Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a very weird issue on a fresh set up of Windows 7 x64 on a DELL M6600 machine. It goes like this:

  1. Log in to Windows. Browse local disks using Windows Explorer. All is blazing fast, as it should be with a 16GB RAM with SSD OS disk drive machine
  2. Work a few hours. Browse local disks using Windows Explorer. Changing folders takes time (there is an up to 1 sec delay) and right click context menu also shows up after a delay (and an hourglass)
  3. Work a few more hours. Browse local disks using Windows Explorer. Changing folders takes even more time (there is an up to 2-3 sec delay) and right click context menu also shows up after a long delay (and an hourglass)
  4. Log out, log in again - all is blazing fast again.

All other apps seem to work ok at the same time. Downloaded Explorer++ and it runs smoothly at the same time as Windows Explorer crawls.

I have already uninstalled bunch of stuff that I have been adding in the course of configuring this workstation - including Tortoise SVN, a few not really needed and potentially interfering Office 2010 components (SharePoint Workspace, Groove DLL), disabled Windows Defender, which was enabled by default (I am running AVIRA). All updates are set up, all DELL drivers are up to date.

Anyone has any idea, what might be causing this? What to do to investigate further?

Reinstalling everything from scratch is not really an option, as it took me a few days to set this system up with all that I needed (development related stuff) and I use it daily for my work. This setup was supposed to speed me up, not slow me down, and this issue is extremely frustrating.

Again, my setup is:

  • M6600 DELL, 16GB RAM, Win7 x64 and software on a Kingston Hyper-X SSD, data on a HDD; machine is docked and hooked up to two external screens, which makes it 3 monitors setup
share|improve this question
It's clearly some specific service or process that's causing a problem (is the memory consumption okay?). I'd run Process Explorer and see if anything looks crazy. Pretty weird behavior, though. – Shinrai Nov 22 '11 at 22:14
Showoff! :-P :-) What external hard drives or network drives are connected? – Hand-E-Food Nov 22 '11 at 22:29
Turn off Avira (with your computer unplugged from the network) for the same period of time and see if it is reproducible. – user3463 Nov 22 '11 at 22:36
Memory consumption is OK, Process Monitor shows so many things going on that it is hard to dig through this though... I have yet to see Process Explorer output, but I do not expect to see anything there. – Sebastian Zaklada Nov 23 '11 at 11:12

Could be your SSD. I have two identical HP workstations and what you describe happens on only one of them. (Same hardware, same software configuration.) Replacing the SSD was the solution.

share|improve this answer
When you replaced the SSD, did you reinstall Windows, or duplicate the existing drive contents? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Apr 17 '13 at 11:33
up vote 0 down vote accepted

It turned out to be a WHQL NVIDIA driver issue.

share|improve this answer

Have the same problem, explorer refreshes can take !!!minutes!!! with the green search bar at the top of the window going nuts.

No need to restart Windows, or even log out ==> Simply shut down all "Windows explorer" processes and then restart "explorer.exe" (e.g. via task mgr).

I have a "kill process" utility that does this from a batch file via a desktop icon.

Once the explorer process is restarted, everything returns to normal for a while.

I do not know the actual cause, I suspected a bloated BAGS registry, a memory leak in explorer itself, or possibly a shmedia.dll malfunction.

The NVIDIA driver theory is interesting, I have NVIDIA too, using latest NVIDIA drivers. Can you elaborate ?

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.