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XP Network slowness

We've been fighting slow network performance with Windows XP for a couple of months now.  Google searches, etc. have produced dozens of ideas but none of them have worked for us so far.

We have about 50 pc's running on an all-switch network: 1 copper GB switch from NetGear and three 100MBps switches attached to it.  Every device on our network connects either directly to the copper switch or to one of the 100Mbps switches - we got rid of all the daisy chains when we upgraded to Cat5e+ about five months ago.

Our PDC and BDC both are 900MHz PIII's with NT4 SP6a.  We have another server running Win2K Server, and two new servers running Win2K3 server.  All but one of the workstations on our network are running either Win2K Pro or XP Pro.

We have both TCP/IP and NetBEUI installed as protocols on our servers.

The problem is that the XP workstations take forever to browse directories on network shares if there are lots of files in the directories.  We have one directory on our BDC that contains about 1,500 files in 9GB space and on a 2.8GHz P4 directly attached to the same switch and with every other computer on the network turned off, takes over a minute to display the directory in Windows Explorer.  If we start the Win98 workstation - a lowly PIII/500, it will display the directory in about 10 seconds.

These machines take minutes to start network database applications (yes, they are local database apps) and to load forms on them.  Before XP, the apps started within 10-20 seconds.

In the past three months we have added approximately 15 new workstations to the network, to go from 35 to our current 50.  The older workstations - some connected directly to the servers' switch and others one switch removed - start our apps very quickly. 

Has anyone else had experience with XP being a dog on a network?  What have you done to solve this?


Karl Perry
Tuesday, March 2, 2004

I have the same problem with XP on my laptop.  I think it's because I use it on different networks all the time, but that shouldn't matter.  There's definitely something wrong.

I've used Ethereal to try to see what it's trying to do on the wire, but I can't really make sense of it.

I'll be watching this thread though :)

Tuesday, March 2, 2004

I'm far from a networker, but I've heard NetBEUI is the Devil itself - and that XP networks with just TCP/IP run just lovely.

OTOH, I wasn't paying much attention at the time, so let's see if wiser heads weigh in, shall we? ;)

Mediocre ASP Monkey
Tuesday, March 2, 2004

To investigate, did you try creating sub-directories to avoid having so many files in one directory? Maybe the network part works differently in 9x and XP, which would explain the discrepency you currently observe.

And if this hasn't been done yet, look on MSDN, see if any hint is available to explain this issue.

Tuesday, March 2, 2004


We can't create a subdirectory in that particular directory because it's the data directory from the retarded Paradox app I inherited eight months ago and we're just two weeks from shutting down.  However, that is not the only directory with a problem.  Our new app is slow, too.

We've discovered that, for this Paradox app at least, NetBEUI is basically essential.  For some reason PDox just likes NetBEUI.

We've looked on MSDN, their KB, on Google - all over the 'Net.  As I said, dozens of suggestions but nothing has panned out yet.

Keep the suggestions coming ... I'm grasping at straws here, and so are a lot of others.

Karl Perry
Wednesday, March 3, 2004

One of the System Admins at work told us to turn off "Simple File Sharing" (Tools > Folder Options > View Tab in Advanced Settings) to browse the network shares faster.

Maybe that'll do the trick.

Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Doug Knox says that XP's NetBEUI may not play well with older versions of NetBEUI: he suggests installing Win2K's NetBEUI on XP. Alternatively, consider using XP instead of NT4 as your file server?

Christopher Wells
Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Maybe this can help (didn't try it out myself).

Mark Tetrode
Wednesday, March 3, 2004

* Set up WINS server, trade in NetBEUI, it should reduce look up and broadcast traffic, use more efficient protocols
* Set up DNS caching, even better, set up a DNS server for internal use, reduces look up time
* Cache web access if you can, people surf the net a lot more than they browse file folders

Li-fan Chen
Sunday, March 7, 2004

Got this article on the net
maybe this would help

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

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