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I use shortcuts on Windows 7 to different network locations on my university. This is based on the negative experiences with networked disks in Windows XP that would severely increase logon time with many minutes if the locations could not be resolved at the time.

The problem is that if I select/highlight such as shortcut in an Explorer window, left-clicking, or right-clicking to open the context menu - Explorer appears to try and navigate the remote location in the GUI thread, and therefore stalls/freezes for several tens of seconds.

This synchronous behaviour is of course a fundamental design flaw in my eyes, but maybe there is a way to stop Windows from trying to resolve the target locations even though the shortcuts weren't invoked in the first place? Could it be shell extensions (like WinRAR that are invoked to analyze the file)?

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So your talking about simple Hover, and Context menu accessing. Standard functions of the OS. plus any other context menu items that would want to take a peek as soon as you right click over it. you could try AUTORUNS to disable temporarily these 3rd party ones? I suspect that even with 3rd party items gone that there is still many things that occur. EX: if you have a sleeping drive those same actions will take time and wake the drive before even determining what will BE in a context menu. You need some sort of Aware icons, or program, instead of the blind system. –  Psycogeek Oct 18 '11 at 21:07

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What about creating Shell Scripts to map the network drive, and disconnect with a script at Logoff? Then only when you know you'll be able to connect to it, you run the script (and maybe have it open the Explorer window after connecting)?

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