littledictator
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Windows 7 x64 freezes when trying to open Explorer folders that contain large .TIFF photo file (1gb+). Have seen this reported on other forums - do you know of this bug?

Hello

I spotted this problem when I installed a copy of Windows 7 Pro onto my friends Dell Desktop PC last month. It's a Dell Dimension 9200 that was bought at the end of 2006 with Windows XP installed (Intel Core 2 duo, 2gb RAM). I recommended the upgrade to my friend who wished to use Photoshop CS4 to edit some VERY LARGE tiff files that he had originally created on a Mac Book Pro. When I say large files too, I mean LARGE - there are about 3 files in a folder and each of them 2.5-3gb. Anyway, Photoshop CS4 comes in a x64 flavour so I thought upgrading to Windows 7 would enable him to utilise more RAM for the "heavy" files (he bought an additional 2gb RAM = 4gb RAM in total).  I did a clean install (as you must for an XP upgrade) and the computer works as smooth as butter (as expected from this brilliant OS!)

However a particular folder that contained the above mentioned large .tiff files kept freezing the computer after we restored it's place in the documents library, along with all of his other files. All that would be done is to open the folder in Explorer in and after a few seconds of working fine the computer would hang and we would forced to HARD REBOOT via the power button. This happens consistently, even when thumbnail previews are switched off on a system-wide basis from the "folder and search options" menu. The default program association on this computer is Windows Live Photo Gallery.  Oddly, these files worked without a glitch when the computer had XP originally installed on it.  This made me scratch my head and investigate this further.  

Hunting through forum highlighted in Bing, I quickly found that others have also experienced this problem too with no guaranteed solution and curiously they all happen to be running Windows 7 x64. People have reported that when they had previous versions of Windows, their large .tiff's caused no instability, whether using XP, Vista x86 or Vista x64.  So, I decided to do some testing, find out and make sure that this was actually a problem on Windows 7 and not an isolated problem for this Dell computer. Here are my findings:

  • As mentioned, the Dell machine is a little over 3 years old but I ran a Windows 7 compatibility check and every single component was greenlit - even for 64-bit! So make no mistake, there is NO incompatibility occurring with some Dell driver, or component, or blah blah blah with 64-bit copy of Windows 7! It works FLAWLESSLY (with the exception of this one particular bug that is :P) 
Specs:
Intel core 2 duo 2.0ghz, 4gb DDR2 RAM, 256mb Nvidia graphics card, Windows 7 Professional x64.

Result:
Computer hangs when opening folder in Windows Explorer and CPU Meter gadget shows RAM has peaked to 100% with very low CPU activity.
  • The next machine I tested was a recently custom built PC running on Windows 7 Ultimate x64 with a much Higher and up-to-date spec from this years PCs.
Specs:
Intel i7 2.8ghz, 6gb DDR3 RAM, 512mb ATI graphics card, Windows 7 Ultimate x64.

Result:
Computer hangs when opening folder in Windows Explorer and CPU Meter gadget shows RAM has peaked to 100% with very low CPU activity.
  • Third machine I tested is a brand new HP Pavilion laptop that I bought 2 weeks ago running an almost equally powerful spec as the second tested PC mentioned above, this time running Windows 7 Home Premium x64.
Specs:
Intel i7 1.6ghz, 4gb DDR3 RAM, 1gb Nvidia graphics card, Windows 7 Home Premium x 64.

Result:
Computer hangs when opening folder in Windows Explorer and CPU Meter gadget shows RAM has peaked to 100% with very low CPU activity.

  • The last computer tested originally after the bug emerged on the Dell was my original custom built desktop - the oldest computer that actually ran both XP and Windows 7 RC x86 (before the license expiry this week of course!) Here's where it gets interesting...
Specs:
Intel Pentium 4 (single core) 2.53ghz, 1.5gb DDR1 RAM, 128mb Matrox Parhelia graphics, Partition 1: Windows 7 RC x86
Partition 2: Windows XP sp3

Results:
Windows 7 RC x86: Computer performance a little shakey and quite slow creating previews, but DOES NOT HANG and folder reacts normally. CPU Meter gadget shows RAM peaks at 85-90% usage then lowers after previews in Explorer completed. Takes a little while for files to open in Windows Live Photo Gallery (obviously) but they DO OPEN SUCCESSFULLY.

XP: No problem - folder reacts normally.  Files open successfully in Windows Live Photo Gallery. Files open fine in Photoshop.

Out of the four machines tested, one was running a 32-bit cpu/OS and this was the machine that worked as expected.  All other machines that were tested FAILED AS EVENTUALLY EXPECTED but no matter how new or powerful they are, couldn't prevent the hanging issue accompanied by 100% RAM usage peak, as observed on the CPU Meter gadget.

