11 Tips to Speed Up Your Windows File Explorer

Is your Windows File Explorer running slow? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many Windows users have experienced this frustrating issue. The good news is that there are several steps you can take to speed up your File Explorer and improve its performance. In this article, we will explore 11 tips that can help you fix the slow File Explorer problem.

Before You Begin

Before we dive into the tips, let’s go through some simple yet effective steps that can significantly boost your File Explorer’s speed:

  • If you have too many resource-intensive tasks running in the background, such as file/folder copy-pasting or app installations, wait for them to finish before using File Explorer.
  • Organize your files into subfolders to reduce the size of each folder. This can help improve the loading speed of File Explorer.
  • Consider rebooting your computer to clear any background processes that may be affecting the performance of File Explorer.

1. Automatically Manage Paging File Size

Windows uses virtual memory to efficiently manage files’ indexing and storage. To ensure that this feature is enabled, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows + R to open the Run prompt and type SYSDM.CPL.
  2. Select the “Advanced” tab and click on “Settings” under the Performance section.
  3. In the pop-up window, go to the “Advanced” tab and select “Programs” under the “Adjust for best performance” heading.
  4. Click on “Change” under the Virtual Memory section.
  5. Make sure the option “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives” is checked.
  6. Click on “Apply” to save the changes.

2. Restart File Explorer

Sometimes, a simple restart of File Explorer can solve the slow performance issue. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to open the Task Manager.
  2. In the Task Manager, find “Windows Explorer” in the list of processes.
  3. Right-click on “Windows Explorer” and select “Restart”.

3. Optimize the Folder

If you notice that a specific folder is taking too long to load, you can optimize it to improve the performance. Follow these steps:

  1. Right-click on the folder and select “Properties”.
  2. Go to the “Customize” tab and select “General items” from the drop-down menu under the “Optimize this folder for” section.
  3. Check the option “Also apply this template to all subfolders”.
  4. Click on “Apply” and then “OK” to save the changes.

4. Run Indexer Troubleshooter

Sometimes, the indexing of files and folders can become corrupt, resulting in slower load and opening times for File Explorer. You can use the Indexer Troubleshooter tool to fix this issue:

  1. Press Windows + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Select “Privacy & Security” and click on “Searching Windows”.
  3. Scroll down and click on “Indexer Troubleshooter”.

5. Delete Automatic Destinations

Deleting the Automatic Destinations folder can improve the speed and load times of File Explorer. Follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows + R to open the Run prompt and type shell:recentAutomaticDestinations.
  2. A folder will open. Select all the files in this folder (Ctrl + A) and press Delete.
  3. Repeat the same steps for the shell:recentCustomDestinations folder.

6. Check SSD/HDD Health

If your File Explorer is running slow, it’s worth checking the health of your SSD or HDD. Here are a few ways to do that:

  • Open Command Prompt as administrator and enter the command WMIC followed by diskdrive get status.
  • Use tools provided by popular SSD manufacturers like Seagate, Samsung, or Western Digital to perform a deep scan of your drives.

7. Clean File Explorer History

Clearing your File Explorer history can help improve its speed. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Open any folder and click on the three-dot menu icon in the upper-right corner.
  2. Select “Options” from the menu.
  3. Click on the “Clear” button next to “Clear File Explorer history”.
  4. You can also choose to hide recently used files and frequently used folders from the Privacy section.

8. Run Maintenance

Running maintenance tasks can help optimize your system’s performance, including File Explorer. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Press the Windows key and search for “Control Panel”.
  2. Open “System and Security” and click on “Security and Maintenance”.
  3. Click on “Maintenance” and then click on “Start maintenance”.

9. Run SFC and DISM Scans

Running System File Checker (SFC) and Deployment Servicing Image and Management (DISM) scans can help fix any corrupt system or OS files that may be slowing down File Explorer. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Open Command Prompt as administrator and enter the command sfc /scannow.
  2. After the SFC scan is complete, enter the command DISM.exe /image:"c:imagesImage1" /Add-Driver /ForceUnsigned /DriverName:"C:Drivers1.inf" /DriverName:"C:Drivers2.inf" /DriverName:"C:Drivers3.inf".

10. Exclude Massive Folder/Drive From Defender

Windows Defender’s continuous background scans can impact the performance of File Explorer. If you have a large drive or folder, you can exclude it from Windows Defender. Here’s how:

  1. Open Windows Security and click on “Virus & threat protection”.
  2. Click on “Manage settings” under Virus & threat protection settings.
  3. Scroll down and click on “Add or remove exclusions”.
  4. Click on “Add an exclusion” and select “Folder” or “Drive” to exclude it.

11. Turn Off Real-Time Windows Defender Scan

If you don’t require constant real-time scanning, you can disable it to improve File Explorer’s performance:

  1. Open Windows Security and click on “Virus & threat protection”.
  2. Click on “Manage settings” under Virus & threat protection settings.
  3. Disable the “Real-time protection” option.

Explore the World Through the Window
If you’re looking for an alternative to File Explorer, consider using PowerToys, a free and open-source tool developed by Microsoft. PowerToys offers a universal search bar that allows you to search for any file from any app window, bypassing the old and slow File Explorer.

By following these tips, you can significantly improve the speed and performance of your Windows File Explorer. Enjoy a faster and more efficient file browsing experience!