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Sometimes, when using the command prompt, the cd command finishes quickly, but often it takes several seconds. What does it indicate? What's the bottleneck?

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Is the location you're trying to cd to a network resource, perhaps? Or maybe a hard drive that needs to spin up first? What happens when you try to open that location in Windows Explorer? –  Indrek Jun 8 '12 at 8:42
    
it's a hard drive. that location does open, but slowly. –  prongs Jun 8 '12 at 8:43
    
A couple of things to try: 1) defrag the hard drive; 2) check SMART attributes with HD Tune or similar utility; 3) run chkdsk and see if it reports any errors. –  Indrek Jun 8 '12 at 8:47
    
how do i find the spinning speed of the hard disk? –  prongs Jun 8 '12 at 8:58
    
HD Tune or Device Manager can give you the model number. Type that into your search engine of choice and you should find the specs, including the rotational speed. –  Indrek Jun 8 '12 at 9:03

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A couple of things to try:

  1. Defragment the hard drive. The built-in defrag utility is fine, though for more advanced tuning (system file defragmentation, free space consolidation etc.) you can look into third-party programs like Auslogics Disk Defrag.
  2. Check the hard drive's SMART attributes with HD Tune or similar program. See the Wikipedia article for a list of attributes, including those that are potential indicators of hardware problems.
  3. Run chkdsk to find and fix errors with the filesystem and bad sectors on the hard drive.
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