Fix Slow Folders In Windows 7

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 4, 2010
Updated • Jul 15, 2018
Windows, Windows 7

The following guide provides you with a solution for folders opening very slowly in Windows Explorer or File Explorer on a Windows device.

Recently, I started to notice that one folder on a Windows 7 machine was very slow to open. It took minutes literally for files to be displayed and was a very frustrating experience. Other folders opened fine and in less than a second usually which made the issue quite puzzling.

It took a while to figure out why the folder was slow loading, and how to fix the issue to speed things up again.

The folder was the machine's download folder where all downloads and file transfers landed. It grew to a size of roughly 250 Gigabytes of data with all file types present: videos, photos, documents, programs and music.

I first assumed it was simply too big, or that the many files and subfolders inside would be the cause of the loading animation in the location bar. But deleting files and folders did not fix the problem.

Fix Slow Folders In Windows

There were other possibilities of which I explored all but none fixed the problem. This included antivirus software, shell extensions, the view mode or thumbnail caching.

It took a while to figure out what caused the slow folders issue on the system that I examined. Note that this appears to be a very common issue but it is definitely not the only one.

I checked the folder properties to see how this folder was optimized in Windows 7. It was set to pictures. This was not right, since the majority of files in that folder were not pictures but videos.

I changed that value to videos and placed a checkmark in the "also apply this template to all subfolders" checkbox. (it also worked changing it to general items and documents with general items probably the best choice.

Fixing the issue

slow folder windows

To change the option do the following:

  1. Open Windows Explorer and browse to the folder that you experience the slow loading times in.
  2. Select Organize from the top menu and select Properties from the context menu that opens up.
  3. Switch to customize and change the optimize this folder for value to general items.
  4. Click apply to save the changes.

If you are using Windows 8 or Windows 10, do the following instead:

  1. Right-click on the folder in File Explorer and select properties from the menu.
  2. Switch to the customize tab once it opens.
  3. Select "general items" under "optimize this folder for".
  4. Check the "also apply this template to all subfolders".
  5. Click ok to finalize the change.

The result was incredible. The folder contents where displayed right away without loading time. I reverted the settings only to experience the slow loading folder contents once again.

It is safe to assume that this is some kind of caching gone wrong. I'm not sure why it was set to pictures in first place but this is the cause for the slow loading folder.

Windows may optimize folders for certain content types. That's fine if it works, and a folder full of photos gets optimized with the pictures template. Not so fine if Windows gets it wrong though, as you will end up with a slow opening folder.

Update: The issues may occur on newer versions of the Windows operating system as well. The most likely cause is that the folder has been optimized for the display of pictures, but it may also be that other optimization types are assigned to it that slow down the display of the contents.

My suggestion is to always select General Items and check the "Also apply this template to all subfolders" option as well to make sure that all subfolders are also optimized as general items.

Check out How to fix slow folders in Windows Explorer for additional tips.

Fix Slow Folders In Windows 7
Article Name
Fix Slow Folders In Windows 7
If Windows takes a long time to display the contents of folders, you may need to change the folder type to speed things up.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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