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Opening a Folder in a New Process

Microsoft has done a great job with Windows 7 and it is by far the most polished operating system I have ever seen. There are no broken graphics, no glitches and no failures hiding to annoy you during your work. The best thing about Windows 7 is that it is an operating system for everyone. If you are a tech-savvy user, you can have as much fun with Windows 7 as any basic home user would have.

Today, I will tell you about a feature in Windows 7 that can be very helpful. This feature is available for both power-users and normal users. It allows us to create a new process for any folder or disk drive we want to open in Windows, that will considerably improve performance.

A process is a single program that can manage a specific amount of work or a particular job. For example, when we open Microsoft Word, we are actually creating a process that runs in the memory. Our operating system, Windows, also runs with the help of processes. Many of them are system processes started by Windows. We users can also create new processes known as user processes.

Now that you have an idea of what a process is, we will see how to open a folder in a new process. Whenever we open a folder or a disk drive in Windows, it opens within the same process of explorer. However, we often see that folders with a huge number of images or videos lag at times and even become non-responding. This causes the explorer process to crash and we lose any other work we were doing, like a copy-paste job or a file being saved to disk. This can be a serious problem, but it can be avoided by opening a folder in a new explorer process in Windows 7. Here is how.

Step 1

Go to the Start menu and click on My Computer in the right hand column. This will open a window with all the disk drives listed in it.

Step 2

To open any drive or folder in a new process, you need to press the Shift key on your keyboard and then right click on the disk or the folder icon, keeping the Shift key pressed. However, make sure that you don’t press the Shift key longer than five seconds, or it enables another feature. This being done, release the shift key once you get a right click menu as shown.

In the menu, you will see an option called Open in new process. Click on this, and you will see a new window with the folder (in my case C: drive) open in it.


Step 3

Now, that you have opened the folder or disk drive (again, in my case the C: drive) in a new process. How do you check if this method works?

For this, right click on an empty area of the taskbar. The taskbar is the thick bar on which your start menu and the opened windows lie. You will a menu like the one shown. Click on Start Task Manager.


Step 4

In Windows Task Manager, click on the Processes tab. Along with Processes, we can see Applications, Services, Performance, Networking and Users tabs here. Upon clicking the Processes tab, you will see quite a different window than mine. Don’t worry. This is a list of all the processes running on your computer currently, and they will be different from mine.


Step 5

Now, we sort these processes to arrange them in order of their names. We will have to click on the Image Name heading as shown and make sure the arrow over Name points upwards. This sorts the processes by name in ascending order.


Step 6

Now, we can scroll down to see that we have two explorer processes running on our computer. One of them has a higher Memory size. User “Chinmoy” has started both these processes and they are both explorer.exe processes.


This can come in handy when viewing folders with a huge number of files that need thumbnails like images. Thumbnails take extra time to load and slow down the operations of the computer. Since many of my folders contain images, this method has been a lifesaver for me.

Using your computer like a pro is not that hard. There is a simple list of tips and tricks you need to know, and once you are comfortable with them, others come to you as freely as breathing.

In my opinion, we all should shed our fear of using new features and try to make the most of features like these. This divide of power users and basic users is but a facade. We all are human beings and it is in our instincts to learn.

~Chinmoy Kanjilal