I have noticed that this forum has had this issue reported with a workaround offered that seems to have helped some people. Here is the link: http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7files/thread/a473c4ca-3fe2-4b6d-847f-6287e4d24e81  It did not make a difference on any of the machines I tested.

Other forums have reported this issue too. Here is another link I found: http://www.sevenforums.com/performance-maintenance/55003-large-tif-picture-files-slow-computer-tremendously.html 

I did find a fix for a Photo Gallery bug that was causing slowness. Link here: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx/kb/930097 

However, I don't think this is exactly related to the TIFF preview problems occurring in Windows Explorer.

Firstly, are you guys aware of this issue with Windows 7?

Secondly, are you working on a hot-fix that will soon be offered as a download over Windows Update?

Thirdly, is there an ETA for how soon a possible fix can and will be issued?


Hope I have provided enough detail clearly enough!


Cheers,



Kaushik

BobbyMi
Found this helpful 4
Answer
BobbyMi replied on
Microsoft

Try one or more of the steps below, these methods have helped others resolve the issue.

Turn off the Preview Pane in Windows Explorer

1.      Double-clickComputer

2.      Click theHide the preview pane icon beside the Get Help icon in the upper right hand corner of the window

 

Set the Optimize this folder option to Documents.

1.      In Windows Explorer right-click the folder that contains the large .tif files

2.      Click theCustomize tab

3.      In the Optimize this folder for drop-down select Documents

4.      ClickOK

 

Open the large .tif files in Photoshop and re-save the images using LZW compression, or one of the other lossless compression modes that TIFF supports.

Thanks

Bobby

Gaurav Prakash
Found this helpful 1
Gaurav Prakash replied on
Microsoft Forum Moderator

Hi,

I would suggest you to transfer the documents from tif to a pdf documents and check if the issue is resolved.

If it still  freezes then the issue is not with the File format.

Hope this information helped!

 

 Thanks and regards,

 Fouzan – Microsoft support.

 Visit our Microsoft Answers Feedback Forum 

 http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-%20US/answersfeedback/threads and let 

 us know what you think.

littledictator
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littledictator replied on

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Thanks for the suggestion - I will give it a go on my xp machine. As I have mentioned, the files will make my or any Windows 7 (x64) machine completely hang with no way but hard rebooting to resolve the issue... ;-) However, will conversion to pdf not compress the image, or can you wrap the image in pdf file without compression??  
littledictator
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littledictator replied on

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SOME POSITIVE PROGRESS (BUT STILL NOT PERFECT)...

OK so here's an update:  So I managed do some tests, converting the original files (which don't phase XP on an 7 year old pentium 4 PC remember!) in photoshop to various formats to see how the new outputted files would react. Before going into these details, I thought it would be useful to give some more information about the TIFF images.  My friend is an artist and photographer, so he's been combining these talents to create stitched panoramic canvases that HUGE and are greatly detailed when zoomed in close (a bit like that Silverlight deep zoom thing but without the technology behind it). Each TIFF image is made up of about 17-20 photo layers stitched in a horizontal panorama with the following dimensions: 290cm by 50cm (300dpi).

Due this unusual, non-standard canvas size I could not print the full image to pdf (maybe I'm doing something wrong) but I saved it to the biggest paper size (I suppose) - A0 over-size. I made sure that no compression was applied and outputted file size was 254mb. It opens fine, though I don't know how much of a fair test this was as it's about a tenth of the original file-size (just over 2gb). 

I then tried to re-save the tiff files as a new one... and here's where the good news comes! I spotted in photoshop that when you save as a .tiff there is a pop-up window that gives various options. One of these is "byte-order" with two options - Mac and IBM PC.  My friend originally created these files on a Mac and so I assume the byte order was set to Mac by default. I decided to modify the copy I created to IBM PC.  The new file is exactly the same size and retains all the image layers.  When opening the folder that these files are contained in within Windows Explorer there is now no immediate freezing of the computer or 100% peaking of RAM.  It's not perfect - when you single click on the file, due to it's large size, there is a lot of pausing for 30secs-1min as Windows generates live previews and collects the metadata. The good thing is that you can actually see the green progress bar going across the address bar, so you know the system hasn't completely hung - but performance is much better on XP!

Maybe this should still be brought to the attention of the Microsoft engineers to issue a Windows Update to improve performance with these very large picture files.

Hope my feedback helps to make your brilliant OS even better!! :)
M_A_V_E_R_I_C_K
Found this helpful 2
M_A_V_E_R_I_C_K replied on

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I get this same issue, but the tiff files are not larger than 300 MB and there are only about 8 in the folder. When viewing the PC completely freezes and needs a hard reboot. since these files are small individually why would this still be happening? Smaller tiffs (<100MB) work in other folders easily.

