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Troubleshooting "My Computer" Opening Slowly on Windows XP

If “My Computer” takes a really long time to open on your computer, you are most likely experiencing a well-known issue where Windows hangs while trying to search for network folders and printers before displaying anything to you.

This problem is easily solved, and most of you are probably familiar with the fix already, but we’ll go through it anyway.

Open up Folder Options from the Tools menu in Windows Explorer:

winexpoptions.png

Then choose the View tab:

image

Uncheck the box for “Automatically search for network folders and printers”, and close the dialog.

The changes should be immediate, and your problem should be gone.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 10/30/07

Comments (108)

  1. Guris

    Great one! But what about this option in Vista? I wasn’t able to find it :(

  2. anna gastaldi

    Another great tip! Thank you very much, I’m a big fan of your how-to!

  3. Beta3

    Great tip!! Disabling virtual drives when not needed and removing CD/DVDs and other removable medias when not needed also speeds it up from my observation…

  4. Jared

    I’m with Guris… I have this problem, but only when I’m connected to my network at work.

  5. marty

    What is the registry entry for this?

  6. signalhuckster

    One of the best tips ever. Saves a lot of time.

  7. Matt (AU)

    I followed this proceedure with no luck! :( Hangs when I click on “my computer” icon from desktop. Others, like s’cut to drives open straight way! Also, folders and drives inside my computer become un-grouped, and
    scattered, not as I leave them!

    This all seems like a setting issue somewhere in windows!?

    Sony vaio, running xp pro sp2,

    PLZ HELP – ANYONE!?

    Cheers,

    Matt.

  8. Matt (AU)

    This little searchlight is really annoying me now! :( :( Read through 20 or so other forums, still no resolution! Off to microsoft – they “should” know something.

    Here’s hopeing!

    Still wanting REAL help from u guy’s here!

    Cheers,

    Matt (AU).

  9. Leion

    Nice tip
    it worked right away :)

  10. HostBarracks.com

    Now if there was only an easy way to get rid of all the pesky startup process – instead of looking and googling them.

  11. Wanna

    Nice trick! Thanks you!

  12. Frank Elsen

    I can not find folder options under tools on my PC

  13. Frank Elsen

    I do not have a folder options under Tools on my PC

  14. The Geek

    You need to open up Windows Explorer, and look at the Menu bar. There should be a tools menu, where you can find the Folder Options.

  15. Scott

    I’m with Frank on this one. You got a screenshot of what we’re supposed to be looking for here? I see the tools menu, but there isn’t a “folder options” anywhere. What if I use Firefox? I don’t see this option in either browser.

  16. The Geek

    Ah, I definitely need to put up a screenshot… will do that shortly.

    By Windows Explorer, I mean that you need to open up My Computer or a folder on your computer. The Tools menu from within that window (which is called Windows Explorer as well) should have the option.

  17. Dougster

    Dude, you saved me from shooting my new NB. Works perfect now. You Da Man! Thanks!!!!!!!

  18. Guris

    Still no tips on setting this option for Vista users? :(

  19. Frank Elsen

    Thank you for the added comment and help.

  20. Scott

    Thanks for the clarification! And thanks for the help!

  21. Marc (AUS)

    Hey hey. Found this on another site, haven’t had a chance to see if it works yet but makes sense. I recently installed drivers for a web-cam and then found my computer opening slowly intermittently.

    Try disabling the ‘windows image acquisition’ service in Control Panel->Administrative tools–>Services.

  22. Tony

    Marc, thank you. Been trying all day tofind a fix, registry clean, spyware,defrag etc., etc., nothing worked. Until your idea fixed the problem straight away. Cheers, mate.

  23. Mike

    Hey Marc….I tried the above fix and it didnt help, but your ‘windows image acquisition’ fix did the trick. Wondering if it will affect the way I upload pics from my digital camera?
    Thanks!

  24. Ann

    Folder Options is not an option in my Tools menu. Where is it?

  25. Ripe

    I had same slowness problem. Neither unchecking the ‘automatically search for networking….’ and disabling the ‘windows image acquisition’ service worked — until the computer was restarted. So I don’t know which one did the trick. But the main point is, of course, that in the end it worked!

  26. LaLa Dada

    I disabled WIA and it worked…however, I can’t restart it now that I want to use my digital camera! It says “starting” and never starts. I have a good cable, I have Windows XP SP2, I have reinstalled the CD software, and everything else I can think of or read about. Anyone know what to do when WIA won’t restart?
    Thanks

  27. NANA

    I was also having a problem locating the tools option on windows Vista and its under organize.

