Windows explorer is slooow


I have a problem that happens on both Windows98SE and WinME. It is on a Celeron 566Mhz with 256MB RAM, 7gig HD with 1Gig free, and I have file sharing enabled. Oh yeah, and Norton 2002.

Could filesharing be what slows it down?

If you are aware of the problem then you can skip the remaing post. I'll try to thoroughly explain my problem:

The problem is that I open Explorer and expand the C: drive to see all of the sub-folders. Once I start to explore the subfolders it slows to a crawl. I'll get about 3 subfolders deep and I have to wait about 30 seconds before the files in the subfolders show. The whole window is completly froze while I'm waiting.

I'll try to reboot, and it's fast until I go about 2 subfolders deep, and then it's slow everywhere in Explorer. It's even slow closing, I'll close it and the button in the taskbar doesn't disappear until 30 seconds later.

I think it might be some update from, things seems fine until I apply all of the patches. I was using WinME and thought that was the problem, so I downgraded to Win98SE. Now it does the same thing!

Other applications aren't affected, just Windows Explorer.

I have a Pentium 166Mhz, 64MB, with Win98SE and it's never this slow.

Any suggestions? Please!!


Established Member
Hmm. I have two suggestions for ya (I originally experienced the same issue, though not this extreme)...

1. OnTrack PowerDesk, which is a complete Explorer replacement (and a great one at that). It slows down after a while, too (blame Windows itself for that), but starts out being MUCH faster to begin with.

2. CacheBooster from AnalogX lets you adjust disk caching settings which include buffer settings for file and directory caching. Lowering these from their default just might do the trick for ya.

I use both in Win98SE and they're wonderful.
Yes, I defrag often. I also have it scheduled to defrag once a week.

I've heard and used some of the analogx stuff before, I love their software and will definitely try. So you recommend lowering the buffers?

I was really hoping someone here would have a better answer than "it's just Windows." I was afraid of that.
I'm thinking it has to be something easy, maybe a setting that I switched that I forgot about.

I have switched the 'typical role of this computer' in the Systems properties>performance>file system to "Network Server." I've heard that it caches more files/folders in it's memory with this setting. I have tried switching it back to the default "desktop computer" and it's still slow.

It seems like it degrades over time. I have already reformated this computer about 5 times within the last year, I hope I can actually fix it this time without erasing everything. I'm about to go running back to Windows 3.11!


Established Member
have you tried it without the file sharing stuff?

have you checked for viruses?

my aunt and uncles computer was painfully slow -- and it was mostly because of a virus
I hope it's not a virus. Norton 2002 is also scheduled to scan once a week, and the definitions are up to date.

I think I have tried it without the filesharing enabled, but I'm not sure. I think I'm going to try booting it to safe mode and seeing if it acts the same.

Thanks a lot everybody for the help and suggestions!


Extra Hard Mid Boss
Does your virus-scanner use some sort of "real-time" scanning? If it does, it might be scanning all possibly suspect files before allowing you to access them. This can be a problem with at least F-Secure AV.


Established Member
Originally posted by Tindo@heart@May 8, 2003 @ 06:33 PM

I've heard and used some of the analogx stuff before, I love their software and will definitely try. So you recommend lowering the buffers?

Yes, I meant making the buffers smaller so Windows spends less time looking through them everytime you refresh Explorer or open subdirectories.

Are you trying Powerdesk as well? The thing about Explorer is actually that its web integration with IE also makes it a LOT slower than the non-web Explorer found in earlier versions of Windows 95. For more info on that, you might check out and read about the various "shell integration" features of the 98lite installer. VERY informative. (Powerdesk does not use web integration.)

antime: good point about the realtime virus checking, but I have CA Antivirus running in the background all the time and it's not impacting Powerdesk's performance at all.


Established Member
yeah the computer I mentioned had a virus scanner watching for viruses, but it didn't catch this one.

I found it and got rid of it with TrendMicro's free, online Housecall. (very handy)
I can't think of anything besides a virus that would be that noticeable.

Sure, Norton can be a pig, but it shouldn't cause that.

IF you were infected by a Klez Variant without your virus checker catching it, Klez will disable your virus checker!

Here's a simple test to tell if it's Klez:

Shut down any internet-accessing programs, like instant messangers, mail programs, Internet Explorer, etc.

Open an MSDOS window and type in "netstat" (without the quotes)

The output, if you have all internet clients shut down, should be nothing except the headings (Proto Local Address.. etc). If you see a listing that looks like it's connected to your smtp server (usually or then you most likely are infected by Klez. Do an online scan (such as Trend Micro's at Trend Micro's Housecall) and find out for sure.

If you are infected, use Symantec's Klez Removal Tool, and follow the instructions well.

I actually found this on a machine at work the other day. Thank god it wasn't directly connected to the network, it was just dialup.

Hope that helps.

Bootnut to the rescue!!

I installed CacheBooster and used the setting "File Server" and there is a great noticable difference! I havn't toyed with it long enough to compare the other settings. Thanks alot!

