Source of Slowness – an Investigation

Over the past few weeks, I’ve run into a nasty slowness issue on my laptop. Now, I don’t have an ancient device, nor do I have a machine loaded down with spyware and other crap. I’m running with an SSD and have my background processes tuned to keep the performance nice and quick. I’m running Windows 8.1 with all of the updates applied, and yet… there is a strange slowness every now and again.

The slowness I found was during the use of explorer resources. Every time I opened the file explorer to look for a file on disk, or clicked an open file dialog in an application, the system would just grind to a halt. I had no idea what was going on with the disk, as Task Manager never reported that I had any disk utilization issues.

I did however notice that the issue didn’t happen while I was connected to my corporate VPN. When I would disconnect the VPN, things would run smoothly and this was the clue that I needed to solve the problem.

In my windows configuration, I had several drives mapped to resources across the corporate network. When I was not connected to the VPN and my machine was unable to find those network locations, explorer windows were trying to connect and show information about those drives no matter the operation I was trying to accomplish.


I disconnected these mapped drives, and now my windows file explorer is running just as fast and snappy as ever. This seems like a simple problem, as the mapped network locations should be able to detect that they are not connected to the corporate network and shouldn’t try to access those resources every time I access an explorer window.

If you’re having this same problem, check your mapped drives. Perhaps you have the same problem that I had.