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First, the configuration:

  • I have a desktop and a laptop running Windows 7.
  • I have a server running Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition.
  • The workstation and server connect to the same Gigabit switch via Cat6 cables.
  • The server connects to that switch with two CAT6 cables, though the later described problem occurs when using only one.
  • The laptop connects via wifi-G. The WAP connects back to the same switch via Cat5 (100bT).
  • The workstation has drives D: thru O: mapped to physical drives D: thru O: on the server (i.e. D: = \\bleh\D$). The laptop does not; connecting only through UNC paths (i.e. \\bleh\D$).
  • I am not on a domain, nor using that homegroup nonsense. Plain vanilla networking and sharing.
  • The server is almost always idle.

Now, the odd part:

  • When I try to open one of these shared drives, whether via a mapped drive or via UNC share, and from either computer, it occasionally takes up to a minute to populate the contents of the window. Despite only having a dozen or so folders. I do not hear a drive spinning up during this time, so I think that rules out the drive being asleep.
  • When I open one of these shared drives locally from the server, it always opens immediately.
  • Once a connection is established and I can see the folders, I can sustain transfers of around 50 to 70 MB/s; plenty fast.

Finally, the question:

Given that I have fast hardware, and fast throughput, why do these shares open so slowly?

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Have you checked what traffic is happening on the wire (using Wireshark for example) when you try to access it on those occasions? In other words, can you establish whether the problem is happening at client or server level? After that, I'd look at antivirus settings, etc. –  user3463 Aug 10 '10 at 6:05

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