File Explorer Registry trick

How to speed up large folder browsing on File Explorer for Windows 11

This simple Registry change can significantly make File Explorer faster when browsing folders with a lot of files.

  • To load folders faster on File Explorer on Windows 11, in the “Shell” Registry key (part of the “HKEY_CURRENT_USER” path), create the “FolderType” string, set its value to “NotSpecified” and restart the Windows Explorer process.

On Windows 11, you can make File Explorer open folders with large amounts of files faster with a simple tweak to the Registry, and in this guide, I’ll show you how.

It’s not a secret that File Explorer is slow at rendering the contents of folders, especially inside folders with a mix of file formats or network-shared folders. The problem is that, by default, the app always attempts to determine the type of files in each folder, causing a delay, which results in File Explorer appearing sluggish.

The solution to this problem is to force File Explorer not to check the contents and view all folders as containers with general items, and you can do this by disabling file type parsing through the Registry since the app doesn’t include an option in the settings.

It’s important to note that this tweak pointed out by @timonsku on X isn’t specific to the version of File Explore on Windows 11. I’ve been doing a little research, and I can trace this workaround back to Windows 7 and Vista.

In this guide, I will show you the steps to modify the Registry to load folders with content (almost) instantly.

Warning: Before proceeding, it’s crucial to acknowledge the risks associated with modifying the Windows Registry. Incorrect changes can lead to system instability or operational issues. Therefore, ensure you have a full system backup before making any changes. Proceed with caution and understanding.

Speed up folder browsing on File Explorer

To load folders with a lot of files faster on File Explorer, use these steps:

  1. Open Start on Windows 11.

  2. Search for regedit and click the top result to open the Registry.

  3. Open the following path:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Local Settings\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\Bags\AllFolders\Shell
  4. Right-click the Shell key, select the New menu, and select the String Value option.

    FolderType string

  5. Name the key FolderType and press Enter.

  6. Double-click the newly created key and set its value to NotSpecified.

    Registry FolderType NotSpecified value

  7. Click the OK button.

  8. Restart the computer (important).

    Quick tip: You can also restart the Windows Explorer service from the Processes tab in Task Manager.

Once you complete the steps, when navigating folders with a few or a lot of files, File Explorer will load the folder noticeably faster.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to modify the Registry, you can press “F11” twice (this will enter the app in full-screen mode and exist), and now navigating folders should be much faster.

In addition to disabling file type parsing, you can also improve the performance of File Explorer by making some customization changes, such as setting the “This PC” page as the default startup page, changing the folder properties to optimize for specific contents, and using view options that require fewer resources (such as the “List” view).

Furthermore, another tip that will make File Explorer faster is to organize the contents logically by grouping similar file types together and not having folders with thousands of files unless necessary.

What are your thoughts on this workaround to make File Explorer faster? Let me know in the comments.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].