My Computer - Slow, Not Responding

September 30, 2008 at 19:31:55
Specs: XP Professional, 2.4 Gb/512mb

Whenever I try to access the My Computer window, it takes 15 - 20 seconds for the items to appear. I often get the swinging flashlight and many times the flashlight will stop swinging for 5 - 10 seconds. There is minimal disk access activity during this pause.

Once the My Computer pane fills in with my drives and document folders, it takes another 15 - 20 seconds before I can access any of the items.

For example, if I click on a disk drive, it might take 15 - 20 seconds before it opens. If I click on a drive too soon after it appears in My Computer, I will get (Not Responding) in the title bar and it takes even longer to open the drive. It is My Computer that is not responding, not the drive I am trying to access.

Once any given drive is open, I can navigate around at "normal speed" but if I try to back out to My Computer, it once again takes a long time to fill in the My Computer window.

In addition, if a My Computer is open in the task bar and I have another app on top, clicking on the My Computer button will cause a blank or "clear" My Computer window to pop up which once again takes 15 - 20 seconds to fill in.

What could be causing this anoying problem?


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September 30, 2008 at 19:43:36
did you by chance recently download SP3?
Also sounds like lots of spy and adware. There are many free cleaners listed on one page in my signature, saves looking for them.

Some HELP in posting on plus free progs and instructions Cheers

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October 1, 2008 at 05:23:40
Is there a blank DVD (or CD) disc in a DVD/CD ROM drive as this will cause that issue because it can not read it?


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October 1, 2008 at 06:53:13
No, I have not installed SP3 yet.

I run CA Anti-Spyware every night. I just upgraded and ran Spy-Bot S&R which found a couple of tracking cookies.

I am now running an Ad-Aware scan, but don't expect much more than some tracking cookies also.

I'm thinking it's not "lots of spy and adware" but I'll reserve judgement until the Ad-Aware scan is finished and the system is cleaned.

Bryco: No, no CD or DVD in any drive.

I did notice that it took a long time to add the comments next to the Control Panel entry in My Computer, so I unchecked the option to show the Control Panel, but that didn't help.

I also checked for "obsolete" network drive connections but none seem to exist. When I get home tonight, if the Ad-Aware scan doesn't turn anything up, I'll try disconnecting the system from my LAN just to if that makes any difference. Hadn't thought of that until just now.

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Related Solutions

October 1, 2008 at 07:27:31
Go to Device Manager> expand IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers> Right click on first listing and choose properties> primary channel.

Post what you see in that screen.

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October 1, 2008 at 07:30:54

I'll check out the Device Manager when I get home tonight.

Anything specific I should - or shouldn't - see?

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October 1, 2008 at 11:44:01
It depends on which type of hard drive you are using. I was basing the advice on a SATA drive.

What you should see is the transfer mode. There may be a speed test button you can run.

The reason I suggested checking the controllers is that it sounds like your drive may not be performing as it should.

While you are in Device manager look at the listing for the hard drive too. If you have a SATA drive there may be options on write caching.

After expanding the hard disk listing right click on the specific hard drive and choose properties> policies. You want to use "optimize for performance".

If the motherboard chipset drivers have not been installed the drive/s will run slower.

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October 1, 2008 at 12:46:59

Thanks for the info, but it leads to another question.

If the drives were not optimized, or the MB Chipset drivers were not installed, wouldn't I see slow browsing with any window I tried to open?

This particular problem seems to only affect the My Computer window itself. Once I drill down deeper into a drive or folder from the My Computer window, everything is fine.

It is only when I try to access the My Computer window, either opening it directly, or "backing" into it from a deeper window or restoring it from the taskbar that I get the 15 - 20 second delay.

There's typically less than 10 items in the My Computer window, unless I have some USB devices connected, but it takes 15 - 20 seconds to display these items.

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October 1, 2008 at 14:25:41
Yes, the problem would be global in nature. I thought that is what was happening.

The problem is most likely not the drive/s then.

