The file permissions set on desktop.ini files can slow down browsing the folder structure. This issue affects Windows clients using mapped drives or UNC connections, this issue was fixed in XP sp2 (Q840309), but from Q326549 re-emerged in Windows 7.
When listing a directory, Windows will search for and parse Desktop.ini files. This will noticably affect performance when a large number of subfolders are involved, it does this for the current folder and one level down the directory tree.
Desktop.ini can be used to provide a custom icon, thumbnail view, and can make normal file folders into 'Special Folders' (eg Fonts, History, Temporary Internet Files, "My Music", "My Pictures", and "My Documents").
Desktop.ini files are only visible in Windows Explorer if you first un-check "Hide protected operating system files" (under Tools, Options, View)
To see the file locks created by this process run the following command on the file server, while a client is (slowly) listing a large directory:
NET FILE | Find "desktop.ini"
A solution to this performance problem is to remove the READ_ONLY attribute from the folder and/or delete the non-essential desktop.ini files.
There are reports that Windows Explorer can run very slowly or stop responding if some of the profile permissions get corrupted.
To fix this logout and login with a different (Administrator level) account and rename this folder:
When you login again the folder will be re-created with the correct permissions.
Placing a shortcut to a network resource in either the Start menu or Desktop (including the recycle bin) can drastically slow down system response, particularly when the network resource is unavailable. Shortcuts to Domains or Machines don’t suffer from these problems as they always have the same icon.
A sensible routine for managing desktop shortcuts can be found here.
An alternative workaround is to create a shortcut to Explorer.exe and pass the UNC name of the resource.
explorer /e, \\Server\FileShare
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