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Explorer slow to open (at least one) folder(s)

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Weird thing just happened on my laptop.

My hard drive has a c: partition and the d: partition. On c:, there's just my Vista install (family, 32), while on D:, there are all my files: some videos, my 17G mp3 collection, and my databank of pictures, which i'm using for work.

My comp is clean (i've checked with a full array of antivirus, antispyware, firewall, and so on).

Up until two days ago, I had no problem using windows explorer to browse through my files. Even when the folder was huge (my picture collection amounts to 30G of data, and about 900 folders), explorer did its job relatively diligently, at least as far as Vista goes.

Yet, two days ago, while closing a photo opened in windows Vista's standard picture viewer, explorer crashed, and restarted.

The log gave me an error ID 1000, with, in french (cos i'm french, sorry)

Application défaillante Explorer.EXE, version 6.0.6000.16386, horodatage 0x4549b091, module défaillant ntdll.dll, version 6.0.6000.16386, horodatage 0x4549bdc9, code d’exception 0xc0000374, décalage d’erreur 0x000af1c9, ID du processus 0x690, heure de début de l’application 0x01cb10045424c923.

Kind of a generic error, which didn't tell me much.

And then, an hour later, i noticed that explorer was lagging when opening some of my d: folders (i'm sure it lagged on a couple of them at some point, yesterday, but today, it only happened with the image folder, so let's say it lags at least with one folder).

It doesn't lag a lot, just a second or two, and never on my other big folders : my mp3 folder or my movies folder open just fine, everything c: does too, but when I double-click on my image folder, there's at least a 50% chance it's gonna lag (without any green bar on top, just the green circle mouse indicator thingy).

Which is kinda annoying, and happens at random even while browsing my image subfolders.

Meanwhile, when browsing via the explorer folder tree, at the left of the screen, or via the explorer/browser of some other software (photoshop, or firefox, for instance), it never lags a bit.

So I tried with or without the indexing, with or without the thumbnails, I tried changing the display options of the folders and subfolders, I defragged, scandisked, all the usual solutions, in fact, and everything else i could find on the web, but nothing.

It still lags, even when Windows is the only thing running on my comp.

(weirdest thing is: Sometimes it won't lag for a few minutes, i'll browse my pics normally, and then, suddenly, often after a visit to another folder - let's say mp3 - it starts lagging again, as if the computer had alzheimer, and was forced to rescan part or all of the picture folder every time i come back to it after i leave)

Any suggestions ? A HD problem ? A corrupted file that messes with explorer ?

(i'm tempted to copy my pics to another folder, and see if that one lags too...)
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    Kraków my love :)

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