File Explorer is slow on Windows 10 [Fix]

By: Milan Stanojevic
17 minute read

File Explorer is the default file management application on Windows 10 and one of the few applications that every Windows user uses on daily basis. However, many users report that File Explorer is slow on Windows 10, a major problem that can interfere with work.

How to fix a slow File Explorer?

Solution 1 – Disable Cortana

One of the most anticipated features of Windows 10 was its virtual assistant Cortana. While it’s most certainly a useful feature, some users claim that Cortana slows down File Explorer. To fix this problem, users suggest disabling Cortana. This is relatively simple and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter regedit. Click OK or press Enter.
  2. When Registry Editor opens, in the left pane navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREPoliciesMicrosoftWindowsWindows Search key. If this key isn’t available, you need to create it. Simply right click the Windows key and choose New > Key. Now enter Windows Search as the name of the new key.
  3. Once you open Windows Search key, right click the empty space on the right pane and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
  4. Enter AllowCortana as the name of the new DWORD. Double click AllowCortana DWORD and set its Value data to 0. Click OK to save changes.
  5. Close Registry Editor and restart your computer.

If you don’t want to edit the registry manually, you can use a .reg file to make the necessary changes. To do that, do the following:

  1. Download this file.
  2. Open the downloaded file and extract all files.
  3. Now double click on Disable Cortana.reg file.
  4. A confirmation message will appear. Click Yes to continue.
  5. Optional: If you want to enable Cortana again, simply run Enable Cortana.reg file.

Another way to disable Cortana is to use Group Policy. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter gpedit.msc.
  2. The local Group Policy Editor will now start. In the left pane navigate to Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Search.
  3. In the right pane, locate Allow Cortana and double click it.
  4. Select the Disabled option and click Apply and OK to save changes.

After doing that, Cortana should be disabled and any problems will File Explorer will be solved.

Solution 2 – Check your Quick access list

The Quick access list is extremely useful if you want to navigate to a certain folder quickly. However, a few users reported that certain folders in the Quick access list can cause File Explorer to become slow. Network folders that aren’t currently available can cause this problem to appear. To remove a network folder from Quick access list, do the following:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Locate the problematic folder in Quick access menu in the left pane.
  3. Right-click the folder you want to remove and choose Unpin from Quick access.

After removing the folder from the Quick access menu the problem with File Explorer should be resolved. A few users reported that you might have to remove all items from Quick access list in order to fix this problem. If that solves the problem, be sure to add the removed folders to Quick access list once again.

Solution 3 – Change folder optimization

Windows 10 frequently performs optimization in the background and that can cause File Explorer to be slow. If this error occurs when trying to access a specific folder, you might want to change that folder’s optimization. This is rather simple and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Right-click the folder that’s slowing down File Explorer. Choose Properties from the menu.
  2. Go to the Customize tab.
  3. Set Optimize this folder for to General items. If this value is already set, select any other value from the list. After that, switch it back to General items.
  4. Check Also apply this template to all subfolders.
  5. Click Apply and OK to save changes.

If this problem occurs with multiple folders, you’ll have to repeat this solution for every affected folder. Few users reported that they solved this issue by setting the optimization to Documents, so you might want to try that as well.

Solution 4 – Use Windows Key + E shortcut

According to users, you can circumvent this problem simply by using the File Explorer shortcut because it seems issues occur only if you start it by clicking its icon. However, you can start File Explorer by pressing Windows Key + E on your keyboard. After doing that, File Explorer will start and it will work without any problems. Keep in mind that this isn’t a permanent solution, however.

Solution 5 – Reset File Explorer view to default

A few users claim that you can fix problems with a slow File Explorer simply by resetting File Explorer’s view to default. This is relatively simple and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter file explorer options. Choose File Explorer Options from the list of results.
  2. Go to the View tab and click Reset Folders button. When the confirmation message appears, click Yes.
  3. Click Apply and OK to save changes.

After resetting folder view to default the issue with File Explorer should be fixed.

Solution 6 – Change File Explorer settings

According to users, File Explorer can become slow if it opens Quick Access folder by default. To fix this problem, you need to change certain settings. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. In the left pane, right-click Quick access and choose Options from the menu.
  3. Folder Options window will appear. Under the General tab, change Open File Explorer to This PC.
  4. Click Apply and OK to save changes.
  5. Optional: Disable all options in the Privacy section and click the Clear button.

After doing that, File Explorer will open This PC by default instead of Quick Access. By making this change the problem will be completely resolved.

Some users also suggest disabling Always search file name and contents option in File Explorer Options. To do that, simply navigate to Search tab in File Explorer Options and uncheck Always search file names and contents option.

