Windows 7 - "Windows Classic" theme is the only one that doesn't hang, what gives?
May 17, 2011 5:09 PM   Subscribe

I'm on a company provided Windows 7 laptop. Here's what I know: When using the "Windows Classic" Theme (right click on desktop>personalize>select "Windows Classic" theme), Windows Explorer does NOT hang/hourglass for ~30 seconds when accessing files/navigating folders. All clicks to save files, navigate through local and distributed files (our MyDocs folder is stored on the Company's distributed file system), etc., are immediately responsive. When using ANY other theme, clicking on navigation of files (local and DFS, even when not connected to the company network) hangs for 10-30 seconds. What gives? Do all of the themes (minus the "Classic" theme) have some sort of "network call" that look through My Docs (which is technically on the DFS/my company's servers, that has a 30 timeout if the network doesn't respond?) Any ideas how to fix this (change a registry setting, ask the company IT team to make a change to a group policy setting, etc.)? What's so special about the "Windows Classic" theme? It's ugly, but it saves me 30 seconds every time I touch a file, open windows explorer, etc. Thanks in advance!
posted by thankyoumuchly to Technology (6 answers total)
"Windows Classic" is basically a way of saying: "Turn OFF all the fancy menu animations and glitzy toolbars". It has nothing to do with network calls. Quite simply, the reason Windows Classic works faster is because it requires less resources to present/redraw the screen.
posted by jmnugent at 5:35 PM on May 17, 2011

The glitzy stuff relies on having a powerful GPU. If your computer doesn't have one, then Win7 has to fall back on software rendering to make it all go, and that's much slower -- especially if your notebook also has a pretty slow CPU.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:59 PM on May 17, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hangs, or goes very very slow? If you move the mouse around, and the cursor moves very jerkily, then I'd believe it's the case, as suggested, that your GPU/CPU are too slow for Win7. But if it hangs/freezes up for a whole 30 seconds, that sound like something else.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:11 PM on May 17, 2011

It's probably hanging up trying to render the transparent blue bubbles that show up around files when you select them. I'd give updating your graphics drivers to see if maybe there is an issue there. But it could just be that it's pulling too much processing power to render that it appears to lock up.
posted by msbutah at 6:51 PM on May 17, 2011

Windows 7 is pretty good at auto-judging how much processor power it has available. I don't believe it would turn on things that make the UI hang for 30 seconds as a matter of course. Most Windows UI freezes are down to some sort of network-related issue, and I'd expect this one to be no different.

Does your laptop behave differently depending on whether or not you're plugged into the company LAN?
posted by flabdablet at 8:08 PM on May 17, 2011

Any ideas how to fix this (change a registry setting, ask the company IT team to make a change to a group policy setting, etc.)?

Back everything up to your network drive and ask them to re-image the PC. In all the companies I've worked for you schedule a time with your IT team that coincides with (say) a 2 hour meeting and, when you get back to your desk, it's all ready for you.

Yes, it's a brute force solution and it doesn't solve the "why did this happen?" question - but it'll save you and them faffing about trying to find out what the problem is.

As an added bonus, it'll clear out the cruft you've accumulated and your computer will probably run a bit quicker.
posted by mr_silver at 2:55 AM on May 18, 2011

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