 

I have also tried this in Vista and have had the same problem. I had to install XP to be able to even use the computer in regards to this problem. I personally would rather use linux but as this is my wife's computer, and she wants photoshop, that is not an option.

 

Also, the "just save them as pdf's solution" is a complete FAIL by microsoft support. Tiff's are being used for a reason (maintain seperate editable layer, not flat images) and thus would NOT solve the problem for me!

 

Also, I have MANY files that are far larger and more of them in a single directory than this and it works, so yes, this is a problem with this file format in windows explorer.

littledictator
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littledictator replied on

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It's a shame that this problem hasn't been properly investigated (by what I can tell) by Microsoft for a Windows Update hotfix as it seems to be a commonly experienced issue by many people, independent of their system specs but all running Windows 7...

Months later, I'm still going back and forth about whether I have completely resolved this problem (I'm not convinced that I have) So I hope there is a solution found to dramatically improve stability of handling such files! 

Come on Microsoft! Do better than this!!!

littledictator
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littledictator replied on

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I thought I would just do another test with these same TIFF files as some months have gone by and I have installed numerous Windows 7 performance and stability updates that have been released within this time. Unfortunately, it seems that Microsoft has neither improved stability nor performance in the handling of such files on x64 versions of Windows 7. My computer hung and there was no way of getting it snap out of it except via a hard reboot.

I wonder, is Microsoft is bothering to seriously look into this flaw? Do they care that this may mar the opinion that many photographers and designers have of the quality of this OS when it is broken in so few steps? The fact that this thread has had nearly 1300 views since I first published it back in March must mean that many other people have an interest in a similar problem and may be suffering from the same too.

It may help the engineers at Microsoft if they were provided with the actual files that are causing issue with Windows 7 and I can and will happily send them through via my company ftp server if they can provide me with an email address to send a link for one of these files to them. Hopefully they read and reply to this update here....

BobbyMi
Found this helpful 4
Answer
BobbyMi replied on
Microsoft

Try one or more of the steps below, these methods have helped others resolve the issue.

Turn off the Preview Pane in Windows Explorer

1.      Double-clickComputer

2.      Click theHide the preview pane icon beside the Get Help icon in the upper right hand corner of the window

 

Set the Optimize this folder option to Documents.

1.      In Windows Explorer right-click the folder that contains the large .tif files

2.      Click theCustomize tab

3.      In the Optimize this folder for drop-down select Documents

4.      ClickOK

 

Open the large .tif files in Photoshop and re-save the images using LZW compression, or one of the other lossless compression modes that TIFF supports.

Thanks

Bobby

littledictator
Found this helpful 1
littledictator replied on

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Hi Bobby

Thanks for the response - I have tested and failed to resolve this issue however...

I have tried all the steps that have been suggested above and the computer still hangs. Please note that the files react fine on Mac OSX and Windows XP, so this is definitely an issue with Windows Explorer in Windows 7 64-bit. I would still like to suggest that I send one of these files for your engineering team to play with and see for yourself - I can send large files via my company ftp, I just need an email address to send the link to you.

To clarify, I also created a new .tif file in a new folder using the suggested LZW compression, however the same continues to happen. Also, compression really isn't an option for this particular project - the files are made up of multiple, unflattened .tif photo layers that need to retain ALL detail and resolution and the the LZW output was compressed by over 500mb, yet still it made the computer hang quite dramatically.

Instead of workaround that may or may not work for everyone, wouldn't it be better if the engineers at Microsoft looked into this problem seriously and worked at releasing a patch via the next Windows Update? Note: telling me that this is expected to be resolved with the next version of Windows (ie: Windows 8) is NOT an acceptable response! :P

Hope you understand my frustration, especially when the rest of Windows 7 works so much better!

Thanks

 

Kaushik

Lisa M.
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Lisa M. replied on
Microsoft

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Hi Kaushik,

Thanks for the feedback, it is always welcome. I would suggest visiting the following links to leave your findings:

Microsoft Connect

Windows 7 Feedback


Lisa
Microsoft Answers Support Engineer
Visit our Microsoft Answers Feedback Forum and let us know what you think.
littledictator
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littledictator replied on

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Thanks Lisa, I've submitted feedback on the second link (providing them a link back to this thread!)... I don't really understand how the Microsoft Connect thing works but hopefully my Windows 7 Feedback will get looked into and this annoying bug gets a hotfix by the time the final release of Windows 7 SP1 gets shipped to the general masses later this year!! :)

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