A Win XP SP3 user has intermittent problems with Windows Explorer hanging or running really slowly

A Windows XP SP3 user has intermittent problems with Windows Explorer hanging or running really slowly.

The user always has at least two instances of Windows Explorer open on his Dell laptop.

While one of these instances of Windows Explorer will freeze, hang, or run really slowly, the other instance of Windows Explorer will run normally and respond just fine (at the exact same time that the other instance of Windows Explorer is hanging or running really slowly).

This issue almost always happens whenever the user is browsing any of the network drives or if he clicks on My Computer (either on the desktop or within the Windows Explorer window).

This Windows XP computer has all of the latest Windows and office updates installed and other than this issue seems to be working just fine.

I have performed all types of maintenance such as clearing all of the laptop's temporary and temporary internet files, defragmenting and running a chkdsk on the hard drive, etc., but these issues still continue to occur.

Furthermore, the computer's paging file is set correctly (I have adjusted the size of the paging file as well) and the computer's performance is adjusted for best performance.

Also the user has administrator rights on his computer.

None of the other desktops or computers in the same office as this user have this problem.

I have checked the Windows event logs and haven't seen any errors or warnings about things that could be contributing to or causing these issues.

What else can I do to fix or help to improve this laptop's performance so that Windows Explorer will stop hanging?
IT GuyNetwork EngineerAsked:
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I would first try to determine if the problem lies with the user profile or the computer by having the user log on to a different computer. If the problem follows him, it is either his account or his profile (if you use roaming profiles). If the problem does not follow him, it is with the computer. In that case, another user logging on to the affected user's computer should experience the same issue. Windows Explorer problems have all kinds of causes. The two most common causes I have seen repeatedly are that Windows Search 4.0 is installed (just uninstall it), or the Windows O/S needs to be repaired by being reinstalled.
Have you checked Event Viewer on this system?
You might try running SFC /SCANNOW or a Repair. SFC SCANNOW takes about fifteen minutes and a Repair about forty minutes.
Both require your OS CD.
Just insert your OS CD while holding down Shift to prevent autorun.
Release the Shift key after about ten seconds.
Then click Start and in the Run field type SFC /SCANNOW and select OK.

If the problem is only under that user's profile it may be corrupted or becoming corrupt.
You can verify this by logging on as Admin (any account other than the users).
Locate the user profile in Explorer and rename the user account to username_old.
Log off and have the user log on.
This will create a new profile. If Explorer runs as designed you can then copy the profile data over from _old to the current profile.

If the problem exists under multiple profiles and SFC Scannow fails to resolve the issue you might try a Repair.

XP Repair:
A Repair is not designed to overwrite data but you should take precautions.
Additionally, while a Repair may correct the issue it may require that you reinstall your most current Service Pack as well as the Hotfixes that accompany it. So I recommend having XPSP3 on disk prior to running a Repair.

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in such cases, i first run a diag on the drive; best download ubcd  : http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/      

this can help also : (don't remeber where i found it)
This applies to Windows 2000/XP/2003 Server.
*NOTE* Do not reboot until you have completed all steps.

STEP 1 - The Registry
Start by running regedit and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\\Software\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\ Run

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\Software\ \Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\ Run

Here you will see all the startup programs and services loaded. Inspect the entries carefuly and remove unwanted startup entries. If you are unsure about a startup program, go to and search for it.

STEP 2 - Cleanup temp files
Click start, run, cleanmgr. On the disk cleanup tab tick all boxes. Click more options tab, click Cleanup next to System Restore. Click YES when prompted, click ok and again click YES when prompted.

To cleanup temporary Internet files, cookies and history you can download Empty Temp Folders or CCleaner

STEP 3 - Clean the prefetch
Click start, run, %systemroot%\\Prefetch
Select all files and press delete while holding down SHIFT.

STEP 4 - Schedule a check disk (scandisk)
Click start, run, chkdsk /r

A message appears:
Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another
process. Would you like to schedule this volume to be
checked the next time the system restarts? (Y/N)

Press Y and enter to schedule the scan.

STEP 5 - Icon Cache
Run Regedit, Go to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\Software\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\ explorer
Create a new string called Max Cached Icons and give it a value of 10000
This will increase response time in windows and give the Shellicon cache file more elbow room.

STEP 6 - Speed up the Network
Run regedit and expand the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key.
Next, expand Software and then Microsoft.
Locate Windows and expand that as well.
You will want to be editing the main system files, so expand CurrentVersion.
Because this feature is a feature of the Windows component known as Explorer, expand the Explorer key.
Next, you will want to modify the remote computer settings, so expand the RemoteComputer key and then expand the NameSpace key to show all of the features that are enabled when you browse to a remote computer.
In the NameSpace folder you will find two entries. One is "{2227A280-3AEA-1069-A2DE-08002B30309D}" which tells Explorer to show printers shared on the remote machine. The other, "{D6277990-4C6A-11CF-8D87-00AA0060F5BF}," tells Explorer to show remote scheduled tasks. This is the one that you should delete. This can be done by right-clicking the name of the key and selecting Delete.

If you have no use for viewing remote shared printers and are really only interested in shared files, consider deleting the printers key, "{2227A280-3AEA-1069-A2DE-08002B30309D}", as well. This will also boost your browsing speed.

STEP 7 - Memory Managment
Improving memory performance can be done simply by preventing your hard drive from being used for cache. This is only useful with 256Mb or more of RAM.

Run regedit. Everything that you'll need to edit here can be found in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/Session Manager/Memory Management

Disable Paging Executive
This will prevent pages sections from RAM going to the hard drive. If you have a large amount of RAM at least 256Mb (I suggest 512) you might want to keep the data in your RAM to improve your performance considerably due to reduced amount of hard drive swappage. The entry that you will want to modify is called DisablePagingExecutive. Changing this from 0 to 1 will keep the data in your RAM.


System Cache Boost
The XP kernel can be loaded into your RAM with a simple registry edit. This can greatly improve performance since the NT Kernel will always be in your RAM. With this edit you will allocate roughly 4Mb of your RAM for the kernel. Sometimes more RAM is used but most of the time it is only 4Mb. The entry that you will need to find is called LargeSystemCache and you'll need to change this from 0 to 1 in order to enable this.


To put both of these RAM tweaks into use you'll add something like this to your reg file

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\\SYSTEM\\CurrentControlSet\\Control\\Session Mana ger\\Memory Management]
"LargeSystemCache"=dword: 00000001

STEP 8 - Speed up files access

This step is very important and MUST be completed.
Click start, run, defrag c: -f -v
This is a defrag running from the command line. Wait for it to finish or if your prefer the graphical defrag double click My Computer, right click on your C: drive and select properties. Click the Tools tab and click on Defragment now.

STEP 9 - Optimise your startup
Download Bootvis , install and run. From the Bootvis screen select Trace, Next Boot + Driver Delays. Make the number of repetitions 3 and click ok.

Allow your system to reboot 3 times to rebuild the prefetch. After this process is complete, open Bootvis again. Click Trace, Optimize System and wait for it to finish.

That's it! You will now have a pc that starts quicker and is more responsive.
IT GuyNetwork EngineerAuthor Commented:
Does anyone else have any further comments, suggestions, instructions, or knowledge base articles?

I often encounter this issue and am always interested in knowing all of the steps or possible solutions that can be taken to resolve issues like this.
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Windows XP

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