  28. ash

    when i open my computer and when i try to open any of the drives they open in separate windows and also when i press on back button from any of the drives another my computer windows window opens i checked the settings under folder options under tools it is in open in separate windows settings only , i also virus scanned my system they were no viruses detected please anyone help me out with this one

  29. bruce

    I have been dealing with the “search light” issue for months. It takes from 30 seconds to 1 minute to stop searching and find “my computer”. I tried your suggestion with no change at all. Any other suggestions?
    Thanks for any help you may be able to give.

  30. Babu

    U rock

  31. ariff78

    Aw man :(.I uncheck my auto network folder but it still does no work.Anyone got other tips to make a pc run faster?

  32. Rodney

    For those who do not see folder options go to the control panel.

  33. manish

    i have pantium4 pc with 2.0 ghz processor,256mb ram,40gb hard disk and window xp is installed on my computer.i have no antivirus installed on my computer.my pc takes lots of time to open and shutdown.please suggest me some triks to fast my pc

  34. Brian Abrahams

    Thank you. This has been annoying me for a long time & the fix worked.

  35. jo

    take any discs out of your optical drives

  36. Adel

    I use explorer 7.0, and i do not have this meny you mentioned.
    Can anyone know how to do that in explorer 7.0 ?
    thank you in advance

  37. osh

    Neither of these fixes worked, and it is driving me nuts, mine can take anything up to 5 mins to open. i have tried everything, and it’s not the PC as i have quite a high spec machine. please please please help… Thanks x x

  38. Buggrit

    I have had this problem several times on dirrefent pc’s and most times the 2 top fixes work. if you have deamon tools or achohol 120% installed, try uninstalling them and deleting c:\windows\system32\drivers\sptd*.sys. sometimes they get corrupt and then hang. if if works just download the new daemon and install it. same engine as alchohol. the other issue i had was my antivirus program (avast). it loads itself as an ide driver so it scans every time you open my computer. no problem there (my current bitdefender does the same), but the pc ground to a crawl for some reason. you can look on google on how to show hidden devices in device manager and under non plug and plug devices you might see a driver there with a ! on it. that might be your problem. otherwise reinstall and see if it goes away. If you have a dual core or quad core pc, then install service pack 3. fixed 1 pc with it so far. major performace difference

  39. Jhay

    It helps a lot!!! Thanks mate!!!!!!

  40. Jeff

    Unchecking “Automatically search for network folders and printers” did NOT work for me, however, disabling “windows image acquisition” did the trick!!!!

    Thanks for the tips…. this has been driving me crazy for the last six hours, but now it works!!!!

  41. solano

    I have Windows XP SP2, which I re-installed due to malicious softwares …..any other way to get rid of this problem ?

  42. Patak

    In my control panel appearance and themes,I used to have an icon of folder options.help me retrieve it please.Anyone who can help please.

  43. Buggrit

    To make it easier for people to see your problem, rather start a new thread as your problem is not related to the problem discussed on this page.

    For the specific problem you ask about see if you can open regedit and see if the registry key below exists and if it does change the value to zero. —

    User Key:
    [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\
    Explorer]
    System Key:
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\
    Explorer]
    Value Name: NoFolderOptions
    Data Type: REG_DWORD (DWORD Value)
    Value Data: (0 = show options, 1 = hide options)

    First and foremost, DUE A VIRUS SCAN. Bitdefender or NOD32 or Mcafee for me have fixed this problem the most successfully.
    Most often brontok, vb.trojan and perlovga disable this option. There is a good chance that registry editing has also been disabled. If it has, google for a tool called RegMagik. This will allow you to change the policies.

    Hope this helps

  44. The Geek

    @Everyone

    Please, Please, Please leave questions on the forum, where your threads will actually be seen and responded to.

    http://www.howtogeek.com/forum/

    (Thanks Buggrit for trying to help out)

  45. warmheart

    Your fix worked! Thanks :)

    Days later the freeze came back :(

    Trying antivirus.

  46. jon

    wow thanks that helped alot. i couldnt even open my drives, but now i can!

  47. Ashu

    Hey dude I tried it but its still taking loads of time…
    If u have any other tip plz do help me by mailing it to me…

  48. Adrian Love

    Thank you Matt(AU)!

