In older versions of windows you'd click on the filename column heading and wop - the files are sorted by name. Click on size, bif - they're sorted by size.

In windows 7 do the same thing and you get to watch a green bar slowly get bigger... slowly.

Did I mention that it's slow?

How can a simple task like visually sorting a folder take so long in Microsoft's newest most sophisticated OS?

  • 2
    How many files are in the folder? How large are they? What type of files are they?
    – Hello71
    Aug 29, 2010 at 18:48
  • It's not specific to one folder. It happens in any folder where there are a lot of files. But I'll pick one: 456 files. Movie files (tv shows. average 500mb)
    – MrVimes
    Aug 29, 2010 at 20:17
  • 1
    What really matters when sorting is how many detail columns are showing in that folder, the fewer showing the faster the sort will be. Setting the Customize tab to General as suggested by MrVimes will set the details columns to a minimum set.
    – Moab
    Aug 29, 2010 at 21:36
  • 1
    I just got completely fed up and since nothing else worked, I just terminate the SearchIndexer.exe process and it works fine.
    – user130014
    Apr 24, 2012 at 15:50

2 Answers 2


I found the answer from the Windows Seven Forums thread Windows 7 - Explorer Slow to sort folders/files, although it still begs the question of how windows can be so slow sorting folders 'optimized' for video or pictures. The answer is as follows:

  1. Right-click on the folder and select "Properties".
  2. Click on "Customize" tab.
  3. Under "What kind of folder do you want?" and under "Optimize this folder for:", select "General Items".
  4. You are done!
  • This didn't seem to make a noticeable difference to me. I am having this problem on a folder with ~6,000 files and it takes a ridiculous five minutes or so for Windows to sort by date. Jun 7, 2011 at 13:37
  • Check in the control panel: Indexation options: advanced: "file type" tab. You can choose the file extension to be indexed...
    – climenole
    Feb 23, 2012 at 8:50
  • "it still begs the question of how windows can be so slow sorting folders 'optimized' for video or pictures" Just wild guessing here, but I assume this has to do with Windows trying to create thumbnails for all files (even non-picture files) and this will take a lot of time for large files.
    – magnattic
    Jul 15, 2015 at 19:20

Struggling for months with this issue I wondered what Microsoft thought to be helpfull with this option. Why make things easy if you can frustrate millions and have fun selling software to solve it?

Well, this answer set me off in a direction of, which I found to have solved the problem ! My folders open fast as a fury now and even rightclicking on them opens the properties in a blink of an eye. Beleive it or not. Here an contribution from a Dutchy. Advanced user, but no pro at all! This is what I did; I disabled a lot of the Indexing locations (we still want to index, huh, don't we?) Go to Control Panel and open Indexing Services. Untick all useless indexing locations. (you can go in detail by pointing at the small triangular arrow and go deeper in the system. Keep only the Windows user and Program files. Use your common sense when picking what to disable and what not, I can not list them all here for you.

This helped me a great deal and solved the problem for me. If you have success too, please tell others on all the fora about this issue. If success, drop me a line, we'll discuss my fee afterwards ;-)

Hope this will help the world working Windows 7

  • 2
    I actually have indexing turned off altogether. It eats resources to run, slowing the machine down defeats the object of being able to find files fast. Windows XP sorts folders instantly when its indexing is turned off. And Indexing is fairly pointless anyway - actually finding a file is quick enough not to need an index.
    – MrVimes
    Jul 4, 2011 at 23:37

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