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Why do (Windows) directories take a long time to load? I looked at the FAT32 fs and it looked decent. I was using NTFS at the time but I imagine it isn't (much) worse than FAT32. So what keeps the files from loading slowly?

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5 Answers 5

It serialises each file in the folder. Windows 7 is a lot faster, but I expect that has something to do with the file meta data now.

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What does "serialises each file" mean? –  acidzombie24 Sep 11 '09 at 15:13

This can be caused by a variety of different things.

Your Desktop.ini could be pointing to a broken/missing file. Your network could be sluggish, or the directory is trying to pull from non-existant network resources. Your hard drive is fragmented (fix by defrag) Your hard drive is developing errors, and has to correct itself.

There are more if you'd like me to go on.

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Assuming you're talking about "loading" the directories in Windows Explorer here is just part of what happens:

For each entry in the directory Explorer will need to look at it to determine the file type, size, timestamp, attributes, permissions, etc. Bear in mind that NTFS has stores more information about a file than FAT. It will then either extract the icon from the file or decide to use a standard or application specific icon based on the file extension. All this activity will also trigger the antivirus software into action for each of those files, even if it's only to determine that any particular file isn't on it's list of filetypes to scan.

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I would try disabling the Indexation service Imagine, it has to index 27544 files at the same exact time...

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Depending on the filetypes, windows will sometimes try to extract metadata from the files and/or generate thumbnails in the case of images, videos and some text documents.

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