On my Windows 7 machine, the Programs and Features control panel page takes 3 and a half minutes to fully populate (it varies, but that is one example).

Initially the large majority of installed apps are shown, and then over the remaining period, further apps trickle in, while the progress bar creeps to the end. During this process, column sorting doesn't work.

Has anyone else got this problem? Is there a known fix?

  • 1
    It's not broken. The column-sorting behaviour is by design. Your machine may need some performance optimisation (disk / registry defrag, more RAM) to populate this list quicker.
    – user3463
    Sep 29, 2010 at 16:14
  • 2
    They deliberately designed the column sorting behaviour to not work until you wait 3 and a half minutes? Yeah, yeah I know what you mean - they assumed it would take a short time to populate the dialog, so didn't bother implementing sorting-during-populate. I totally disagree that 'it's not broken' by the way. 3 and a half minutes before the dialog is usable - 'not broken'?
    – mackenir
    Sep 30, 2010 at 9:53
  • Better answer for the new age of SSDs: Upgrade your system to an SSD. You'll never need to worry about OS disk tweaks like this again. I remember the days of configuring my service control, msconfig, degrag, etc... before they were mandatory to have a normally functioning system, now they are mere academic amusements...
    – Jon
    Aug 7, 2013 at 19:07

5 Answers 5


Turn off the Size column. If you right click the Size column and turn it off, the list will populate just about instantly. For full speed, show only the Name, Publisher, Installed On and Version columns. Once you verified it opens instantly, add back columns that you want and then you can see which columns are the slow ones.

  • 1
    Although... this might not be the problem either. Turning off the size column seemed to work for a while, but now I find it is just as slow as before... Jul 7, 2011 at 16:27

This has been a problem since the XP days. Part of what it is doing is calculating disk space to fill in the 'Size' column.

If you are willing to try an alternative program, there are a bunch that will allow you to quickly view installed programs (without calculating size) and then run the uninstaller:

  • Amazing. This certainly sounds plausible (that it's doing some work). Also, it may cache this somewhere, because sometimes the dialog populates more quickly. Deary deary me...
    – mackenir
    Sep 30, 2010 at 9:52

AntiVirus can cause this issue. Eg with McAfee, the on-access scanning intercepts regsitry reads, when compiling the list of installed software. Even with the size column disabled on my machine it took a couple of minutes to populate the list. With McAfee on access scanning disabled, it took a couple of seconds.


How many items do you have in the list? I'd suggest removing any unnecessary software.

How old is the computer? You may need more RAM, a faster processor, faster disk. I'd suggest a minimum of 2GB of RAM for Windows 7, an Intel Core 2 Duo or better, and ideally a solid state disk (SSD) for the absolute best performance.

  • An SSD shouldn't materially affect the speed with which the Control Panel populates the Programs and Features list, though, since it isn't disk-limited. I woudl expect RAM to be limiting factor there.
    – CarlF
    Sep 29, 2010 at 16:40
  • @CarlF: Are you saying that Win7 doesn't read the disk to get the icon? I would have assumed it would need to seek to the program file to get the icon resource embedded there.
    – hotei
    Sep 29, 2010 at 17:11
  • Yes, of course it reads the icon from the disk, but I can't imagine that it's the bottleneck on any system that's new enough to run IE. Modern rotating drives are very fast and icons are tiny. It's not as if Windows is reading tens of thousands of icon files.
    – CarlF
    Sep 29, 2010 at 19:02
  • It's a relatively new laptop with an SSD.
    – mackenir
    Sep 30, 2010 at 9:51
  • Did you do a fresh installation of Windows 7 on this machine, or is it a default installation that came on it? I'd suggest starting with a fresh install. Oct 1, 2010 at 20:40

As someone posted above, at our site Mcafee is the culprit. On Access checks EVERYTHING.

Turning it off to test it provided immediate results no matter how many columns I was showing.

With it On Scanning enabled reducing the number of visible columns had little to no result. The list appears quicker however the 'Search' bar shows that the task is still running leading you to wonder if more applications are going to appear.

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