PC stalls when opening files, but only when not connected to the backbone


macrumors 65816
Original poster
Yes, this is a PC question. I have successfully stumped the IT guys (again). Their solution is "live with it", which to me is a total copout. So I thought I'd post about it here and see if anyone had seen something similar.

I work for a state government. My office is in my home. I have Windows 7 Professional. When I want to connect to the server, I use a VPN via Cisco AnyConnect and two-factor authentication. When I'm connected to the VPN, everything is peachy.

When I am not connected to the VPN (i.e. most of the time) is when the trouble starts. This happens often when I try to open a file directly and every time I try to access the file directory (File:Open) - the system hangs for 20-40 seconds. For instance, when opening a PDF, Acrobat opens, it stalls, and Not Responding appears in the top bar. Give it a bit, and it will open. Same thing with Word, Excel, Outlook, even FileMaker 7 (yah, long story...).

So the best thing I can come up with is that the computer is trying to map unconnected network drives every time I access a file directory, irregardless of if I'm currently accessing a local file. When they are connected - no problem. When they aren't connected - we get a stall while the computer tries to find H: and I:. And when I try to show the IT guys, I have to meet them in a different office and the problem can't be duplicated because all the internet connections are on the backbone with the network drives...

What I can't figure is why or what to do about it. Anyone ever see something similar?

The easy solution is to always connect to the VPN - what a pain in the neck. The other solution is to "live with it"...

Mikael H

macrumors 6502a
Sep 3, 2014
The system attempting to map unconnected network drives as you wrote is a good starting point.

- Does your system's group policies set your default document location to a network location, for example?
- If it happens when you're trying to open specific documents, I'd check those documents for references to documents on network drives.


macrumors 6502a
Apr 8, 2008
Are they running any type of HIPS? Could also be a virus scan that is trying to phone home.


macrumors 65816
Original poster
Thanks. These are some good places to start. I'll have to look into them.

Let me give you some more information:
  1. My division has 8 field staff who have similar computer setups. I'm the only one who seems to be having this issue.
  2. I have had this issue every since I have had this current laptop.
  3. Our IT department is...obsessive. Our machines are starting to get so locked down, I'm not even sure I can check the settings! They've even locked out USB drives because someone wasn't following their policy. Don't get me wrong. I know we have a lot of really sensitive information and we are a pretty big target for hackers. I just get tired of being restricted across the board to the lowest common denominator.
Of the settings I can change, most revert whenever I connect to the backbone. So I'm not sure I can solve this longterm. But figuring out an issue the tech support guys couldn't would be it's own satisfaction!
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