This is one of the more bizarre issues I've seen. One of the guys at my company has Vista on his laptop which worked just fine until earlier this week. All of a sudden, everything would run really slowly, but only intermittently. AFter playing with it a bit, it seems like windows is sometimes trying to access the C: drive like a network share or something.

In Outlook or Word, for example, it'll hang with a message in the toolbar of "Contacting C:\Users[username]\AppData...". This will usually eventually timeout, with the program saying it couldn't find the relevant file. (Either a Word doc or Outlook PST). And then sometimes if you try it again it'll immediately pop up and work like normal. IE exhibits similar behavior, but it's harder to tell what it's actually doing. But for example I'll open up one IE and it just hangs, but I can wait a little while and start another IE and it'll immediately work fine, while the first one is still hung.

Does anybody have any idea what's going on? It's got Norton on there and it reports no problems. I've tried stopping just about every service and it still seems to do it. It did seem to work better in Safe Mode, but I can't be sure because of the intermittent nature of the issue.

I'm also a programmer, not a Windows admin, I just have to play one because this is a tiny company, so I could be missing something really basic.

ETA: UAC is running.

  • Is UAC running?
    – JFV
    May 28, 2009 at 15:00
  • Yeah, UAC is running.
    – KernelM
    May 28, 2009 at 15:11
  • Is it specific to files in user profile directories?
    – Neobyte
    May 28, 2009 at 16:18

3 Answers 3


Try running Filemon from Microsoft SysInternals toolset.


This will give you a listing of files being accessed as well as if the access was successful or not. Some of the other tools on that site may also be of assistance to you figuring out what is slowing down the system.

There is some boutique spyware/viruses out there that can really get into the system, and Norton can not find it. Hopefully that isn't the problem.


Norton is prone to thrashing even the most powerful of computers and bringing them to a grinding halt so it might be worth disabling the onaccess scanning in norton whilst booted up normally to see if this has any effect.

Additionaly it might be worth checking the state of the drive to see if its having read issues. You can use chkdsk (Right click drive in my compiter and its on one of the properties tabs) It will probably ask you to reboot.

Also you could build an UBCD4Win boot disc which loads a cutdown version of windows into memory off a bootable cd which allows you to run a host of included diagnostics tools.

Hope this helps

  • Thanks for the advice! I know I disabled the Norton service as one of my tries but I can't remember what happened exactly. I'll try some of other other things too when he has an issue again.
    – KernelM
    May 28, 2009 at 15:12

A laptop at a company - does the user have some sort of roaming profile, or rather, do you have any of the profiles user settings pushed off to a network share somewhere? Using offline files or some such? You may have some sort of network connectivity problem that Vista is reporting in a non-intuitive way.

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