Solution 7 – Create a new File Explorer shortcut

If your File Explorer is slow, you might be able to fix it by using certain launch parameters. To do that, you need to create a new shortcut by following these steps:

  1. Right-click empty space on your Desktop and choose New > Shortcut from the menu.
  2. When the Create Shortcut window opens, enter C:Windowsexplorer.exe in the Type the location of the item field. Alternatively, you can click the Browse button and locate explorer.exe manually. Once you’re done, click Next.
  3. Enter the desired name for your shortcut and click Finish.
  4. Now locate the newly created shortcut, right-click it and choose Properties from the menu.
  5. Go to the Shortcut tab.
  6. Locate the Target field and add /n at the end. After making the change your Target field should look like this: C:Windowsexplorer.exe /n. Click Apply and OK to save changes.

After doing that, use the newly created shortcut to start File Explorer. We have to mention that this is just a workaround, so you’ll need to use this new shortcut every time you want to start File Explorer.

Solution 8 – Rebuild the index

According to users, you can fix the problem with slow File Explorer simply by rebuilding the index. This is rather simple:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter indexing options. Choose Indexing Options from the menu.
  2. When Indexing Options window opens, click Advanced.
  3. Now click on Rebuild button.

After the index is rebuilt, the issue with File Explorer should be resolved.

Solution 9 – Perform an sfc scan

File Explorer can become slow if some Windows components are corrupted. However, you can fix corrupted components with an sfc scan. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + X to open Win + X menu. Choose Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu.
  2. When Command Prompt starts, enter sfc /scannow and press Enter.
  3. Wait for the sfc scan to complete.

After the scan is finished, File Explorer should be fixed. A few users reported they were unable to run sfc scan, but if that’s the case you can use DISM to fix sfc problems. To perform a DISM scan, do the following:

  1. Open Command Prompt as administrator.
  2. When Command Prompt opens, enter the following lines:
    • DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /CheckHealth
    • DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /ScanHealth
    • DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth
  3. Wait for the DISM to finish.
  4. After the DISM scan is completed, try to perform sfc scan again.

Solution 10 – Remove corrupted files

Sometimes, File Explorer is slow if you have corrupted files in the folder you’re trying to access. Users report they’ve managed to solve the issue by deleting the corrupted file from the folder. If you have the same problem, wait for the folder to open and then find and remove the corrupted file. After doing that, File Explorer should start working again.

Solution 11 – Use Event Viewer to fix the problem

Event Viewer is a powerful application that can help you troubleshoot many problems on Windows 10. If File Explorer is slow on your Windows 10 PC, you might be able to fix it by following these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter event. Choose Event Viewer from the list of results.
  2. In the left pane, navigate to Windows Logs > Application.
  3. In the right pane, click Clear Log option.
  4. Open File Explorer and wait for the problem to appear again. Sometimes it might take a few minutes for the problem to appear, so be patient.
  5. After the problem appears, go to the Event Viewer and click on Windows Logs > Application again.
  6. Now check the available errors from the list. Navigate to the Details or General tab on the bottom to see which file caused the error.

According to some users, DTShellHlp.exe was the cause for this problem on their PC and is related to Deamon Tools. After removing Deamon Tools, the issue with slow File Explorer was resolved completely. A few users reported that they were unable to remove Deamon Tools from their PC, but they solved the issue by removing Deamon Tools entries from the registry.

We have to mention that almost any file can cause this problem to appear, so you might have to do a bit of research before you find the cause of the problem.

Solution 12 – Use netsh winsock reset command

According to users, you can fix this problem by using the netsh command in Command Prompt. To run that command, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + X and choose Command Prompt (Admin) from the menu.
  2. When Command Prompt opens, enter netsh winsock reset and run the command.
  3. After the command is executed, close Command Prompt and restart your PC.

After your PC starts again, check if the problem with File Explorer is resolved.

Solution 13 – Disable the TDM service

Users report that File Explorer can become slow due to the TDM service. According to users, Dell computers come with Trusted Drive Manager feature that allows you to encrypt your drive.

However, this service can cause File Explorer to become slow. Therefore we advise you to disable it. To do that, simply open the Services window, locate TDM Service and set its Startup type to Disabled. In addition, be sure to stop the service as well.

After you disable the service and restart your PC, the problem will be completely resolved. Few users reported that Wave Authentication Manager and Intel Rapid Storage Technology service can also cause a problem, so be sure to disable them as well.

We have to mention that this solution only applies to Dell computers that have the TDM feature. If you have the TDM feature on your PC, be sure to disable it and check if that solves the problem.

Solution 14 – Restart File Explorer

If File Explorer is running slow on your Windows 10 PC, you might be able to temporarily fix the problem with this solution. To restart File Explorer, do the following:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc on your keyboard to start Task Manager.
  2. Once Task Manager starts, locate Windows Explorer and right click it. Choose Restart from the menu.

