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Slow MS Explorer when specific drive is connected

i7 7700K (not OC as of right now)
Asus Maximus VIII Hero Alpha
Corsair Vengeance 32GB DDR4 2800MHz
Asus 1080 Strix
Corsair RX 850W GOLD
WD Blue 250GB SSD (OS and very heavy apps)
WD Black 2TB HDD (games and apps)
WD Blue 1TB HDD (files, projects, downloads, etc)
WD Red 3TB HDD (media storage, future NAS server)

So before you say anything about the 170 mobo, I had already purchased that one. I was offered the 7700K discounted and bought it considering I could upgrade mobo in the future or might as well keep the one I have.

In regards to the amount of drives, the blue one was a new drive I had lying around. The black I purchased it mainly to install lots of games and some editing apps.

I decided to go with a WD Red because I would like to get a media server so I can keep all my shows and BDs there, that way I don't have to rely on my PC so much and I can watch my stuff on my TV, PS4, laptop, phone, etc...


Ever since I installed my red drive and put all my media in there (aprox 700GB so far), windows explorer became very slow. (I'm running Windows 10 Pro)

Here are a few situations:

1- Red Drive installed (internal), Windows Explorer becomes slow on every drive, as I try to open a folder with a lot of files it just takes forever, if you try to go back then the file icons become invisible and in order to recover functionality I have to manually kill the wait chain threads through the task manger. Also note that disk usage is low, CPU load is around 20% or more (not normal).

2- Red Drive installed (external, USB 3.0), Windows explorer is slightly faster yet it is still very slow IMO. Same issues as 1.

3- Red Drive not connected, explorer is very fast, CPU load 1% - 2%.

Returning the drive is no longer an option because I am no longer in the US so shipping by itself would be higher than the refund I would receive for the drive and selling it is very difficult even at low price since it is a NAS drive and it looks like people here are not interested in NAS drives. I'm thinking about buying a 4-5 TB WD black because I am tired of this (rather not due to expensive shipping but will do if issue persists). I have disabled multiple services which have somewhat improved the speed.

Can anyone explain how is this drive affecting the entire system in such a way even though I am only reading the drive? I would understand multiple threads would make it slower but it is just way too much to the point it becomes unusable.

I would appreciate mature responses and greatly appreciate it if you could point out any noob mistakes? other than the ones I already stated above. Have you experienced this issue yourselves? Do you know how to fix it?

I've read on some forums I found while looking for answers on Google that other people have had similar issues...

I don't use reddit very often so let me know if I shouldn't have posted this here.

WD Red 3TB (media storage only) possibly making windows explorer (WIN10PRO) extremely slow when connected.

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All Answers

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TRUE and nothing devious bad going on.

In reply to: Slow MS Explorer when specific drive is connected

Explorer has a habit (setting) to make thumbnails and can really drag on USB drives. Since content and USB speed varies you will get folk finding this or that drive is slower than the others.

Nothing broke here. But do try Explorer without only a File listing view for speed. (no thumbnails.)

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Helpful but there seems to be something else...

In reply to: TRUE and nothing devious bad going on.

So this does help speed, but the blue drive with the same files has never struggled as much.
I have the same files in the same folder on both drives (I had everything on the blue and the point was to move the media to the red), I tested this (big icons loading thumbnails) and the red is extremely slow sometimes.
There were some folders that still had not loaded the thumbnails because they were never opened (correct me if I am mistaken but they shouldn't have loaded/created any thumbnails yet), I opened 1 of them and it created all the thumbnails and loaded a bit slower than the blue drive but fairly quick, but when the issue happens it is much more slower to the point it becomes unusable and that's when I have to kill the threads in the wait chain to speed it up.
After checking the Red is 5400RPM and Blue 7200RPM but I don't understand why this issue happens sometimes or why the drive would perform a lot better connected through USB 3.0 instead of the SATA cable..

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RPMs, seek times and cache all work for the better drive.

In reply to: Helpful but there seems to be something else...

And Explorer's thumbnail building won't help us.

