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Why does File Explorer hang frequently in Windows 8 when I am browsing through a folder containing about 20-30 files and folders?

The program hangs for around ~5-10 seconds like it is still processing. This happens with almost every start. This was not the case before, with Windows 7.

The machine in question is running on an Intel Core i3 3GHz processor with 4GB of RAM.

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Is it trying to create thumbnail previews? – RedGrittyBrick Nov 8 '12 at 16:05
more important than your CPU or RAM: Spinning HDD or SSD?! – klyonrad Nov 8 '12 at 20:44
@RedGrittyBrick Not trying to create thumbnils, not even consuming much more memory as per task manager – DOM Nov 9 '12 at 4:40
@klyonrad Running on HDD, could be the spinning issue, but was not the case with Windows 7 as well as with just 20-30 folders it must not be the case – DOM Nov 9 '12 at 4:42
Does this happen when booting in Safe mode? – harrymc Nov 21 '12 at 14:01
up vote 4 down vote accepted

For me, the Windows Defender is the cause of this Explorer slowdown. Here is what I get when scrolling through the Explorer:

enter image description here

Look if you also have this high CPU usage. if yes, disable Defender and install a different AV tool.

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You are right my friend, although option for defender is yet to be discovered. – DOM Nov 27 '12 at 6:30
Start regedit, go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows Defender and set the key DisableAntiSpyware to 1. – magicandre1981 Nov 27 '12 at 11:10
Permissions are denied -- looks like WinDefender locks down permissions on its own registry keys.... – Ross Presser Jul 18 '14 at 18:59
@RossPresser you have to take ownership of the key and change the permissions. – magicandre1981 Jul 19 '14 at 5:41
Eventually I turned off Defender completely. It still didn't stop File Explorer slowdown/hangs in Windows 8.1 on this machine. – Ross Presser Jul 20 '14 at 5:40

Are the files that you're browsing on a separate hard drive (not your boot drive)? If so, that 5-10 seconds are the drive spinning up and seeking. This is the default behaviour of the power settings in Windows 8.

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1. Running with only one HDD on system, 2. Problem is in a different drive then boot drive (C: is a boot drive, problem is in E: drive), 3. I am not able to find any of the HDD Spin Behaviour related setting under power setting (Running Windows 8 Pro) please tell me the specific location if you can. – DOM Nov 9 '12 at 4:37

The folder is set to a specific media type so its trying to generate previews. Do the following:

  1. Right click the folder
  2. Go to customize
  3. Select document from the drop down

Source of the above information.

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Can't see "Customize" option after pressing right click on the folder. Moreover the link you have mentioned is specific to the Download Folder, where in my case it happens with other folders. – DOM Nov 9 '12 at 4:32

I also had very serious Windows explorer freezing problem. I Googled the problem and found many fixes such as dynamic tick, hyper-v, updating drivers, re-installing the OS (which was already clean installed), etc, but nothing worked.

I found that Intel rapid storage technology RAID drivers helps to solve this freezing annoyance, I tried it and restarted my lapi but when I clicked on file explorer it again froze for 2-3 seconds. But after 10-15 minutes the freezing problem had just disappeared. Below is the link ! ( 5MB )

Download your required x64, x86 drivers and install it. It may solve your problem!

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Used ShellExView to disable IEContextMenu Class running for Symantec, mostly this is the same file that is culprit across all Anti-Virus running on Windows 8

enter image description here

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  1. Open Task Manager
  2. Click on Startup tab
  3. Disable the following three modules: (just right click and select disable)
    1. hkcmd Module
    2. igfxtray Module
    3. persistence Module

I don't know if this has any other effect on working of my machine, but it sure as hell resolved the crashing/ bugging/ hanging issue of my file explorer in Windows 8. Now my explorer really runs like a brand new install should. :)

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If you don't know what it does, why would you recommend someone else do it? – Raystafarian Jan 10 '14 at 18:05

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