Sorting Files in Explorer (iexplore.exe) by Clicking on Column Takes too Long RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • On my work Vista machine (Dell Optiplex GX745 Intel Core2 Duo - 2.13GHz x2, 2G Mem, 32-bit), it takes minutes to sort files if I click on the column heading (like Name, Date modified, Type, Size) in "File Explorer", (iexplore.exe) when I'm in the "detail" view.

    This only occurs in directores with many files or many files in subdirectories.

    I see similar delays when I highlight directories and select Properties.

    I don't see this behavior in directories with few files or few subdirectories with few files.

    I'm guessing that the O/S is enumerating each file in the directory tree and checking each files size (i.e. not caching those sizes), but quite honestly, when sorting a list of 20 files/folders, it shouldn't appear to be calculating anything, even if there are lots of files in the subdirectories.

    Anyone else notice this kind of delay when just sorting files and folders by clicking on the column headers in Vista (32bit)?

    Is there a view option perhaps to force file size caching or estimation, so that simple tasks like sorting don't take so long?

    Brian Jester
    Brian Jester at Maxim Systems San Diego
    Thursday, March 5, 2009 2:43 AM

All replies


    Hi Brian, it seems to me a normal situation if we try to sort the directory with many files or sub folders.

    Sean Zhu - MSFT
    Monday, March 9, 2009 6:28 AM
  • I have the same issue with my pictures directory. I have my pictures sorted by date taken, because that's the logical way to think about them. Explorer tends to take an inordinate amount of time to sort this directory. I changed my indexing options to index jpg's and jpeg's to index both properties and file contents in hope that it would pick up on date taken, but it appears to have no affect.
    I know the issue is with explorer, and not with how long it takes to pull the file properties off of the disk and sort the remaining list because I can navigate an explorer window to the pictures directory and while it's loading, navigate to the directory in PowerShell and issue the dir command and pipe it into sort and have it sort my date taken. PowerShell will have returned a sorted list before explorer is about half way done.
    Since the file properties are indexed, explorer should be able to easily outrun PowerShell because the index should return the list quicker than going to disk for the file properties and then sorting the file properties.
    I've noticed that it takes explorer a long time to show a directory if the directory has more than about thirty items and you don't want the items to be sorted by name. Right now my pictures directory has about ~700 pictures.
    Tuesday, March 10, 2009 8:03 PM