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Slow subdirectory expansion in left-hand Win2K Explorer pane

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As a stubborn decade-plus Win2K user I'm starting to consider upgrading to Win 8 (or possibly Win 7: I'm not a fan of the 'improved' UI in Win 8) in order better to future-proof my Windows activities for the NEXT decade or so. One of the long-standing annoyances I have with Win2K is contributing to this decision, in part because it's also annoying that I've never been able to fix it.

When expanding a directory in the left-hand Explorer pane in Win2K it processes subdirectories at the rate of around 20 per second, which means that it can take well over a minute just to expand the left-hand pane one level below a target directory when the number of next-level subdirectories reaches, say, 1,500. I'm guessing that Explorer is VISITING each subdirectory in the process (one MFT access plus one access to the actual data stream of the subdirectory) and possibly doing even more processing, even though none of this is necessary simply to expand the list in the left-hand Explorer pane (and indeed if rather than expanding the tree in the left-hand pane I simply list the content of the parent directory in the right-hand pane it pops up very quickly)..

A quick check with Win 7 using the same hardware and directory structure demonstrates that it does not share this behavior (the list in the left-hand pane expands in under a second), so either Microsoft made some significant changes in the Explorer code or there's some simple option (which I've never discovered, though I've tried) that can be changed to eliminate Win2K's Explorer lethargy in this regard.

Apologies if this has been covered here already (as I would expect it to have been): I did perform a forum search with variations on 'expand directory' without success but obviously could have still missed it. I also struck out with more general Googling (most of the hits involved slowness in creating lists in the right-hand pane). If anyone knows the answer to this, I'd appreciate it.

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You may want to consider using an Explorer replacement. There are plenty of them from a very basic ones to quite advanced applications. Almost any of them should be better than the original one...

I think that Directory Opus is the best but it's also very expensive (and the newest version doesn't work in Win2k). There are free alternatives such as CubicExplorer, ExplorerXP and many others.

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Thanks for the thought, but I've tried several over the years and found that not being able to use Explorer itself was a minor annoyance (aside from a few quirks exhibited by the potential replacements).

This seems like such a basic flaw that there MUST be a simple work-around which I just haven't yet found - at worst, some Registry modification that would prevent it from doing what it so clearly doesn't need to. I don't remember checking to see whether XP exhibited the same flaw; if not, that would be an option, though if I'm going to leave Win2K - in whole or at least in part - it might make more sense to make a bigger jump to something with longer-term support.

But if no one here knows of a solution there may well not be one (haven't tried the Russinovich blog yet, if it still exists, but his interest in answering Win2K questions may be limited by now).

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