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I've got a problem with Windows XP that's bugging me. I have several shortcuts from my desktop to the directories I use most often. When I open these directories using these shortcuts everything works fine; but when I then try to navigate to a subdirectory there is a huge (10s) pause. Is there any obvious solution?

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Process Monitor from Sysinternals is good for figuring out what is going on.

This can be caused by a number of reasons including

1) if the anti-virus is scanning a large program
2) If there is a shortcut pointing to a location which is slow 
   or unavailable (eg Network drive or removable storage device)
3) If a data file is registered to a program stored on a location which is
   slow or unavailable.
4) If you have a large number of files and your icon cache is corrupt, then 
   you can spend time rebuilding the cache.

The file summary option of process monitor is helpful in determining if other locations are been accessed.

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Can you elaborate on (2)? I do have a shortcut to a network drive on the desktop - would that affect performance in directories pointed to by other shortcuts? I don't think any of the others apply here, although they are good suggestions in general. – Tom Smith Mar 27 '10 at 19:43
No, it would have to be a shortcut in the folder you are trying to open. Normally this does not cause problems, but I did see it on one computer where I guess the computer was trying to update the icon status to indicate that the folder was offline, but to do that it was actually checking the network connection which took a few seconds to do so. It is possible that the customer who owned the machine having installed some third party extensions which hook into explorer, so this may not be standard windows behaviour, but ProcMon would show if this was happening. – sgmoore Mar 27 '10 at 20:20

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