I fear you need more time to soak it all in. I can only write I see nothing broke here. It's all about the slow USB interface, the cache, the RPMs and what Explorer is doing.

Yes there are folk seeking answers but mine didn't work for you.

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Just to clarify

In reply to: RPMs, seek times and cache all work for the better drive.

Oh don't get me wrong, I do agree with you that loading thumbnails and the slower RPM won't help. But there are a few things I don't understand, for instance, I tried multiple cables and SATA ports (Red Drive) while also testing other drives, this issue happens less often when the red drive is connected through USB instead of a SATA cable and is only on this drive. And on top of that, the drive usage is low when it happens (like 0%-5%) so I'm very confused about what exactly is going on. By slow I really meant totally unusable where all the icons suddenly become invisible or folders never load. I feel like it is MSExplorer, kind of like something got stuck and the system is trying to finish it but it can't so the rest stays idle waiting for the first one to finish and that's when I have to manually kill it... but I wonder if there is any setting that could improve it.
I tried replicating the issue and it is difficult, I was not able to do it. It seems to be working just fine for now.
Also I was unaware of the logs, that sounds interesting and I will definitively try to disable that if this keeps happening. Thank you for the suggestion!

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There's a lot of moving parts.

In reply to: Just to clarify

You have RPM, cache, USB, SATA speeds and image decoders, and I don't expect repeatable performance. One time the thumbnails may be ready to use, the next time Explorer rebuilds them.

WD RED DRIVES and speed are in the complaints (search given) and some are solved. Not all.

At least you know that reading results in writes and how to turn that off now.

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About "only reading the drive." That's false.

In reply to: Helpful but there seems to be something else...

NTFS logs when a file is read. Logging is writing and overhead. Sometimes it helps to turn that off but my view on this issue is that Explorer is the slowest of all known file browsers.

Read and there are more articles if this one is too techy.

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PS. Seems folk notice slow performance with RED Drives.

In reply to: Helpful but there seems to be something else...

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I've read those and many more

In reply to: PS. Seems folk notice slow performance with RED Drives.

Maybe to explain myself better I guess it is not a transfer or speed issue in general. The drive performs as I expected when it comes to that. It so happens that on random occasions things go wrong, as if it crashed Windows Explorer and it just kept trying to finish a task that can't be finished so anything you do will be added to the wait chain, and unless you kill the task that caused the entire issue, it won't work anymore. The interesting part is that this only happens when the red drive is connected which doesn't make sense to me, but I am not expert on this so I don't understand what is going on...

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All it takes

In reply to: I've read those and many more

Is for Explorer to take a nosedive and remake thumbnails and you are toast.

I know what's going on but have failed to explain it well. Sorry about that.

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Disable thumbnails exclusively for video files?

In reply to: All it takes

Okay... I'm just stubborn as you can probably tell (lol)... Do you know if there is any way to disable thumbnails only for specific types of files? The reason why is because even though I don't mind doing so for all the video files and any other media, I would still like to keep the thumbnails for pictures as it is easier to find a specific picture by looking at the thumbnail than looking for a name because sometimes they are just dates or numbers which would make it difficult to memorize...

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What about this...

In reply to: See if it works in W10?

Unfortunately it doesn't... I haven't found anything that works other than turning off thumbnails completely.

It's not related to the video thumbnails but do you think that making custom icons for each one of the different media folders would make things worse? Explorer wouldn't have to update/create thumbnails for them since it would be just loading the .ico files which would be in each folder.

Most of my files look like this but I did notice explorer was trying to show a preview of the files inside each folder.

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Only one way to know. Test it.

In reply to: What about this...

If we had lunch I could go over all we would need to know to understand why this is a slug and sometimes not. Here I limit myself to 3 or less paragraphs. You are finding a combination that doesn't perform well and in my view this is an area where Explorer does not save the world. It can be maddening to those that think it's just a setting or they can fix it but Windows is CLOSED SOURCE.

This limits what we can do and if you can't use another file browser, then that imposes more limits.

Anyhow, test and know.