Alternatively, you can simply end Windows Explorer processes and start it again from Task Manager. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Locate Windows Explorer in the list of processes. Right-click it and choose End task from the menu.
  2. Now click the File menu in the Task Manager and choose Run new task.
  3. Enter explorer and click the OK button. File Explorer will now start again.

Keep in mind that this is just a temporary workaround, so you’ll have to repeat this solution every time File Explorer becomes slow.

Solution 15 – Check the Indexing Options

According to users, File Explorer can become slow due to Indexing options. If you added large folders with many subfolders and files to the index, you might want to remove them in order to fix this problem. This is relatively simple:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter indexing options. Select Indexing Options from the menu.
  2. List of all indexed folders will appear. To remove a certain folder, click the Modify button.
  3. Now uncheck the problematic folder and click OK to save changes.

After removing large folders from the index, the problem should be completely resolved.

Solution 16 – Check your LAN settings

A few users claim they fixed the issue simply by disabling one option in LAN Settings. To do that on Windows 10, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter internet options. Choose Internet Options from the menu.
  2. When Internet Properties window opens, go to Connections tab and click on LAN settings.
  3. In Automatic configuration section disable Automatically detect settings option. Click OK to save changes.

After making the changes the problem with File Explorer should be resolved.

Solution 17 – Disconnect and reconnect external storage

According to users, external storage can cause File Explorer to become slow. To temporarily fix this problem, try disconnecting and reconnecting your external hard drive or storage.

A few users reported that reconnecting their external hard drive fixed the problem for them, so be sure to try this solution. We have to mention that this is just a workaround, and we assume that the issue will appear again.

Solution 18 – Enable Launch folder windows in a separate process option

If File Explorer is slow on your PC, you might be able to fix it by changing the File Explorer options. To do that, simply open File Explorer Options and navigate to the View tab. In the Advanced settings section check the Launch folder windows in a separate process option. Click Apply and OK to save changes.

After enabling this option the problem with File Explorer should be completely resolved.

Solution 19 – Disable Indexing for your drives

File Explorer can sometimes become slow due to the Indexing feature. However, you can fix this problem by disabling Indexing for your drives. This is relatively simple, and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Open This PC.
  2. Locate the drive that you want to disable indexing for and right click it. Choose Properties from the menu.
  3. Navigate to the General tab and unchecked Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed in addition to file properties. Click Apply button.
  4. A confirmation menu will appear. Select Apply changes to the drive, subfolders, and files. Click OK.

Keep in mind that you might have to repeat this process for all larger drives on your PC.

Solution 20 – Create a new user account

Sometimes File Explorer can be slow if you have issues with your user account. If that’s the case, you can circumvent the issue simply by creating a new user account. To do that, you need to follow these simple steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Go to Accounts > Family & other people.
  3. In the Other people section, click the Add someone else to this PC button.
  4. Click on I don’t have this person’s sign-in information.
  5. Now click on Add a user without a Microsoft account.
  6. Enter a username and password for the new account and click Next.

After creating a new user account, switch to it and check if the issue is resolved. If the problem doesn’t appear on the new account, move all your files to it and use it as your main account. This isn’t the best solution, but it’s a solid workaround.

Fix – File Explorer slow green bar Windows 10

Solution 1 – Disable Windows Search service

Windows 10 uses all sorts of services in order to run, but sometimes certain services can cause problems. If File Explorer is slow on your PC, that might be due to the Windows Search service. To fix this problem, users suggest disabling Windows Search completely:

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter services.msc. Press Enter or click OK.
  2. When Services window opens, locate Windows Search and double click it.
  3. Once the Properties window opens, set Startup type to Disabled. If the service is running, click the Stop button to stop it.
  4. Now click Apply and OK to save changes.

After disabling Windows Search the issue should be completely resolved.

Solution 2 – Start a new instance of File Explorer

If File Explorer is slow on your PC, you might be able to fix it by using this workaround. Many users reported that they only see a green bar when they run File Explorer. If you have the same problem, you can fix it by starting another instance of File Explorer. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Start File Explorer by clicking its icon in the Taskbar. Minimize File Explorer window or just ignore it.
  2. Navigate to the File Explorer Taskbar icon and right click it. Choose File Explorer from the menu.
  3. Now you’ll have two File Explorer windows open. The first File Explorer window will be sluggish while the newly opened one will work without issues. Close the sluggish window and continue using the new one.

This isn’t the most efficient solution but it’s a solid workaround that might be useful until you find the permanent solution.