    I’ve been trying to figure this out for days, turning off the windows image service did the trick.

  49. Jackdo

    Thanks guys. I got the problem for months and finally I could get rid of it. Great job!!!

  50. Thomson@ Cheap computer

    Thanks for the guidelines they sure solved my problems ,will recommend your site to friends.

  51. Merlin

    Marc’s solution fixed my problem (posted 30 Nov 07) – - I had already applied the “Scan Network Folders” fix years ago. I just reinstalled my Canoscan drivers, and the problem reappeared. Killing the Image Acquisition Service restored explorer operation. THANKS MARC!!
    .
    Sometimes it’s the OLD tricks that are needed to fix the problems! WinXP SP3 remains much more stable and usable than Vista – - nice that the Forums still hold the solutions for us “old timers”.

  52. Mushtaq

    I am facing problem while i open my website, for example when i try to open my website abc.com it won’t open but when i type the complete URL like http://www.abc.com then it opens, can anybody suggest me on this.

    Thanks

  53. nitin

    I followed this proceedure with no luck! Hangs when I click on “my computer” icon from desktop. Others, like s’cut to drives open straight way! Also, folders and drives inside my computer become un-grouped, and
    scattered, not as I leave them!

    This all seems like a setting issue somewhere in windows!?

    Sony vaio, running xp pro sp2,

  54. swalker

    Hey I tried what you said about going to tools – folder options and then clicking off automatically search… However, I’m still having problems. If I go to my documents and try to open another drive it takes forever for it to pop up. Please let me know if there is anything else that can be done. Thanks in advance.

  55. Jack Butler

    Thank you this fixed the problem! I was experiencing the issue after installing service pack 3, which must have changed something.

  56. avishek

    My folder options doesn’t appear or seems to be present. Please reply me the reason.

  57. bowler1

    If was having the same issue as above for about the last month and have tried several of the fixes mentioned in this thread, but none of them worked. So, I ran System Restore last night and restored my settings back about a month ago and that did the trick. I recommend that method if your My Computer loading has only recently become a problem.

  58. satya

    Thanks, man u solved my problem actually it was taking a long time before but only due to u my problem is solved so loads of thanks.

  59. Tangmeister

    Hey to all of the users who are wondering where the Folder options dialog box went, look under the View tab.

    Under some earlier versions of Windows, like Windows 98, you’ll find the Folder Options box under the view tab as opposed to Windows XP’s Tools tab.

    Under Vista, press ALT to temporarily display the menu bar.

    Hope this helps.

  60. Scott

    Dell Dimension 4550 Desktop, Windows XP, Office 2007, Pentium 4, 3/4-GB ram,

    When I double-click on My Computor; a window is slow to open, often I see the searching flashlight, and usually it just locks up. Sometimes, but after almos a minute, it displays the drives. Clicking on the X to close usually results in a “Not Responding” pop-up.
    I have scanned the PC using CA (antivirus and anti-spyware), Windows-Defender (antivirus and anti-spyware), and Malwarbytes(Anti-Malware).

    How do I toubleshoot this and fix it? Is it a registry problem? If so; how do I check the registry?

    Any Help Appreciated;

  61. Jet

    I SEEM to have the same problem Scott has. I click on My Computer and it takes it a long time to load. Sometimes I get the flashlight symbol, sometimes not. Eventually the drives appear but if I click on one, it rarely works. If I try to close it with the X or File, Exit, I get the “Not Responding” pop-up. My screen flashes, all the desktop icons disappear, the system tray appears to be reloading everything and the only image is my background. The icons start regenerating and it “appears” to be rebooting itself although it clearly is not. At least not as in a cold boot anyway.

    Another thing I’ve noticed about mine is that in the bottom left “Details” pane, the words My Computer have the bottom cut off. That is, the bottom of the “y” and the “p” is cut off and there is a line right up against the bottom of the letters. The words “System Folder” are not even visible. If I minimize the window and then bring it back up, whatever was in the background at the time is now in the area where the drive information should be appearing. It is as if the memory used for the graphics display is not being refreshed to reflect the fact the My Computer window should now be on top. Like Scott, I have used antivirus software to check things, defragged the hard drive (I’m running FAT 32 on it, not NTFS) and the problem only started happening a couple of months ago. This is a system running XP Home with Service Pack 3 installed and 1 Gig of RAM. I tried disabling the network drive access and the WIA functions but neither fixed the problem. I’m stumped. Like Scott, any help would be appreciated.