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Maybe There's A Corrupted File There, Try Running Chkdsk

In reply to: I've read those and many more

Try running chkdsk /f /r /x on the specific drive in question. (Open an elevated command window and using the correct drive letter involved, type something like: chkdsk D: /f /r /x) It may repair a problem file or free space and allow it to run better.

Hope this helps.


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In reply to: Maybe There's A Corrupted File There, Try Running Chkdsk

It took a while so I didn't reply but now it's done and no errors or corrupt data was found. Everything was okay. In regards to free space, it has 2.04TB free.

Thank you though!

It seems to be working okay so far but once again, it is something that happens randomly.

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Good.. Let Us Know If The Problem Occurs Again...

In reply to: Done

..and whether Chkdsk fixed the issue. There's no way to know till it's run for a while. Although errors may not have shown up, the "repair" function can sometimes fix indexes and other items that are slowing things down.

And Yep, it does take a while, especially on large hard drives.. The free space scan takes the longest.

Hope this helps.


Post was last edited on April 22, 2017 10:20 AM PDT

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Thank you... Unfortunately it did...

In reply to: Good.. Let Us Know If The Problem Occurs Again...

Here are a few things I found out.

I updated Windows to the new creators update and it deleted the thumbnails (I'm sorry for being so stubborn, R. Proffitt. You were right, kind of...).

I opened a folder with lots of folders inside and each one full of videos. It took a little bit longer but it loaded all the thumbnails and everything was fine.

I opened another folder full of folders with media files inside each one and it loaded half the thumbnails then drive usage went to 0%~2% and heavier load on the CPU. It didn't load anymore. I killed some of the threads manually in the wait chain and then opened the one that did load the thumbnails fine, it was very fast actually. Then I opened the one where the issue happened and it took a bit longer but loaded the rest of the missing thumbnails and then worked perfectly fine and very fast just like the first folder.

Unfortunately I don't remember which thread I closed to "fix" this but at least I can conclude that in my opinion it is definitively a Windows Explorer issue and for some reason it just gets stuck and doesn't want to do anything else or tries to solve something it can't instead of just killing the specific task automatically. Before this comes to mind, no, it is not an specific folder, it has happened the other way around as well.

I also realized that by putting the folders with the videos inside another folder, something like MEDIA FOLDER -> SHOW FOLDER(1) -> SHOW FOLDER(2) -> VIDEO FILES improves a lot the loading times because the thumbnails are just a folder inside another and if I open SHOWFOLDER(1) then Explorer only has to load thumbnails for 1 folder instead of a lot of them at the same time, until now I haven't had the issue happen again. I guess I could delete all the thumbnails and test it this way but the issue is random and everything worked fine when loading thumbnails except for that one time where it just got stuck for some reason.

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Thanks For Posting Back !

In reply to: Thank you... Unfortunately it did...


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No, thanks to you all of you for helping me!

In reply to: Thanks For Posting Back !

I will keep this updated if I find more information about these issues.

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Tried Turning Off "Indexing" For That Drive?

In reply to: Slow MS Explorer when specific drive is connected

First, try turning off Indexing on just the red drive to see how it goes. Double click on "This Pic" on the desktop, then RIGHT click on the red drive's drive number, choose 'Properties', then in the "General" tab, UNCHECK the box that says: "Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed.....", then click on "Apply", then OK.

Since that particular drive isn't constantly accessed by you and is used as storage, it should allow you to run it faster.

Of course, with multiple drives like you have, you may want to disable indexing on all of them except for the primary Windows drive but that's you're choice and depends on how much "searching" you do on any particular drive.

Hope this helps.


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I like this idea

In reply to: Tried Turning Off "Indexing" For That Drive?

Back when I used windows, I only had indexing for particular folders set as I recall.

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In reply to: Tried Turning Off "Indexing" For That Drive?

Actually I never considered this, but I never use the "search" function anyway, mainly because I always keep all my files organized so it is very easy for me to find them. I will try that and keep this updated. Thank you.

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Indexing Service had already been disabled

In reply to: Tried Turning Off "Indexing" For That Drive?

Okay, so I went ahead and turned it off for the drives but then I checked the services and I noticed I've had the Windows Search service disabled the entire time...

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