How to make Explorer more responsive in Windows 11

Updated: March 2, 2022

It is funny and tragic that, in 2022, a man should be writing an article explaining how to fix a slowness issue in the file manager of a flagship desktop operating system product, and yet here we are. As it happens, I have a test system that runs Windows 11, and there, Explorer windows take time opening, and then yet more time showing the contents of various drives and folders. A modern machine with an NVMe disk, mind.

No such problem affected Windows 10 prior to the upgrade, affects no other Windows 10 machine that I use, or the Linux distributions installed side by side with Windows 11 on the aforementioned IdeaPad 3 laptop. When I tested the Windows 11 Dev Build last year, I did write a tutorial on how to improve Windows 11 performance. Now, we need to go one step further and make Explorer even snappier. Follow me, nerds.

Problem in more detail

Launch Explorer, either the new ugly incarnation or the older, better looking one. The results won't be stellar, even with the latest set of updates designed to resolve performance issues on AMD Ryzen systems. For me, showing even a tiny folder with just one or two files inside takes about a whole second. It's a slow, annoying process. The lag is visible, noticeable, and always there.

Explorer

Solution 1: Explorer in full screen

Open Explorer. Press F11 to go to the fullscreen mode. You will notice that Explorer is now fast and snappy. It would seem that the Windows 11 address/command bar, which is not visible in the fullscreen mode, seems to be the culprit. Yet another modern nonsense. However, this is only a workaround.

Explorer running in full screen

Solution 2: Disable Explorer command bar

In my screenshot above, you will not see it, but there's a thing called Windows 11 Explorer command bar. It's this ugly thing shown in this ugly screenshot before. I've removed it from showing up on my system by using the classic Explorer, but the actual process that governs it is still active in the background. We need to get rid of it.

Quick Launch

The easiest way is to open Command Prompt as an administrator, and then run a single command that will add a registry key, and disable this pointless thing. Notice the "->" sign below denotes the command overflows onto the next line. So when you want to assemble the command on your system, there should be no characters or space between CLSID\ and {d93ed... in your one-liner.

reg add "HKCU\Software\Classes\CLSID\ ->
-> {d93ed569-3b3e-4bff-8355-3c44f6a52bb5}\InprocServer32" /f /ve

Once the command completes, reboot your system. Now, your Explorer should be fast and snappy!

Conclusion

My generation suggestion is not to use Windows 11 if you don't have to. And then, in a way, tweaks like this help mask problems and perpetuate their inclusion and existence. Then again, people sometimes need to be able to do work, and they want to do it efficiently, and they simply have no choice. Well then, in that case, the tweaks outlined above, plus my original set from the last-year article, ought to give you the necessary performance boost. In a way, this is saying no to all these pointless, so-called modern features.

Well, there you go. Visual effects, power states, and now fullscreen mode plus no new ugly command bar, and you should experience levels of performance similar to Windows 10, which shouldn't have been impaired to begin with. But that tells you everything you need to know about this operating system. I'm done here. Now I will power down the Windows 11 box until my next test, because I have no need or incentive to be using it for anything else than article review masochism in the service of mankind. Mr. Tragic Hero, me.

Cheers.

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