  62. jordan cenardo

    hi I cant…the so called folder option in the windows xp………………….what should I do…please help me…….

  63. jordan cenardo

    I CANT FOUND

  64. Jet

    Jordan,

    Look at the very top of this page. He tells you there how to get to it with screen shots of what it should look like. Click “Start” then “My Computer” then “Folder Options” then “View.” You will see the box that says “Automatically Search for Network Folders and Printers.” If the box has a check in it, just click it to remove the check and then click OK to save your changes. It didn’t fix my problems but it might fix yours.

    Jet

  65. kmal

    tank you so much.It realy work

  66. Adnan

    Thanks Marc (AUS).

  67. sandeep

    Thank You so much
    it helped a lot and it works really
    very useful tip

  68. Rosa

    Thank you for your great help!!!!!

  69. dust

    Kudos to “Buggrit” helped me solve my problem! For me, it was avast… I recently downloaded AVG to use as well and apparently stopping avast’s on access protection does not completely stop it (had to do it though services.msc).

  70. sidhu

    really thanks for solve my prob..

  71. Ramesh

    Hi,
    There is no “Folder Option” comment from Tools menu in My Computer. The Only three comments shows 1.Map Network Drive
    2. Disconnect network Drive…
    3. Synchronize.

    Kindly advice how to enable the folder option in tools menu.

    Regards,
    S.Ramesh

  72. Jordan

    Thanks.
    I have been having problems with that for ages!

  73. P.H.Gururaja

    My computor is opening slowly even after ticking off the network folder and printers. Any one help please.

  74. donald

    have 4550 pc turn on but monitor is blank back of pc shows 2green & 2yellow light help

  75. BMW

    That was a cool one dude … I was searching for this for some time and landed here which solved the issue .. Gr8 :-)

  76. Kobi

    I tries all the tips above and none of them helped me!!! but when I went physically to this remote machine I saw that there define a floppy disk but its not exist. I remove it via the Device Manger and Walla… its opened fast.
    Thanks for All.
    Kobi H.

  77. bhavin vyasa

    hey when i do double click on MY COMPUTER it will open but after that time it is just searching about drives. never opend it so pls help me regarding this problem.

  78. P.H.Gururaja

    Hi its my experience, If your “my computor” is opening slowly after clicking, try this:
    If you have Avast5 antivirus, just update the program version and check it out. It got resolved in my system by doing this.

  79. C.Palma

    rename the profile to cplama_old. This will re-create a new profile when they log-in the next time. This did the trick for me. I was able to move all the IE favorites and desktop shortcuts from their old profile.

  80. David

    WOW, this worked for me. The “disable Windows Image Acquisition” option solved my problem. This was causing me a problem for most of a year. My PC tech had given up and we were preparing to reload Windows. What a massive problem for me that was solved so simply–THANKS A BUNCH, FOLKS!

  81. Dave

    I had a network drive configured. Whenever the drive was down or I was somewhere else it would hang.
    All I had to do was unmap the network drive. It is on the same menue as the folder options.

  82. aztony

    The first suggestion didn’t help but the disable Windows Image Acquisition did the trick. Since this was suppose to acquire images for your printer or scanner, how will it effect them now that I turned it off? Thanks for the site and the suggestion.

    I also gave Dave’s suggestion a try but now it’s back to taking forever to load the My Computer items.

  83. aztony

    Update: I remapped the drive and had to go back and turn off WIA, some reason it turned itself back on. Now My Computer opens up quick as a lick.

  84. Mika

    Thank you very much…this worked immediately! I was tired of that little flashlight searching everytime I clicked on the control panel. Thank you!

  85. VanCan

    When i restarted after yours and macs changes, it actually fix slowness.

    Thanks Guys

  86. Sachtech

    Great Tweak …..
    Worked Like a Charm….
    Thanx a Lot

  87. anthony

    Thx a lot
    i have 512mb of RAM but it appear 480mb in the properties of MY COMPUTER
    why?????plz send a msg to my email or here
    THX…..

  88. Unu Goa

    Thanks Marc!!!!!!

  89. YoMama

    These fixes are completely useless for the problem that most folks are mentioning here. Don’t waste your time. When you experience the problem with hanging in explorer to the point where it is searching for more than 30 seconds, this is an issue with corrupt files and/or registry.

