second is not that much of a deal.

As for your question, I did in fact mean MB. Did not know the difference between mb and MB, so I learned something new :)

My network consist of all cat5e cables and I have a main gigabit switch, so from what I've read that should get me up to 350mbit. However there is a second switch half way as an access point for other devices (printer, media player etc) which is just a 100mbit. If I replace this one with a gigabit switch I should get higher speeds than 12MBps.

I have one question about that though. If all the switches are gigabit and the cables are cat5e, but the router's ethernet ports are 100mbit, will transfering files between two desktops be stuck to the speed of the router or will these only go 'though' the switch giving me faster speed? Does traffic go through the router or is that simply for assigning the IP addresses?
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by:giltjr
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Without any special tuning you should be able to get 350 mbit/second through put give or take a little.

If all of your devices are in the same IP subnet, then their traffic will NOT go through the router.  Therefore, you should get gigabit speeds to all devices that support gigabit.

In fact currently if two computers are on the gigabit switch and talk to each other, they should be talking at gigabit speeds.
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by:Onthrax
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Thanks for the info. I'll be purchasing a new switch to replace the 100mbit in that case. Currently only one desktop is connected directly to the gigabit switch, all other run through the 100mbit one.

Thanks for your help!
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by:Onthrax
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Assigned points for effort. Thanks again.
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