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I have 2 Windows xp pro workstations and both are mapped to a common folder on a windows 7 "file server". Workstation A is an i3 lenovo m81 with 4 GB ram (3.whatever usable). Workstation B is some rinky-dink home-built pentium dual core with 2 GB of ram. The mapped drive has a little over 6000 files in it. Workstation A takes 20 - 30 seconds to display the files while workstation B displays them almost instantly. I assumed it was an index issue but if I right-click on the share and select properties the Allow Indexing Service to index this disk… is checked on both computers but neither computer has the indexing service running. Is there something else I’m missing?

Other than this problem, workstation A seems to perform great.

Thanks,

sorry, yes. Same 100 Mb switch. similar gigabit cards. Both workstations will download a very large file in about the same amount of time. The problem seems to be focused on the 1 mapped drive with 6000 + files/folders.

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Can you provide more details about the network? Are they both on the same switch? Do they both have the same speed NIC's? Also, I highly doubt it would be an indexing issue as indexing is used to speed up searches and not accessing files on shares. –  DKNUCKLES Sep 14 '12 at 17:06
    
Who knows. If I were you I would start by collecting some data that is more concrete. Start by performing some transfer tests using iperf between each client, and some other system. Try performing some transfer tests from a linux livecd to eliminate software issues. –  Zoredache Sep 14 '12 at 17:07

2 Answers 2

It's most likely different shell extensions on the two boxes. One of the things Windows shell extension programs do is run "helpers" to determine which icon to display for a file or which field values to put in the various columns in the text views. These helpers can be annoyingly complicated, even reading every single byte of the file, to determine what type it is. For example, some handlers validate the digital signature on a file before displaying it and that requires reading every byte.

For example, you may have a media helper that allows you to have columns for the artist and length of an MP3 file. Often these helpers gather this information even if those columns aren't selected. Or it may provide a data rate column for AVI files. These things can require significant file scanning.

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I'm thinking it's something like this. I was hoping it was the fact that the slow one was set to 'details' view and the faster was set to 'icon'. I changed the slow one to 'icon' but it didn't help. –  Jeff Sep 14 '12 at 17:44
    
Sadly, some helpers gather all information even if it isn't displayed. Image thumbnail helpers are some of the worst offenders. –  David Schwartz Sep 14 '12 at 17:46
    
Vanilla Windows XP install with very little additional software. The fast computer actually has more software installed. Are these 'helpers' displayed anywhere? The slow box has MS Security Essentials. I disabled 'realtime protection' and tried again but no change. I'll try removing it. –  Jeff Sep 14 '12 at 18:22
    
You can use autoruns to display shell extensions. –  David Schwartz Sep 14 '12 at 18:26

Given the lack of detailed information that you've provided, it's really impossible to answer this, but I can give you advice on how to troubleshoot it.

Boot to a Linux live CD on both boxes and try again. Chances are that both will perform equally well, leaving it to be a software issue on one of the boxes.

If the problem persists, then you have a hardware problem on either your workstation or the switch/router/cabling.

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Yep, I agree, use a linux to test. Could be faulty wiring, will cause dropped (damaged) packets, which cause retransmissions. XP has some horribly written network drivers. Are both ports operating at the same speed? Have you verified that on the switch? Does the switch port parameters match the OS configured port parameters? Speed/duplex mismatch? Sometime autoconfiguring network cards, don't autoconfigure very well, leaving the port in a degraded state. –  The Unix Janitor Sep 14 '12 at 17:27
    
The data transfer speed is very much the same between the 2 computers. It's just a matter of retrieving the file name from the large folder. –  Jeff Sep 14 '12 at 17:29

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