How to prevent Windows Vista's 'green ribbon of death'

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Copying files

Vista is hopelessly slow at copying files in certain situations, two in fact.

First, Vista's UAC (User Account Control) feature forces Windows Explorer to evaluate the security impact of each file you copy, and this has far-reaching consequences, particularly when you're copying files over a network.

And second, Vista notoriously has trouble copying files to and from USB devices. So, if you copy a folder full of images from your USB card reader directly to your external USB hard disk or move document files from a USB memory key to a shared network folder, Windows Explorer may crash. There's no easy fix to this one, but you can work around it by copying files to your desktop first.

As explained above, you need to use Task Manager to close a crashed Windows Explorer window. But if you want to be able to close a crashed window and leave any other Explorer windows (and the desktop) intact, you'll need to make a change in Control Panel. Open Folder Options and choose the View tab. In the Advanced settings list, turn on the Launch folder windows in a separate process option, and then click OK. From now on, when you see the green ribbon of death, it'll only mean death for one of your Windows Explorer windows, not all of them.

This article is excerpted from Windows Vista Annoyances, (ISBN 0-596-52762-4) by David A. Karp (O'Reilly, 2007, all rights reserved).

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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