  90. Dave

    itloads fast now but still the flashlight is there when im opening it :(

  91. rahul

    it is great advice 4me, i’m thanksful 2u

  92. Sanjay

    I removed the mapped network drive, and it solved the problem for me. Just open “My Computer”, select the mapped Network Drives and delete them, It solved problem for me.

    Now whenever I double click “My Computer” icon it doesn’t freezes or Hang up for sometime.

  93. OMG THANX BUGGRIT

    nothing worked…my computer and everything else is slow opening..until i tried buggrits registry thing :O TY SOO MUCH IT WORKED but then it got slow again o_o PLZ HELP

  94. maziar

    your way is realy good

  95. anthony

    thanks Marc!!!! 4 years later your advice still stands up!!!! i use a Macbook pro now but the rest of the fam is still on windows.

  96. MADUBUKING EDWIN

    I HAVE ENCOUNTER THE SAME PROBLEM WITH MY. IF I ON MY SYSTEM IT WILL TAKE TIME TO BOOT. PLEASE HOW CAN I CORRECT THE PROBLEM HERE IS MY NO 08061278382 TO EDUCATE ME ON WHAT TO DO THANKS.

  97. Al

    As Posted above

    “Hey hey. Found this on another site, haven’t had a chance to see if it works yet but makes sense. I recently installed drivers for a web-cam and then found my computer opening slowly intermittently.

    Try disabling the ‘windows image acquisition’ service in Control Panel->Administrative tools–>Services.”

    This will work in bizarre cases – no webcam ever installed here – BUT – a few different smart phones installed. Windoze “saw” one of them as a camera. (likely HTC Android Phone).

    *Poof* Problem fixed.

  98. Lmg

    The instruction at “0x75606e6a” referenced memory at “0×00000008″. The memory could not be read “read.”
    Click on OK to terminate the program

    help what does this mean and how can I fix it? its a Microsoft XP!

  99. ahmed billasharam

    thanks very much

  100. Dawn

    This is the ONLY fix that worked for me, I can instantly open the My Computer folder now!

    Open regedit and see if the registry key below exists and if it does change the value to zero. —

    System Key:
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\
    Explorer] then create the following (if it doesn’t exist)
    Value Name: NoFolderOptions
    Data Type: REG_DWORD (DWORD Value)
    Value Data: (0 = show options, 1 = hide options)

  101. Dawn

    This is the ONLY fix that worked for me, I can instantly open the My Computer folder now!

    Open regedit. —

    System Key:
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\
    Explorer] then create the following (if it doesn’t exist)

    Value Name: NoFolderOptions
    Data Type: REG_DWORD (DWORD Value)
    Value Data: (0 = show options, 1 = hide options)

  102. Dawn

    This is the ONLY fix that worked for me, I can instantly open the My Computer folder now!

    Open regedit. —

    System Key:
    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\
    Explorer] then create the following (if it doesn’t exist)

    Value Name: NoFolderOptions
    Data Type: REG_DWORD (DWORD Value)
    Value Data: (0)

  103. shan

    Really Excellent, Super, Fantastic, Marvelous hats off to uuuuuuuuuuuuuu…………..

  104. rogie

    thanks for the information it help my desktop to resolve my problem keep up the good work

  105. Anri

    good day,

    You guys featured a product that enables you to fully uninstall a program and deletes all unseen data left behind. could you please help me with the name of this application. Kind regards, Anri de Beer

  106. Mike

    This fixed the delay my computer page with a search light scanning for a minute or two. I was warned Not to do this in Run/MSCONFIG
    Open:
    Control Panel
    Administrative/Administrator tools
    Services

    All the services will come up.
    Scroll down to the bottom where you will find WIA (Windows Image Acquisitions
    Right click where it probably says ” Automatic”.This is the source of the issue.
    Your choice will be to alter to “Manual”.
    This worked immediately for me. I checked by plugging in my SONY Camcorder and downloaded a Video clip. Everything worked fine.
    I should have restarted prior to posting so will do that now.
    If I don’t recant this , then it has remained fixed.

  107. Mike

    Sorry to report that after restart – back to the flashlight. But it must have something to do with the Control Panel / Services etc quest as it did work til restart.
    Ready for somebody else to offer a permanent FIX
    Thanks

  108. Kishor

    Hi Guys…

    Try disconnecting the mapped drives.. & then try it worked for me :)

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