Stop the annoying green bar in Explorer windows

Speed up Explorer with a few simple tweaks to remove the green bar

Explorer iconWhen opening an Explorer window you sometimes have to wait while a green bar very slowly works its way across the address box at the top. This can happen occasionally to everyone, but to some people it is a constant irritation. What is going on and how can it be stopped?

Small snail

The green bar is simply an indication that Explorer is busy. It is performing some task that is taking a long time and so it shows a green bar so that you can see its progress. The question is, what can it be busy doing?

There are several possibilities and this behaviour can occur when there are a lot of files in a folder, especially if they are images and Explorer is having to create thumbnail images from them. It takes time to do this and to reduce the delay when opening a folder you should reduce the number of images. Organise them into subfolders so there aren't so many to deal with at a time.

Whether you see the green progress bar depends on the view selected and a text listing avoids the need to create and display thumbnails. It is faster and so you don't see the green bar. Folder views are remembered, so if you switch to List or Details view then the next time you access the folder then that view will be used again.

Related: How to use Quick Access in Explorer in Windows 10

The sort order can be a factor and if you have selected a sort order other than the default alphabetical listing, then it takes time to put the files into order and when there is a lot of files, it can cause the green progress bar to appear. Sorting by size, date, and other attributes is slow. Sort by name and Explorer is faster.

You will also see this sort of creeping green bar behaviour if you add a networked location to Explorer. For example, one day you might connect to a NAS (network Attached Storage) drive and use it to copy files, make a backup or whatever. Windows will remember this and the next day when you use Explorer, it will try to reconnect to the NAS drive.

This is fine if it is switched on, but if it is off then Explorer will keep retrying until it eventually gives up and realises it isn’t available. All the time it is trying to connect, it shows that green bar sliding across the top.

Explorer green bar

If you connect to a shared folder on another computer on the network, the same thing can happen. It that computer is not switched on, Explorer wastes time trying to connect to it and shows the green progress bar.

There are two possible solutions and one is to make sure that any shared resources like NAS drives, USB drives, other PCs with shared folders and so on, are all up and running when you use your PC. The other solution is to disconnect from the shared resource. Right click the drive in the Explorer window and delete it. The next time you open Explorer it won’t look for the resource. If you need it, it can easily be added again.

It is a bit of a nuisance having to add and delete shared resources though.

Shared drives that are not available are not the only cause of the green bar. Searches can be saved and when the Explorer window is opened, the search may be run again. This takes time to complete and so a green progress bar is displayed. There isn’t much you can do about a search except to delete it if you don’t need it. Make sure the search box in the top right corner is clear.

Update: The solution

The above tips helped a bit and reduced the green bar a little, but what really got rid of it was changing antivirus software. Windows Defender seems to be quite slow at scanning files and when opening folders it causes the green bar to slowly crawl across the top of the window.

Windows Defender is not the only slow antivirus program and there are others. See Does antivirus software slow down the PC?

Installing Avira security, even the free version, will cure the problem. The green bar has now gone away


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6 Comments on Stop the annoying green bar in Explorer windows

  1. It’s a not resolved bug for Windows 7, 8 and 10. No solution for this. Go on Microsoft…

  2. Nice BUT you have NOT told us HOW to remove the GREEN BAR as your title indicated. W-T-F!! Are you asleep?

    • I did mention to disconnect from shared resources and to delete saved searches if you don’t need them. I also mentioned the sort order – selecting to sort by date, for example, causes extra work and the green bar stays on the screen longer.

      I put these in bold so they are easier to find.

      Another thing I’ve noticed since I wrote the article, is that Windows Defender makes the green bar stick around longer. I think it is slow at scanning files, so the green bar progresses slowly. Avira is faster at scanning files and the green bar disappears sooner.

  3. Deleting your stuff is not an acceptable solution.

    • Sometimes it is. We leave files in the Downloads folder that we downloaded last month or last year and it just builds up. It makes opening the folder slow. Check slow-opening folders and see if there is anything you can delete.

      Sometimes you can’t delete things, but organising files into subfolders can help. Instead of 1000+ photos in a folder, organise them in subfolders by year, month, event or whatever.

  4. when doing a windows 10 file explorer search I get 1000s of files and the search never stops with the green bar at the top. When I press the stop search button I lose all the results!!! Is there a way of pausing the search allowing me to select file types or date etc? I am sure I never had this problem in Win7.

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