Windows Explorer very slow

Navigating through folders in Windows Explorer has become increasingly slow.  Pages take 10-30 seconds to refresh.  Even right clicking on an item takes a long time to respond.

Particularly bad is the My Computer screen, which can take up to 2 minutes to load or refresh.

Navigating the file system in applications like Word and Excel (Open, Save) is fine, and still operates quickly.  Only Windows Explorer is affected.

This problem has been developing gradually over the past several months.  I can't put my finger on a particular event that triggered it.

New information as of January 18, 2010:
I finally gave up and re-imaged my computer.  The problem went away....  until I installed Windows XP Home Service Pack 3.  Then it came back.  So, the next day, I uninstalled SP3, and the problem went away again.

Based on the above, I believe that SP3 is the cause of the problem.

Question Info

Last updated July 12, 2019 Views 142,611 Applies to:
Some reasons for computer slowness:

1. Computer hasn't been maintained -

2. Computer is infected with malware -

3. Hard drive is too full. Remove unnecessary stuff, uninstall unused programs. Don't forget to back up!

4. Flaky third-party software. Toolbars and add-ons are particular culprits in this area. Uninstall toolbars (Google, Yahoo, ISP-branded, etc.) and look carefully at what add-ons are in use in your browser(s).

5. Computer has too many unnecessary programs/processes running in the background. Manage your Startup:

For XP - How to Troubleshoot By Using the Msconfig Utility in Windows XP -
The free Autoruns program is very useful for managing your Startup -

For Vista/Windows7 - Start Orb>Search box>type: msconfig and when it appears in the Results box above, right-click and choose "Run as Administrator". Autoruns is also very useful.

6. User is running a bloated/invasive antivirus program such as ones from Norton and McAfee. Replace with a better program. I recommend either NOD32 (commercial) or Avast (free). Avira is also good but the free version has an unpleasant nag screen (Google for instructions as to how to disable this). User may also be running more than one real-time antivirus/firewall/security program.

7. User has installed new programs that are processor and/or memory-intensive (Photoshop, AutoCAD, Mathmatica or the like) and doesn't have the necessary hardware power.

8. Hard drive is failing and is in PIO Mode. This is very dramatically slow (like being back in 1985). See Hans-Georg Michna's information here -

In addition to the above, also see

MS-MVP - Elephant Boy Computers - Don't Panic!
Elephant Boy Computers - Don't Panic!

11 people were helped by this reply


Did this solve your problem?

Sorry this didn't help.

Great! Thanks for marking this as the answer.

How satisfied are you with this reply?

Thanks for your feedback, it helps us improve the site.

How satisfied are you with this response?

Thanks for your feedback.