A large zip file on my desktop causing Windows Explorer to consume 100% CPU under Vista

The other day I made a zip file of a large local SVN repository and copied, albeit mistakenly, to my Windows Desktop. Basically, I let the mouse go too soon and the file landed on my Desktop rather than the root of my C: drive. I didn’t really think too much of it at the time and decided it would be fine sitting there since it was to be a short lived thing. Over the next few days I had noticed the fans on my machine cycling up and down and a quick glance at Process Explorer revealed that it was explorer.exe was eating up one CPU.

Having read the title you already know the problem. Basically, I fired up Filemon to find explorer.exe chewing away on that zip file. I’m not exactly sure what it was doing but I deleted the file and explorer settled back down. The zip had been on my desktop for several days and the machine is on 24/7 (it also runs a VPC for a SVN build status machine) so I’m not quite sure why explorer never finished whatever it was trying to do but anyway, problem solved.

9 thoughts on “A large zip file on my desktop causing Windows Explorer to consume 100% CPU under Vista

  1. I had a similar problem. Had a 1 GB zip file on another computer. Whenever I browsed to this folder over the network Explorer was busy for minutes. I think the Vista Explorer opens all zip files it encounters to see what’s inside.
    My only annoying problem in Vista is that the Explorer sometimes takes a minute to open a folder. I think this has to do with .zip files, but I’m not sure. Anyway, it’s a bit weird that the operating system has problems with such a basic task. Sometimes it’s faster to reboot in XP, use the explorer and reboot in Vista again 🙂

  2. I’m glad I didn’t downgrade to Vista! 🙂 The more I read about Vista, the more and more I’ll keep running XP/2003!
    Weird that Microsoft is so willingly shooting themselves on the foot with so many flaws still present on a OS that was delayed and delayed and delayed… And with nothing really useful to add to XP! Only some eye-candy, a poor implementation of UAC (it’s so intrusive as it is that I doubt most people will read what it says after a while and simply click OK or even disable it, thus completely voiding it’s purpose), and a huge disk footprint… And all that just to make your computer run slower and perform much worse than XP performs on older computers!…
    Their (MSFT) luck is that they own the monopoly of OSes and Linux is just not quite *there* yet…

  3. AFAIK Explorer will try to build a list of the files within to display it, or something alike. Strange behaviour may occur in previous OSes too, with archives or large images/videos, if Explorer is set to display some sort of preview. Probably they coded it with the average file in mind, and never tested what happens with some "large".

  4. Remove zip suport from explorer, I don’t knows who do it on Vista, but
    you can google for it 🙂
    I have many problems with it also, explorer attempts to show files and hangs.
    Good luck,
    Carlos

  5. If a folder takes a long time to open (and you see the little search icon on it) you can select it’s parent folder in the tree, then double-click the folder you wish to enter in the details pane, the folder should open instantly.
    This annoyed me a bit in the beginning, eventhough it only happened once a week or so, now I just do the above without thinking. However, removing zip support from the explorer is a good idea, will have to look into it. It’s a tragedy that the microsoft .zip support is so slow.

  6. *
    I’m glad I didn’t downgrade to Vista! 🙂 The more I read about Vista, the more and more I’ll keep running XP/2003!
    Weird that Microsoft is so willingly shooting themselves on the foot with so many flaws still present on a OS that was delayed and delayed and delayed… And with nothing really useful to add to XP! Only some eye-candy, a poor implementation of UAC (it’s so intrusive as it is that I doubt most people will read what it says after a while and simply click OK or even disable it, thus completely voiding it’s purpose), and a huge disk footprint… And all that just to make your computer run slower and perform much worse than XP performs on older computers!…
    Their (MSFT) luck is that they own the monopoly of OSes and Linux is just not quite *there* yet…

    yawn… oh… another person who has NEVER ACTUALLY USED VISTA… but apparently knows how much it sucks….
    1) you can easily turn off indexing in Vista is you desire.
    2) you can easily turn off UAC in Vista is you desire.
    3) Vista is NOT MEANT FOR OLDER COMPUTERS. Just as XP was never designed to be run on the 386 chip.
    I don’t trust anyone who simply regurgitates the typical rantings of a linux fanboy….

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