Vista - Windows Explorer Freezes/Slows after 20 Minutes

I have found that after about 20 minutes of use after a reboot/login windows explorer in Vista Ultimate Retail edition begins to freeze. Double clicking the "folder formally known as 'My Documents' " it can take up to ten seconds to display the files, with a (Not Responding) on the title bar.

My system has a Windows Experience Score of 5.8, which is really pretty high. I have done a few hours of research on this issue and have come up with only two forum posts on other boards, and a single technical paper that may or may not be related (found here).

I have tried disabling Windows Defender, and also making sure that Windows Indexing has completed. All with no effect on this issue. Also disabling Windows Index doesn't seem to help.

When the problem occurs, it typically has to do with any directory in the %userprofile% tree. I'm wondering if anyone else seen this issue. Feedback is really appreciated, this problem is VERY ANNOYING
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  1. an odd problem i found working on a friends pc with a virtual pc program. it ended up being the bios date that caused the... rearm crack to not work lol. (this is a retail version im posting from, he wanted to test it so i let him barrow it). so either make sure your bios date is correct, or um... dont use the rearm crack? have you tryed setting the ui to old fashioned windows 95 look?
  2. This is a fully activated retail release of Vista Ultimate. So I'm not sure what it could be. Just to be sure I double checked the bios date, and nope, it's correct. I appreciate your response however; as I know that this problem is not mine alone. I have found three others who are experiencing the same issue. Click my Windows Experience Score link in my post above for a rundown of my system.

    This problem happens 100% of the time, so I can repeat the issue all day long. Things work great for the first 20 minutes, but after that any manipulation of the %userprofile% tree causes a serious delay.
  3. system specs? ive heard of people having problems with ide cables but i doubt that very much...
  4. Check your system processes. I found that the indexing feature working in the background is one main reason for the slowdowns in Explorer. Another is when it is timed for a defrag (which may kick off in a background process without you knowing), if you have a program actively using the network (like peer-to-peer or any type of communications running in a background process/service), a program (like antivirus apps) that makes multiple calls to the OS for special access or if there are graphic intensive windows minimized. Also, see if you have a screensaver that will launch around that time - it may cause a freeze while the screensaver app begins opening processes to run. Make sure your power savings are off as well. In every experience I have had so far with this problem, Explorer will begin working again after what seems a long delay/freeze if you give it enough time. It just has problems with programs that are trying to get exclusive/elevated run-time. In your particular case, when you use the files in that part of the directory structure, you are causing it to recheck access intensively which is slower when it first comes out of its background processes.
  5. pkellemy,

    All great suggestions. I have check the indexing process (even disabled it), no go. There are NO active CPU cycles being taken during the non-responsive time by any one particular program (99% idle), and I am sure that the system is not in the middle of a defrag.

    All of these things I have done, and still the problem persists. It's VERY strange, as it happens approximately 20 minutes after being logged in, and before that time response is VERY quick, but after very slow. Other strange thing is it seems to only effect the USER folder (%userprofle%), which unfortunately is where vista keeps most everything for routine computer use.

    For specs of the system, click the link in my first post (Windows Experience Score)

    Things I have checked:
    Anti-Virus Programs Not Running
    Windows Indexing Finished/Disabled
    Windows Defender Service Disabled
    Not in a defrag
    Power savings set at full use (no savings)
    All current hot-fixes installed
    Screensavers disabled
    No single process is using the CPU during hang time (99% idle)
    No crazy memory usage during hang
    Tried recreating the 'documents' shortcut using an explicit path instead of using the default icon on desktop (same results)
    FRESH install of Vista Ultimate Retail (fully activated). No other programs are loaded.
    System performance index of 5.8 (high), and no other stability issues with the OS.
    The system is part of a Windows 2003 Server domain (just FYI)

    It appears as though this is a newly confirmed BUG of vista. I have provided three links below that detail the issue. I can't believe that Microsoft never found this bug, this is a HUGE bug that creates big uesability issues.

    I will start posting my researched links here for others as well:

    Vista Slowing Down Over Time
    Case of slowed Windows Vista file open dialog boxes
    Vista Explorer Bug Confirmed

    Mark Russinovich's technical blog: I thought my investigation was complete, but when I later tried to reproduce the delays I failed. I retraced my footsteps and found that LsapGetUserNameForLogonSession caches the display name for 30 minutes. Further, an account’s display name is cached with cached credentials so you won’t experience the delays for the first 30 minutes after logging in or disconnecting from the corporate network. I confirmed that by waiting 30 minutes and reproducing the hangs.

    My investigation had come to a close. I had determined that Windows Vista’s File Open dialog tries to look up a user’s display name for the “bread crumb” bar when showing the documents folder and in the process tries to locate a domain controller by sending a Lan Manager datagram via the Bowser.sys device driver. I also knew that there’s no workaround for the delayed dialogs and that anyone that has a domain joined system that’s not connected to their domain will experience the same delays - at least until Windows Vista Service Pack 1.
  6. That is very interesting. If I'm active, I never experience the lag after 20 minutes, only when it is idle for 20 minutes or more. I have a data drive (not in the directory tree) that if I click into first before I go to my user profile directory, I do not get the lag. Microsoft (I'm trying to find the Technet article I read) claimed it was an access control issue and never said anything about a bug. If I find the article, I will link to it.
  7. Are you joined to a domain? I'm not and I thought that may be the difference.
  8. Yes, I am joined to a Windows 2003 Server domain. The delay, upon further investigation is actually 30 minutes.

    As best I can tell, it appears that Vista only caches the username & credentials for 30 minutes, after 30 minutes it has to RE-Authenticate EVERY TIME any program refers to a folder specific to that user. The process causes a system hang for about 10 seconds.

    This includes EVERY CALL of Open, Save, or just folder view of your 'my documents' folder. This is an extremely annoying bug. It's SO bad, that I may have to uninstall all copies of VISTA, just because usability of the OS has fallen through the floor b/c of this issue.
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