Solution 3 – Remove files from Database folder

If File Explorer is slow and you’re getting a green loading bar, you might be able to fix it by removing files from the Database folder. Users reported that their thumbnails are missing as well, and to fix this issue you need to do the following:

  1. Go to C:UsersYourUsernameAppDataLocalTileDataLayerDatabase folder.
  2. Now delete all files from the Database folder.
  3. After doing that, you need to rebuild your index. We already explained how to do that in one of our previous solutions, so be sure to check it out.

After removing the files and rebuilding the index, the problem should be completely resolved.

Fix – File Explorer slow, working on it

Solution 1 – Use Windows Memory Diagnostic tool

Few users reported they managed to fix the problem with slow File Explorer simply by running Windows Memory Diagnostic tool. To do that, simply follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter memory. Select Windows Memory Diagnostic from the list of results.
  2. Windows Memory Diagnostic window will now appear. Click Restart now and check for problems (recommended) option. Your PC will now restart and test your memory. After the testing process is completed, start File Explorer and check if the issue is resolved.

Solution 2 – Disable show status bar option

Several users reported that File Explorer gives them Working on it message. To fix this problem, you need to disable one option from File Explorer Options. Simply open File Explorer Options and go to the View tab. Now locate Show status bar option and disable it. Click Apply and OK to save changes. After you’re done, restart your PC and check if the problem is fixed.

Solution 3 – Install the latest Windows updates

If File Explorer is slow and you’re getting Working on it message, you might be able to fix this problem by installing the latest Windows Updates. Microsoft frequently releases new updates in order to fix hardware and software issues with Windows 10. Several users reported this issue was fixed by installing the latest updates. Windows 10 usually installs updates automatically, but you can also download updates manually. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Navigate to the Update & security section and click on Check for updates button. If any updates are available, Windows will download and install them automatically.

After the latest updates are installed, check if the problem still persists.

Solution 4 – Uninstall DropBox

DropBox is a popular cloud storage service, but according to users this application can cause the File Explorer to become slow. If you’re getting a Working on it message while using File Explorer, you might want to try uninstalling DropBox. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to System section and choose Apps & features.
  3. List of all installed applications will appear. Select DropBox from the list and click Uninstall.

We recommend using a dedicated removal tool to quickly and safely uninstall apps and software. Trial versions are available for the most popular uninstaller applications: Revo UninstallerIOBit Uninstaller, and Ashampoo Uninstaller, so feel free to try any of them.

After removing DropBox, check if the problem is resolved. If so, download and install the latest version of DropBox. Alternatively, you can download and try DropBox Universal app from the Windows Store.

Solution 5 – Disable the NVIDIA Control Panel option from the context menu

NVIDIA Control Panel is software that allows you to optimize your graphics card. While it’s a rather useful application, according to some users it can make File Explorer slow. In addition, this application can also cause Working on it messages to appear in File Explorer.

To fix this problem, some users suggest disabling the NVIDIA Control Panel from your context menu. To do so, you’ll need a context menu tuner such as ShellExViewer. You can also disable this option right from theNVIDIA Control Panel by following these steps:

  1. Open NVIDIA Control Panel.
  2. When the application opens, go to the Desktop menu and disable all available options.

Fix – File Explorer slow to load Windows 10

Solution 1 – Unpin File Explorer from the Taskbar

If File Explorer is slow to load on your PC, you might want to try this simple workaround. According to users, you can temporarily fix this problem by unpinning the File Explorer from the Taskbar. To do that, simply locate File Explorer icon in the Taskbar, right-click it and choose Unpin from Taskbar. After that, simply pin File Explorer back to Taskbar and the problem should be completely resolved.

Solution 2 – Change the properties of File Explorer shortcut

Users reported that File Explorer is slow to load if you start it from Taskbar. It seems that this issue is caused by the application’s file path, but you can easily fix that by doing the following:

  1. Navigate to the C:UsersUSERNAMEAppDataRoamingMicrosoftInternet ExplorerQuick LaunchUser PinnedTaskBar directory.
  2. Now locate File Explorer shortcut, right click it and choose Properties from the menu.
  3. Locate the Target field and change it to C:Windowsexplorer.exe. Click Apply and OK to save changes.

After changing the Target path you should be able to start File Explorer without any issues right from your Taskbar.

Solution 3 – Uninstall problematic applications

Sometimes, certain applications can cause File Explorer to slow. Users reported that Mozy Home Backup was the cause for this issue on their PC. If you have this application installed, we advise you to remove it and check if that solves the problem. Keep in mind that almost any application can interfere with File Explorer, so you might have to do a bit of research before you find the problematic app.

Solution 4 – End NVIDIA processes

A few users reported that NVIDIA Geforce Experience can cause this problem. To check if NVIDIA applications are causing this issue, you need to start Task Manager to locate NVIDIA processes and end them. If that solves the problem, you might want to prevent NVIDIA applications from running automatically on your PC.

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