Windows Explorer Delay

Hi team,

On (at least) three network we manage, users complain about the same thing:

Randomly, between three to ten times per day, Explorer is frozen.  This happens when either opening an Office document, attaching a document to an email, opening Windows Explorer to access mapped drives, ...

When it occurs, all users in that same network are blocked at the same time.  It lasts for 10 seconds roughly and it goes back to normal.  No errors on the server, no errors on the clients, no errors on the switches.

Environment is roughly the same across these three networks: Windows 2012R2 on ESXi (some are 5.5 some are 6.0), firewall is SonicWALL TZ series, switch is managed on one network, unmanaged on two, folder redirection is ON (we tried with OFF, no change).

We tried with or without Antivirus (BitDefender), with or without folder redirection, with or without DHCP...  We tried moving the datastore to another array of disks.  We tried adding RAM to the VM Host.

Last change was DISABLE "Domain member: Digitally encrypt or sign secure channel data (always)" in the Default Domain Controller policy, no change.

Any idea ?
CBM CorporateAsked:
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This turned out to be a problem on one of my sites and was the AD controller,  It would load up at times causing things like slow DNS response, slow DHCP ack, slow browse list deployment.  The server itself was protesting but not significantly, but after doubling the RAM it had, all of these issues ceased immediately

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CBM CorporateAuthor Commented:
We've already increased the RAM on the fileservers, no changes.
Incremental backups affecting throughput?
A task in scheduler long forgotten freezing the system
NIC firmware at the server?
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CBM CorporateAuthor Commented:
Incremental backup (StorageCraft) yeah we thought of that too, but this is completely random.  Some days we'll have ten delays, some two.  We paused the backup for 24h too, no difference.

Fmware has been upgraded (HP ProLiant) and no tasks are running.  It's a mistery.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
Check your networking, are you using the VMXNET3 network interface in all VMs, and VMware Tools to support it.
Monitor your ESXi host too. If it gets overloaded, most network operations that require an access to AD will fail...
You do not say if the problem is with desktop/Laptop computers (with local CPU/GPU/network power) or with remote desktops (thin clients maybe).
If with remote desktops, anything that affects the remote desktop services and/or the responsiveness of the remote desktop server would cause such an issue.
CBM CorporateAuthor Commented:
Hi Andrew, yes we're using VMxNet on all guests VM.

Hi Vivigatt, there hasn't been any overload in either the storage, the memory or the CPU allocation.  All four NICs are teamed.  No RDP this is straight SMB.
What about your backend storage? Are you using a SAN? If so use esxtop and check the GAVG, KAVG and QAVG for a period of time
The users are on physical machines or on VMs?
CBM CorporateAuthor Commented:
Backend is DAS, no SAN or NAS. And users on physical workstations.  Delays occur either in TS (old Win2008 in the network), in RDS (using remoteapp) or on their workstations.
CBM CorporateAuthor Commented:
It may or may not have had an impact, we reallocated some of the memory, the storage, changed some of the config within Win2012 and we haven't had any delays since.  I'll give you the credit on that one tho :)

Thank you all for suggestions, most likely a joint effort.
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