File Explorer stops responding if you have a large .docx file on a network share in Windows 10

Applies to: Windows 10, version 1709, all editions

Symptoms


Consider the following scenario,

  • You have a large Microsoft Word .docx file that's stored in a network share folder.
  • Word is running in the background.
  • You open a new File Explorer window.
  • You set Windows to display recent folders in Quick access.
     

In this scenario, File Explorer stops responding for some time, and then recovers. The duration of inactivity depends on the size of the .docx file, the content of the "recent files" list, and network latency.

Cause


This issue occurs because File Explorer invokes the Microsoft Office Shell Extension to query for detailed information about the files that are in the "recent files" list. However, depending on network latency, Windows may receive requests to renew the content in the Quick access area while the Office Shell Extension is still querying the file contents. This causes File Explorer to restart the query.

This extended activity can cause the File Explorer window to appear to freeze. This is expecially true if the operation is prolonged by repeated queries of large files that are posted on the network.

Resolution


To fix this issue, upgrade to Windows 10, version 1809.

Workaround


To work around this issue, use one of the following methods.

Change File Explorer to open to "This PC"

  1. In the Explorer window, go to View > Options.

    View menu

  2. Change the Open File Explorer to selection to This PC.

    Folder option

This setting can also be changed by modifying the following registry key:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced]"launchTo"=dword:00000001


Hide recent files and folders in "Quick access"

Folder options

This setting can also be changed by modifying the following registry key:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER \SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer]"ShowRecent"=dword:00000000