Try using CCleaner to both clean up and also run the registry cleaner. I would recommend that for now you save the changes so if something goes wrong you can restore the settings. I save the file to the desktop for easy retrieval if needed.

I haven't had any issues using CCleaner. A couple of people here have complained it removed things they didn't want to remove.

IMO what happened in those instances is cookies were removed. What that does is when visiting forums like CN here you would need to sign in again. Folks don't remember their passwords so they get pissed.

I have excluded removal of cookies from sites I visit regularly.

When installing CCleaner look at the options that will automatically come up. You can untick anything you wish or tick more items. The defaults seem to work for most users.

The above comments are for the cleaner portion of the program only. The registry module will fix what needs fixing. Make the backup if you want to as stated above.

CCleaner is very useful even if it doesn't solve your immediate issue. I use the cleaner module at least daily.

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October 2, 2008 at 08:35:43
So, here's where I'm at:

Again, I would like to point out that these symptoms only happen with the My Computer window. Once I have drilled down deeper, everything is fine, but any attempt to access the My Computer window either initially or "backward" from a deeper window or even when restoring the My Computer window from the Task Bar will cause the delay.

I disconnected the system from the network and unplugged my HP All-In-One printer, which has card slots for photo cards. This had no impact on the response time of the My Computer window.

I ran Ad-Aware 2008, Spy-Bot S&R and CA AntiSpyware. Other than a bunch of tracking cookies, nothing significant was found by any application. This had no impact on the response time of the My Computer window.

I run a CA Anti-virus full system scan every night, so I'm pretty sure the system is virus-free.

I ran CCleaner, including the registry cleaner. A number of items were found and in general the system seems to run a bit smoother. As far as the My Computer window, the initial response time for items to appear in the window appears to have improved from 15 - 20 seconds to 7 - 8 seconds. However, the delay before I can access any of the items in the My Computer window remains at 15 - 20 seconds. There is even a delay before I can drag the window around my screen. If I grabbed the title bar and move my mouse, nothing happens for a few seconds and then the window jumps to the new position. After the 15 - 20 second delay, I can drag the window around as smoothly as one would expect.

Now here is an interesting addition:

Before I left for work this morning I logged into an account that has not been used on the system for many, many months - maybe as long as a year. This was non-admin account; while my account has admin rights. Here’s what’s interesting:

The items in the My Computer window appeared almost instantly and were almost as instantly available for use.

This either adds an additional layer of complexity or may point me towards a solution. I have 2 other systems that are configured similarly – I have an admin account on the system, but the kids don’t. I’ll have to play with these a little more and see if I can narrow this down.

It looks like it might be account specific, as opposed to a systemic problem.

Stay tuned!

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October 3, 2008 at 05:35:08
My "guess" is there is a large video on the drive that if removed will spped you back up.


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October 3, 2008 at 07:13:54

Based on your suggestion I will look for a large video file, but as usual, a new suggestion leads to a new question.

The latest thing I found that was the delays associated with the My Computer window occurred on my account, which has admin rights, but did not occur on an account without admin rights.

If the problem was caused by a large file on the drive, wouldn't it impact all accounts?

Now, I will note that I haven't had a chance to check the behavior of all the accounts on the machine (6 total, although only 2 are used on a regular basis). Perhaps the culprit is in the My Documents folder of a particular user and since Admin accounts see all 6 My Document folders that would cause the delay in Admin accounts, but not the non-Admin accounts - except for the one with the large file in the My Documents folder for that user.

That will be my next check, but not until after the weekend 'cuz I'm leaving town for a few days.

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October 12, 2008 at 13:51:03
Having the same problem on one of my PCs, cured it before with this command, but not this time.

del c:\autorun.* /f /s /q /a

Just found this while searching for a cure, haven't tried it yet, I have about 8 tabs open looking for answers.
A delay may occur before the contents of a folder are displayed in the Windows Explorer Folders pane in Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP

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October 12, 2008 at 17:47:40
Thanks, I might try that.

BTW What does the /a switch do?

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