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General slowdown or instability investigation steps


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General slowdown or instability investigation steps:

This FAQ doesn't cover a particular problem but, rather, is a list of different things to try if you are experiencing bad performance or instability when using Opus for no obvious reason.

You don't have to try all of the things listed below but each of them has lead to a solution in the past so they're probably all worth a try.

The list is roughly in order of increasing difficulty. More drastic or time-consuming steps come later in the list while things you can try really quickly come earlier. How likely they are to help also plays a part in where they come in the list. You can try things in any order you want but going through the list from top to bottom could mean you find the problem in less time.

This FAQ is here mainly so that we don't have to remember (or make up) a list of things to try when trying to help with mysterious problems. If you're experiencing a problem that isn't covered by one of the more specific FAQs, and you haven't posted a question about it already, then please do mention it in the forums with as much detail about symptoms and possible triggers, before trying everything below. Someone might know the answer and could save you going through the list.

If you do solve a problem using the steps below then please tell us so that the solution can be shared and possibly lead to a fix/workaround in Opus or a more specific FAQ, as appropriate.

Before you start: Backup your configuration using Settings > Backup & Restore. You will be making config changes, and this will give you an easy way to get back to where you started.

  • Ensure you are using the latest version of Opus.
  • Check for buttons, shortcuts, etc. which reference network folders which are unreachable. Anything which causes these to be resolved can cause big delays, sometimes in places and programs where you would not expect it.
  • Try using the Default Toolbars (and no others), reset to their factory state, in case the issue is with either commands on the toolbars or loading the icons for custom buttons. (If icons are loaded from lots of different exe files, it can trigger lengthy anti-virus scans, for example.)
  • See the known issues sections of Crash, exit or high CPU usage when viewing certain directories and Crash, exit or high CPU usage when right-clicking certain files, in case you have related software installed. If you do, skip to the Shell Extensions point, below. (It's also worth looking at Shell extensions which are blocked by default, in case you have related software installed. We try to block the listed items by default, but cannot block them in all cases, without blocking them system-wide. To block them system-wide, you can use ShellExView, which is discussed below.)
  • Boot Windows into Safe Mode. If you no longer see the problem, the issue is most likely a third-party component which Safe Mode prevents from running. This is usually a shell extension (see below), but can be other things like video codecs and components of hardware drivers. (Unfortunately, the way to access Safe mode varies slightly between versions of Windows. If you don't know how for your version of Windows, please do a web search for "safe mode windows 8" or similar, as appropriate for the version on your machine.)
  • Use Windows Reliability Monitor (type "reliability" into the Start Menu or Start Screen, and choose "View reliability history" or similar) to see which applications were installed or updated around the time the problems started.
  • If you are familiar with it, check the Windows Event Log to see if it indicates any problems.
  • Disable all VFS and Viewer plugins via Preferences / Viewer / Viewer Plugins and Preferences / Zip & Other Archives / Archive and VFS Plugins. (The Movie plugin is especially important, since it can cause 3rd party video codecs to be used, and some such codecs are unstable. However, if the Movie plugin is disabled Opus may still call on those codecs via Windows itself, the same way that Explorer does.)
  • Disable Thumbnail Caching via Preferences - Lister Display Modes - Thumbnails Mode. (This is because the file format used for the thumbnail cache has been seen to cause pathological slowness with some anti-virus tools/versions.)
  • Turn on Preferences / Folders / Folder Display / Show generic icons for... and set it to All Folders.
  • Turn off Preferences / Folders / Folder Display / Display localized folder names. (Note: This may result in English folder names on non-English versions of Windows. You can turn it back on after checking if it helps.)
  • Turn off Preferences / Folder Tree / Contents / ZIP files and other archives.
  • Turn off the Folder Tree entirely.
  • Work with only one window, and only one folder tab in that window. Go into a simple folder with just a few text files, to see if the problem remains there.
  • Remove all columns from the lister except for Name and then lock the format (i.e. click the padlock icon in the status bar) to make sure the problem isn't caused by a particular column.
  • Check that you do not have any mapped drives or shortcut files which point at unavailable network locations. This can cause strange slowdowns throughout the OS in Opus and in other places you might not expect. e.g. If you map a drive and then turn off the target computer, Windows apps, and the taskbar, Opus, etc. will lock up apparently at random.)
  • Clear Opus's File Collections: In the default menus, use Go -> File Collections and then select each one and delete it. Important: Select and delete the collections themselves (e.g. "Find Results"); do NOT delete the files inside of the collections as that deletes the actual files.
  • Check the digital signatures on dopus.exe, dopuslib.dll and dopusrt.exe by bringing up the file Properties for each of them. (Note: In the Properties window for each file you must select the signature and click Details to verify it. You should see a message saying "The digital signature is OK.")
  • If it doesn't happen in all directories, try to work out the connection between the ones where it does happen. e.g. All on a particular physical drive or controller, or only on USB or network drives. The contents of folders or child folders are also important. For example, when there are lots of installer EXE files below a folder, antivirus scanners can cause pathological slow-downs just to extract the icons from the files or populate the folder tree.
  • Shell Extensions: Try to remember any shell extensions you have installed which add custom icons or columns in Explorer/Opus. For example, cloud storage (Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Drive, etc.), source control (Tortoise SVN, CVS, Git, etc.), and some MP3 taggers give special icons for files in different states or of different formats, as well as columns with extra info, and so on. (You can use ShellExView or AutoRuns to see and disable shell extensions (note: in versions before Opus 10, disabling them via ShellExView may not have any affect). AutoRuns also shows a bunch of other stuff that hooks into other programs and is worth investigating.)
  • If you can, remove all network drives.
  • Ensure you are up-to-date on Windows Update.
  • Ensure you have the latest graphics card drivers, motherboard drivers, motherboard BIOS, network card drivers, IDE/SATA controller drivers, and so on.
  • Try with a default Directory Opus configuration. To do this, first (if you haven't already) backup your configuration using Settings > Backup & Restore. Then uninstall Opus via Control Panel / Uninstall a program (or similar, depending on Windows version) / GPSoftware Directory Opus. Uninstalling also deletes your config, so make sure you do the backup first. After rebooting at the end of the uninstall, get the latest installer (or older versions if you're not on the latest major version) and use that. Test using the default configuration for a while to see if the problem remains. After you are finished testing, you can restore your config backup to get back to where you were.
  • Try W0lfdale's suggestion about using Process Explorer to test whether a particular driver is involved with the slowdown.
  • Try using Process Monitor to see which files are being access when the problem occurs. This can be difficult due to the amount of "background noise" from other, normal operations, but using Process Monitor's filter can narrow things down.
  • Run a disk check on all involved drives.
  • Do a full anti-virus and anti-spyware scan of your computer.
  • Disable all anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software. (If you're using the latest NOD32 and the Windows firewall then they are probably fine as many of us use them ourselves and any issues with them are likely to be spotted very quickly.)
  • Uninstall -- not just disable -- all anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software. (Since sometimes they still cause problems even when disabled. Zone Alarm is one example where this is true.) (Obviously it's a good idea to try some of the other steps before resorting to this one.)
  • Make some kind of video, whether via capturing software or just a camera pointed at a monitor, so that we can see exactly what's going on. This might reveal a detail that helps GPSoft or another forum member reproduce the problem or think of a possible cause. Take a look at Jing if you don't know how to make a video. It's quick and easy to use and, at least for now, free.

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