I'm sure the cause isn't a virus, I've always had this problem after several reformats. I think I'll actually reinstall WinME on it again now, I think it has superior memory management.

Thanks Bootnut for the 'netstat' tip, I've used it before with network troubleshooting. I ran it before installing 'cache booster' and it did only have "Proto Local Address" and didn't list any connections. I'll remember this tip for in the future.

Taelon, I haven't used 'powerdesk' yet although I intend too. I've haven't put much effort into switching quite yet.
I was about to start using "Filemanager/winfile.exe" again!
Anything could be better.

Thanks everybody for the great tips and help!


Established Member
I'm sorry, but I get a nasty shiver whenever somebody says they're installing Windows ME. You're better off with 98.
Why does ME get such a bad rep? Sure, it's bloatware and has a useless restore feature that's a resource hog. And sure it has other 'features' that reduce the resources to almost nothing, but these can be disabled. I've used WinME off and on since it was released, I'm recently starting to prefer it over 98SE. A well tweaked WinME system runs much faster and smoother than 98.


Established Member
Hard to believe.

I, for one, prefer to stick with 98SE's driver model (VXD) over ME's (WDM), and with DOS for that matter.

98lite makes a great OS out of WinME, I'm sure, but then it does for 98SE as well so that's a whole different level of comparison of the two OSes which I can't comment on...


Established Member
Haven't used 98lite on ME, but am always happy with it's results with 98.

I had to reinstall everything on my cousin's computer and put 98lite on there.

It only had 32MB of RAM and it runs the basic stuff quite well.

Explorer runs much faster when you turn off the web integration
ok, whatever.

It's under unique circumstances and not for a gaming machine. It's for a computer that's used strictly for web browsing and occastional CD burned. If I need Dos I'll boot from a floppy.

I prefer the WDM driver set for this machine. It uses a SoundBlaster AWE64 soundcard, and using WinME native WDM driver for this card unlocks it's true full-duplex capability. I havn't been able to do this in Win98. I'm actually working to extract the ME driver to try on a 98 installation, which is WDM compatible.

If I soft reboot my computer Windows loses my 3com 10/100 nic. It's a hardware problem with my Dell, something to do with not releasing the PCI resources or somthin'. I have to shutdown and never restart, which is a pain in the ass. But, with WinME native WDM drivers I can restart as often as I like and it plays well with my NIC. And! No one can argue that WinME boots, reboots, and shutdowns way faster than 98.

The computer is not worth hardware upgrades and an OS upgrade is worth it. With WinME I gain true full-duplex sound and a more friendly NIC.

I think everyone here would get a kick out of what I've done with WinME. I have it running on my ICS connection sharing point, the computer that provides my internet to 3 other computers. This computer also multilinks and uses 2 phonelines to provide extra *omf* to my bandwidth, broadband in unavailable here. It runs ZoneAlarm firewall, and CallWave Internet Answering Machine.

What's so special about this setup. It's a 486!
and guess what? It's been on for 2 years! I try to restart it once a week just to keep it fresh and refresh my IP. The dial up connection often stays connected 100 hours easy, and it's not rare to download 500,000,000 Bytes during that time.

The specs of it are:

TurboChip 133 5x86 133Mhz/fastest 486 upgrade


WinME/IE6/all patches and updates


External modems:"Olitec SelfMemory 33600 Modem, and USRobotics 56k"

I altered the powersupply of the case to power the modems, so I save outlet space. ;-)

I think it's hilarious.

I actually decided to do this once I noticed WinME boot and shutdown times. This 486 screams at rebooting, I can reboot and reconnect to the internet in less than 2 minutes!
This fossil has fuel! The only thing I do with this computer is reboot it, Win98 could never be this fast here.

See, my point is WinME can be as good and useful as an ol' 486!

PS. I've used 98lite, but only on 98SE. Nice product.


Established Member
I never said you were a liar and WinME sucked, just that I found your other post hard to believe
But all this is very impressive, indeed. What matters in the end is that we all get the most out of our machines regardless of the OS we run (and I happily run 98SE lite and tell that to those who think I should go with XP)


Established Member
Originally posted by Taelon@May 12, 2003 @ 04:16 PM

(and I happily run 98SE lite and tell that to those who think I should go with XP)

it depends on what your machine is like and what tasks you're doing.

If you have a good processor and have a good amount of RAM and do a lot of multimedia stuff -- go with XP

If you have an ok processoer and lots of RAM, and need good stability and not gaming, go with 2K

If you have a older box and less than 128MB RAM go with Win9X and 98lite.

But as a more general rule, I like to have my boxes running on an NT core -- even if it means I have to spend more $ on RAM.
ok, I think I'll put XP on the 566Mhz/256MB machine. No, I'm not gonna try it on the 486.

I've been connected 138 hours and 24 minutes, but this lightening storm is freakin' me out. I'm shuttin' donw and unplugging for now.