PDF-ShellTools > General

Windows Explorer Loading File List Over Network Share



If I have a folder of PDFs (around 300) containing Keywords mapped to System.Tags, and I group by tags in the explorer view, the file list takes about 10 seconds to completely populate in the window every time it's accessed. I'm wondering if this could be linked to the Shell Tools somehow; I should note that the folder is on a mapped network drive and I'm accessing it from a workstation.

When you browse a folder with Windows Explorer, all the access to metadata is done directly from the files. There is no caching mechanism, other than a temporary cache for each folder view. Browsing a local, or remote shared, folder imply that the metadata extraction process is repeated each time, and so a file in a shared folder will be accessed by the local property handler (in our case, and for PDF files, the PDF property handler provided by the PDF-ShellTools) by transferring the acceded file bytes locally. And extracting metadata from PDFs is already a relative slow process, even for local files.

But Windows Explorer can speed up some of that file arranging/sorting functionality if the operation is carried from a library. Libraries are able to use the windows search index database to query for the files metadata, and so can arrange and sort the files much more fast. That's why a remote shared folder can only be added to a library if that same folder is also indexed at the remote PC.
When the shared folder is accessed from a library, things like views generated by the arrange by functionality are really fast.
But even from libraries, specially if you are browsing a specific folder, the access to metadata is again directly from the file. Only fancy operations, such as the arrange by and search operations (and maybe some other) use the database.
Obviously, this is not a PDF-ShellTools problem. Blame Microsoft for this.

But take note that your problem may be related to something else, and you may use the PDF-ShellTools manager to disable the property handler to be sure.

So assuming my folder is indexed on the server, my workaround would be to add the folder to a library on my workstation, correct?

Yes, but knowing that only the library "arrange by" and search functionality generate file lists using the index database to speed up these processes. I.e. if you set the library to arrange by tags, and then you open one of these group of files (with the same tags), that new list of files will fill any metadata columns, you may have visible at that view, very fast. But if you directly open a specific folder included in the library, the behavior is going to be the same as when opening it outside the library - metadata will now be gathered directly from each file.
This is the Windows Explorer behavior. Nothing related to the PDF-ShellTools, that only provides the Windows Shell with the means to access metadata from the PDF file format.


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