When I first started using a LAN (Local Area Network), years ago, it was a real delight for my computer experience. I felt a small revolution taking place at that moment. It was the moment of freedom, the physical boundaries have been surpassed. First the Internet (on a dial-up modem) and next a local network...it was so great. CD swapping has been immediately replaced with the new feature provided by the LAN: file sharing.
Network sharing was way superior to the Internet file sharing available through a modest modem. Therefore, we all enjoyed our local sharing protocol. Time passed, broadband connections became so spread and popular that the old modem found his imminent death.
Nowadays, we share over the Internet. At such high speeds, the local network rather spread itself outside the local enclosure. However, LAN is not dead. We still use the Local Area Network at the office or in the neighborhood. The only problem is that users are not satisfied when browsing the network.
It seems that communication between network computers under Windows has some lacks slowing down browsing. Excluding hardware problems, which are not the basis of this article, some tweaks can be applied in order to smooth things out.
All the tweaks have to be done by editing the registry, which means you need to be careful when doing that. To keep yourself out of trouble, make sure you backup the registry before you edit it.
Disable Network Task Scheduler
Applying this tweak, you will disable networked computers search for scheduled tasks. When you try to open a network folder, it will take a while which is not pleasant at all.
Go to Start > Run and type Regedit. When the registry editor opens, locate this path:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Explorer > RemoteComputer > NameSpace
Once you found it, just delete the following key:
It is possible not to find the keys mentioned above. It's OK. Just proceed to the next tweak.
Raise the threshold level for the requested buffer.
When dealing with a high-latency connection you need to modify (increase) the SizReqBuf value. We are talking here about a buffer, which is set by default to value of 4356 decimal. Microsoft states that this value provides acceptable level of performances under normal conditions. Well, as we are not satisfied how network browsing devolves we consider the "conditions" as being not normal and therefore, we need to change the value. It seems that in most LAN conditions, the best value for the SixReqBuf would be 16384. Use this value on computers equipped with more than 256 MB Ram.
To change the value, first open the Registry Editor (as presented at the previous tweak) and locate
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > System > CurrentControlSet > Services > LanmanWorkstation > Parameters and then create a DWORD value named SizReqBuf. Edit it and provide a decimal value of 16384.
Tweak the Network Redirector Buffers
By increasing the number of these buffers, you may get a higher transfer rate for the data that travels though the network. Open the Registry Editor navigate to this location:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > System > CurrentControlSet > Services > LanmanWorkstation > Parameters
Using the procedure explained in the previous tweak, add two new DWORD values:
MaxCmds and MaxThreads
Give both the same value between 0 and 255. It is recommended to choose the value of 64.
Eliminate the shares from My Network Places
Windows has an annoying behavior to place a shortcut in My Network Places for each remote folder accessed through the network. This creates an unpleasant delay when accessing the network. There are two ways to teach Windows not to do that anymore.
For Windows XP Home Edition
Locate HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Policies > Explorer with Registry Editor and add a new DWORD value called NoRecentDocsNetHood setting its value to 1. The value 1 will disable the shares to be added in My Network Places.
For Windows XP Profession
Under this version of Windows, the process is easier. There is no need to edit the registry. Just go to Start > Run and type Gpedit.msc. It will open the Group Policy Editor. Using it, just go to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Desktop and in the right panel, enable the option: "Do not add shares of recently opened documents to My Network Places".
Speed Up Network Browsing
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