rustrating super-slow music folder on an external hard drive.
March 4, 2011 5:06 AM   Subscribe

Frustrating super-slow music folder on an external hard drive.

There are a bunch of folders on this drive, a 1TB external on an XP system.

The music folder has 357GB in it. There are numerous subfolders. I have "indexed for fast searching" turned on (and have tried off, no difference).

When I try to click into this folder, it is crazy long wait, 20-30 seconds. The subfolders are normal response speed, but then coming back up from subfolders to the main music folder again is the long wait.

All other folders on this drive are acting normal, it is only this particular one acting funky.

WTF is this, how do I fix it?
posted by Meatbomb to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is Explorer set up to show the size of subdirectories when displaying a folder? If so, that's most likely the reason. In order to display that info it's got to open each subdirectory and enumerate all the files in it to get a size total, and for your top level directory it sounds like that's a substantial amount of work. The other dirs aren't as slow because they likely contain fewer subdirs or those subdirs contain fewer files.

Here are some things to try:
  • Rearrange your directory tree structure so that it's deep rather than wide, i.e. fewer subdirs at the top level.
  • Try using an Explorer view setting that doesn't display subdir sizes. I don't have a Windows machine handy to check and I don't recall if this is possible or not, either by registry or by options.
  • Try an alternative file explorer like Directory Opus, Total Commander, Xplorer2, etc. There are lots of these.
  • Make sure to defragment the drive regularly.

posted by Rhomboid at 5:40 AM on March 4, 2011

Hi Rhomboid.

The file details view within the music folder is not listing subdir size, but what you say might make sense. Anyone with ideas how to find other options?

I am really happy with the layout and would rather avoid reorganising it if possible.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:47 AM on March 4, 2011

If you have it set to show thumbnails rather than just folder icons, that will stomp on your performance.
posted by mhoye at 6:26 AM on March 4, 2011

Also not doing that - it is just the standard "details" folder view.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:29 AM on March 4, 2011

check your task manager and see what process is consuming cpu wen this happens. on my system, microsoft security essentials seems to peg my cpu at 99% on certain directories when i open them in exporer.
posted by DarkForest at 6:41 AM on March 4, 2011

Tried that, DarkForest, and the CPU and PF are not showing any spike whatsoever during this delay. CPU at 4% as I wait for the folder to open...
posted by Meatbomb at 6:44 AM on March 4, 2011

Is the hard drive spinning up from a dormant state when you first access a folder on it?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:46 AM on March 4, 2011

No - I am already working in the disk when I get to the music folder.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:01 AM on March 4, 2011

Did you try changing the folders to "Classic View"?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:32 AM on March 4, 2011

Just out of curiosity, how big is the disk cache and what kind of connection are you running through (USB1 or2)? If it's an older machine it may be USB 1, in which case, I think you might just be hitting the wall performance wise.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:42 AM on March 4, 2011

another thing - are there any big zip files in this directory? i had an older machine that would take a long time to open a directory in explorer. it had a big zip file in it, and windows wanted to plumb its depths before showing anything in explorer. turning off windows support for zip files fixed that.

also i vaguely remember a video i saw at microsoft about their process explorer tool. it was used to figure out a similar delay. it turned out there was some kind of network share or shortcut in the directory causing a delay in explorer. the shortcut was no longer valid, and windows had to wait for it to time out before explorer could display the folder.
posted by DarkForest at 1:31 PM on March 4, 2011

Well the end of the story is I moved my data off of it and am reformatting the bugger right now. There were a couple of files with a "cyclic redundancy check" error, but not only in the music folder. There were also a couple of "unremovable folders" in there once everything had been transferred.

That music folder now on another disc, and working normally. Ho hum...
posted by Meatbomb at 2:29 AM on March 5, 2011

And thanks a lot for the advice and suggestions guys.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:30 AM on March 5, 2011

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