OP has summarised all his findings completely and concisely in his question post. I see no reason to delete my suggestions, but i recommend you read his post instead of mine if you are for a quick solution to your problem.
You should try two things:
In Explorer, click on “organize” -> “folder and search options” -> “view” -> put a checkmark in “always show icon instead of thumbnails” -> press apply and close.
Now right-click on the culprit folder -> “properties” -> “customize” -> under “optimize this folder for:” open the drop down menu and choose “general items” -> place the checkmark in the box under the drop down menu at “apply to all subfolders” -> press apply and close.
This will apply the new folder view settings to the chosen folder and all the subfolders which are contained within.
I am german and thus have a german version of windows, so maybe some of those options above are translated slightly differently, but you should be able to find them nonetheless.
I think you are on the right track with the metadata. Depending how the videos are encoded, the metadata could be either at the beginning, at the end, or even somewhere in the middle (which is rare, though). I am guessing that those video files were encoded with some unusual properties (you probably produced them yourself?) which makes explorer read in the whole file from beginning to the end to extract the metadata, which obviously takes a while if there are many big files in the folder. I have seen explorer read the full length of a giant exe file to display the embedded icon at the end.
So, i think you have it figured out there, identifying and disabling the columns which need to extract metadata from the view in explorer (together with the disabled thumbnails) should obviate explorer’s need to read in those files, which should solve your problem.
Columns you should probably not use are something like: date taken (as mentioned in one of the links you posted, date taken is very differently from the creation date of the file), length, resolution, location.
Columns you should be safe to use would be attributes which can be read directly from the directory of the filesystem like: file creation date, file modified date, size, file type.
If you indeed need for your sorting some of the attributes which should be disabled, i think that maybe the most practical solution would be to look for an alternative file browser, and check if it handles the situation better. You could then use explorer like you are used to normally, and use the alternative file browser to handle your video folders.
You also have the possibility to perform many basic file-oriented operations from your built-in command line interpreter cmd, it doesn’t care about metadata and can be a simple and efficient tool for copying, moving or deleting files and folders. You could then even automate things by using batch files. This is most probably not the solution you search for, though, since cmd doesn’t even have a graphical user interface.
I just read your second update and i am happy to read that your problem seems resolved (for now, at least). Maybe it really was just a matter of the thumbnail cache getting overcrowded. I could imagine those thumbs.db files getting bigger and bigger, if you move files from folder to folder frequently. I suspect it actually keeps a thumbnail in that cache file for every file which ever was in the folder. Maybe there is some sort of garbage collection mechanism for those files, too, but it failed in your case.
So, if you were moving video files from folder to folder en masse, and always using the same folders for that (eg. not creating new ones) maybe we have found the source of your problem…
If your system shows the same symptoms again in the future, you could just try deleting the thumbnail cache.
For that you need to:
“windowskey + r” -> input “cleanmgr” and press return -> choose the drive where the video files are on (only if you actually have multiple drives/partitions) -> choose “clear thumbnail cache” or something like that -> run cleaner
There are three GPO settings when changed, will probably achieve the behavior that you want globally on the computer.
To get there, launch Group Policy Editor from a command-line.
Navigate to the following node.
User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Explorer
The in-built documentation would be a good start to know what each setting does.
Do take note you need administrative rights to make changes to the GPO settings.
My solution was arrived at indirectly. I noticed that MKV files contained a “date” that couldn’t be changed by normal means so that the file would reflect when I got it, as shown in the file properties. In desperation I changed the column in windows file explorer from just “date” to “date created” and then set the view option to make this the default for all folders. Not only did this fix my sorting problem but the GROD was also cured. Not having to dig very deeply into the tagging structure of every file is obviously the reason for this cure.
This answer is based on observations handling audio files on Windows 10, still it’s worth a try.
I figured that when I named any of the parent folders containing audio files “music”[*], Windows would automatically infer that the folder view in explorer needed to be optimized for “music” and thus would read and display metadata. This happened although I had customized all folders for “General items” (in folder Properties -> Customize tab). Analyzing metadata takes relatively long. I did not want to wait, so I changed the name to “wav” and again customized the folders for “General items”. Voila, access is lightning fast.
Consequently for video files, if you don’t want metadata to be analyzed, my suggestion is:
Avoid the name “video” for any of the folders of your directory hierarchy where your video files reside in.
Otherwise, rename it and apply customization to it (and its subfolders) for “General items”.
[*] Others have found that the name “audio” would trigger this mechanism.
I had exactly the same problem on my Windows 7, 64 bit machine. It started a couple of months back, when opening a folder on an external Western Digital drive the metadata for the files in any folder would take a couple of minutes to display, whereas I remember they used to show almost instantly. Opening a file, then closing it, would cause the entire folder to refresh again, and another two minutes. So I did some investigating (solution follows):
I started the laptop in Safe Mode, and all the slow problems with Windows Explorer were gone.
I restarted the laptop normally and went to Start, then typed msconfig in the run box, and selected the Startup tab. I disabled almost all the startup items (except any microsoft or intel processes). Rebooted – No change
Using msconfig again I re-enabled all the processes I disabled in step 2. Then I went to the Services tab. I clicked on the Status heading to sort all the services into Running or Stopped, and examined all the Running services. I disabled all my anti-virus and anti-malware first (Avast, AdAware, and Spybot). Rebooted – Solved!!
Now when I open a folder all the files with their metadata appear almost instantly. By a process of elimination it was the AdAware program that was causing the slowdown. I uninstalled it, and replace it with Malwarebytes. That does not slow my machine down.
Lesson: Always try Safe Mode first to see if the problem is solved, and if it is then use a process of elimination to see which process or service is causing the slowdown.
This is caused by the Windows Search service. You could just disable the service by setting the Windows Search service to Disabled and manually stopping the service (right-click on the service and select Stop). Microsoft puts the service there to supposedly speed up Windows (yeah OK, whatever).
You can also leave the service running and just disable it for select file types. Once you determine the file types that you want to disable the indexing of (.AVI, .MPEG, .WMV, etc.):
- Open Control Panel
- To select Windows Search, enter “Indexing Options” into the search bar and open
it. Or you can select it by changing the View to either large or small icons
and then opening Indexing Options. Or you can do it using Category View – from
the main Control Panel window, select “System and Security” – “Action Center” –
“View performance information” – “Adjust indexing options”.
- Click on “Advanced” and then select the “File Types” tab
- Unselect (remove the check box) next to the extension(s) of the file type(s)
that you want to disable the indexing for.
Hopefully this helps speed things up for you. Good luck!!