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How to Fix Slow Loading Folders in Windows 7

Fix folder loading lag in Windows 7The mystery started about 6 months after I bought my new machine.  My new Windows 7 PC started slowing down when loading folders that had a few hundred downloads in them.  At first I figured it was just a fragmentation HD issue or perhaps my Anti-Virus was going wacky on me.  Unfortunately after trying all these basics, I was stumped.  The good news is I figured it out in the end and I’m going to bet a few of you groovyReaders are probably having the same issue I was having.  Care to know the fix to the infamous slow loading folder issue?  Read on, the fix is simple.

Just to clarify, the load-delay can be seen in the directory box as a green progress bar that fills from left to right.  Depending on how many files you have in a folder, this can take several minutes or even hours to load.

groovedexter downloads properties

Step 1 – The Fix!

Locate the folder that is exhibiting the problem.  The easiest way to do this is to be in a directory one level higher than the folder with the issue.  Now Click the folder, Click Organize and Click Properties.

windows download folder properties

You can also access the properties windows by Right-clicking a folder and Selecting Properties from the context menu.

windows folder properties for downloads

Step 2

In the properties window, Click the Customize tab.  Under the “Optimize this folder for: drop-down menu, Select General Items.

Once you’ve done that, Click OK to save changes.

customize windows optimize options

Conclusion – Root Cause Analysis

The mystery is solved!  But why?  In my situation, because the first file copied / downloaded into this folder was a photograph, Windows 7 defaulted to optimizing the folder for images.  After that, each time I selected the folder Windows would scan every file looking for images before displaying the folder to me.  Not a big deal until the folder had several hundred files in it.  As soon as I re-configured the Folder type, problem solved.  No more lengthy load-delays.

I was able to reproduce the issue on a few different PC’s so this appears to be an obvious oversight by Microsoft. Good thing for you, your a groovyReader so if you ever bump into this, now you know how-to fix it!

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16 Responses to How to Fix Slow Loading Folders in Windows 7

  1. Ziggy July 12, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    Insanity at its best! Worked a treat. The infuriating green progress bar is now confined to history. Not sure of the actual “science” behind this fix but it has fixed my laptop to a tee. I’ve applied the same remedy to “My Documents” as I was having similar issues. Wallah, problem solved here as well. It also appears that my search queries are now much quicker than before – co-incidental? Who cares IT WORKS. Thanks…Keep up the good work. LIFE SAVER!

  2. Mark July 14, 2011 at 2:27 am #

    Excellent, thank you! This had been infuriating me!

  3. Chad July 14, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    This will be a big help since I use my Downloads folder as a catch-all and I regularly experience the long folder load time when I fire it up. Thanks!

  4. jim July 16, 2011 at 8:53 pm #

    amazing. thx

  5. dillagr July 26, 2011 at 12:31 am #

    nice find. another windows annoyance to get rid of.

  6. Tom August 15, 2011 at 7:39 am #

    Thank you. Before it was like waiting for paint to dry.

  7. Miso August 22, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

    Simply but effectively, it works!

  8. Eddy5Alive November 26, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    Fantastic fix, this was bugging the heck out of me. Thanks man!

    • kelly December 19, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

      go figure–scanned several official Microsoft forums and they suggested several long drawn out methods that didn’t work–one stop here and all is well in 2 minutes thanks so much!!!

  9. Ljancho August 16, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    Thanks a lot! :)

  10. Mike September 30, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    didnt work for me, still got the green bar

  11. Wayne October 21, 2012 at 7:08 am #

    Thank you so much. Changing the Customize Folder Properties from “Pictures” to “General Items” worked perfectly on my new Dell laptop. For some unknown reason the Customize Folder Properties on my HP laptop is also set to “Pictures” but there is no scanning or annoying delayed loading time. Maybe the Windows 7 version on my older HP is a little different, although I always update these computers.
    Wayne

  12. Chuck March 3, 2013 at 6:39 am #

    For me this solves the problem for one view of my Downloads folder and then the issue returns. I do not have the issue with any other folder including ones with far more data and files.

    My Windows 7 Downloads folder was by default set to “General” and taking 2-3 minutes to display contents which contradicts the solution here.Switching folder Optimization to “Documents” appeared to solve the problem immediately. But the next time I accessed the folder the issue had returned. So I switched the folder Optimization back to “General” and once again problem was solved… only to return again later. Seems there is a deeper issue at play and I’m still searching for a solution…

  13. Gautam Sehgal March 22, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    was really frustrated with this delay in loading….. job done now.. thanx a ton

  14. JS April 16, 2013 at 8:37 am #

    Unfortunately is does NOT fix the problem. My Downloads folder will display the green bar at least once per day. It’s been doing this since the machine was new, and every “sure fix” for this issue has failed. Oh well.

  15. calvin st. July 6, 2013 at 3:56 am #

    thanks after months of suffer, your idea works. thank you very much

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