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, you’re a groovyReader so if you ever bump into this, now you know how to fix it!



  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.

  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

  16. Mack

    August 26, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    well done sir!! that issue has been pissing me off for a while now.

  17. Jack

    August 27, 2014 at 11:51 am

    I came across your article but it doesn’t fix my problem since the files that load slow for me ARE pictures. Why should a dual core or quad core processor in 2014 take the same turtle time to load 200 images as a single core in 1999!?! It drives me into a fury.

    The file folders are picture folders of 100-500 images depending on the folder. I only save bmp files but while experimenting, jpeg behaves the same. Doesn’t seem to matter how large or small the folder size is,& the images never render in order either.

    It can’t be an issue of memory, or cache, or any other similar term since both of those are 4-8times larger now. This issue is experienced even if the file is opened 5min after it is closed. The computer obviously identified & rendered the images already, there should be no reason to turtle through as if they are all foreign concepts again.

    I might end up finding a solution before you reply, if you ever reply, but I would appreciate your assistance as would some of your readers also experiencing this problem.

    Thanks for your time.

  18. JS

    August 28, 2014 at 5:03 am

    This still doesn’t fix my problem, as I already noted over a year ago, HOWEVER, I may have out why.

    If I go to the Downloads folder link in the Favorites section at top, which is how I always access it, I get the crawl. You can not right click->properties here and get the “Customize” tab. The tab just doesn’t show. However, if you drill into your users folder->user name->Downloads, guess what? NO CRAWL. Ever.

    On this folder you can set the customize tab to “General items”, but it has NO EFFECT on the link in the favorites group, and there appears to be no way to set the properties on the favorites link. But that makes sense, since the favorites link is simply “users->user name->downloads”

    So, the question is, for people here that can also NOT get this to work properly is: are you clicking Downloads in the favorites section? Try drilling into the users folder and clicking directly on the download folder. Does the crawl stop?

    How do we get the favorites link to stop doing this? What’s the hidden magical registry key?

  19. Fritz

    January 29, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    I think the mechanisme is clear. Only what is the ‘first’ file, by name, by date? My folders keep switching to and fro between ‘optimized for images’ and ‘optimized for general items’, a.o. depending on the use you make of the folder, i.e. downloading/uploading an image *), downloading/opening a pdf. So I can change the setting (after waiting untill the bar has done it’s work, and the bar will do it’s work again áfter the change), but is keeps changing back. So how do i keep it ‘locked’?

    *) My first suspect was FB, I thought they were messing with my folders.

  20. awesomeshinigami

    March 5, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    If you want all your personal files (well most since there are those who have personal folders elsewhere other than the standard one located under your username folder) to load faster, just open the windows explorer and navigate here:


    Then find your username folder. There should be three folders (or more if you have more than one user on your computer): Default (which is hidden), Public, and yours {username}.

    Then apply the author’s steps from above, which is provided here for your convenience:

    Right-click your {username} folder.
    Go to Properties, and click on the Customize tab.
    Under “Optimize this folder for ” there’s a drop-down menu.
    Select General Items.
    ALSO CLICK THE CHECK-BOX THAT SAYS: “Also apply this template to all sub-folders.”
    Once you’ve done that, Click OK to save changes.

    Voila! Your commonly used files should be set instead of going through them one by one which is a pain. Work smarter and not harder.

    You should also do this to your other personal files not located under your {username} folder, but it’s probably not recommended to do this to every folder, especially the ones that have installations/software/important Microsoft files (I never tried it but you can find out if you want and tell us what happened).

  21. Torridity

    April 7, 2015 at 8:18 am

    Thanks. This is awsome.

  22. Renan

    January 13, 2016 at 7:26 am

    Worked like a charm!!! Thanks.

  23. Wahyu Tri Purnomo

    February 27, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you..
    You’re a lifesaver..


  24. Varma

    June 5, 2016 at 3:20 am

    Amazing difference. Earlier it was a never ending wait for the folder with GoPro videos to load. Thanks a ton!!

  25. computer slow

    August 31, 2016 at 12:49 am

    my computer is running slow, I had to reinstall Windows, I doubt the computer virus. Thanks for your article, it is very useful for us.

  26. sb

    September 4, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    Groovyman Austin, thanks so much! I think this is the answer! My incessantly loading explorer windows were infuriatingly annoying LOL I was searching online for some solution and had to change my search engine query a few times before I came upon a link to groovypost which I instantly recognized as something that I knew would be useful (I love groovypost)! I have tried what you said and the loading appears to work fine after closing and navigating to the problem folders a few times. Thanks again so much! You rock!

  27. Suden

    May 10, 2019 at 10:22 pm

    Oh my god! Thank you so much!You’re the best!

  28. Ocheche

    July 14, 2019 at 2:20 am

    No kidding guys, this worked like a charm for me!!! And to think it’s a Ms Windows problem I’ve given up on long, long ago, and decided to ‘just live with it’ lol! But seriously, where the hell did that come from? I mean how on earth did you figure that out? Man, this is coolest and the most ‘straight-to-the-point result-oriented’ post I’ve ever seen on the Internet or elsewhere! Jeez! Thanks for sharing this man. God bless you more.

  29. Clifford Williams

    March 24, 2020 at 4:37 am

    This is a great and simple fix.

    Thank you.

  30. Tucker

    May 30, 2021 at 8:41 am

    I have been having this extremely aggravating issue for well over a full two years on my Windows 7 Pro 64-bit desktop – which has 32GB of Ram, which I recently updated from the original 16GB configuration, in hopes that this might solve this problem. It did not make any difference whatsoever.

    Here is one thing I have noticed. This infuriating ‘crawl’ when browsing folders does not seem to be a problem with all folders. I first began to notice it when I would connect my digital mp3 player to a USB port on the desktop. This player is set up with a few dozen folders that have specific names of the various radio shows that I download in mp3 format to my desktop and then drag and drop them into the appropriate folder. I also have a folder on the mp3 player where I drag and drop music files, also in mp3 format.

    I have a third party application for Windows 7 Pro that I use to convert mp4 video files to mp3 audio files, and since many of my radio shows are downloaded from youtube or bitchute or some other streaming service – they download in mp4 format and then I have to remember to convert them to mp3 before dragging them to my mp3 player. I have caught myself forgetting to do this conversion when I am in a hurry, and I have mistakenly dragged and dropped mp4 format files to my digital mp3 player – which does not support video.

    Someone made a comment that triggered this recollection, and said that when you drag a certain format of file to a folder (presumably an empty folder) the folder will automatically change its default to the type of the file that just got dropped into it.

    So, I decided to do a search from the top level directory of my mounted mp3 player’s drive letter and look for any *.mp4 files. I found 3 that I did not know existed and I promptly deleted all 3 of them.

    After doing so, I immediately tried to browse my mp3 player’s drive letter and bingo, the ‘crawl’ problem seemed to be fixed.

    BTW: I had also selected the mp3 player’s drive letter and clicked Organize-Properties-Customize and set the file type to General, as advised in this article. That alone did not solve my problem – apparently due to the presence of those three .mp4 video files that were lurking on my digital mp3 player. But once I deleted them, these two steps combined seem to fix my issue.

    I hope this helps a few other people.

  31. Simas

    August 21, 2021 at 11:18 am

    Thank you very much. It’s helped

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