Why does Finder take so long to show and move files?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by strummer95, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. strummer95 macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2009
    Ok.... I'm really sick and tired of this and can't find a solution/answer anywhere that is current.


    I have a 2.66ghz Intel Core 2 Duo with 4gb ddr3 ram running Snow Leopard 10.6.5 and the amount of time it takes to move files is nothing short of astonishing and pathetic.

    I currently am trying to move 48kb of images (12 images at 4kb each). I am only trying to move them back/up one folder. 20 minutes have passed and it is still working on it. Not to mention it took 5-10 minutes just for Finder to display what was inside the folder (which is only the 12 small image files).

    Finder takes VERY long to display folder contents and equally as long to move files or even delete them. This has been an issue for a few years, on several Macs, with multiple versions so I know it's a Mac problem.

    I don't understand this and why it is always an issue with Mac. It is a massive inconvenience and flaw. Is there any workaround for this!? I am a web designer and can't sit here for 30 minutes waiting to move 56kb of files so I can work on the page.
  2. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    Something isn't right. You're trying to move absolutely tiny files. I frequently move gigabytes between my iMac and MBP and only takes seconds to a few minutes depending on how much. Are you moving them to another place on your HDD or over a network to another computer?

    There is some other underlying issue going on with your stuff.
  3. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    Try repairing permissions. You could also create a new user account, login to that account and see if the same thing happens there.
  4. strummer95 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2009
    not far move

    I'm just moving them back one folder....

    /image/buttons/(files) to

    I can't find any consistency in the Macs that I have seen with this problem. Which is actually the 3-4 Macs I have had or used. They are on different networks, with different files, doing different things.

    It's so frustrating, it take several minutes to move files 9 out of 10 times, and always takes 15-30 seconds minimum to display contents of a folder.
  5. solowmodel macrumors 6502

    Jan 11, 2011
    Likewise. I've never had the problem and situation that the OP is going through. Perhaps the problem lies elsewhere?
  6. strummer95 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2009
    I'll try those suggestions GGJ... is there something like defragmenting like PCs have? Would something like that possibly help?
  7. GGJstudios macrumors Westmere


    May 16, 2008
    There's generally no need to defragment drives on Mac OS X. That's not the cause of your problem.
  8. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
  9. strummer95 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 2, 2009
  10. musicwind95 macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2008
    I have a similar issue...for me, it takes forever to begin moving, but the actual moving isn't too slow. Also, opening a folder doesn't take too long to load the contents, but scrolling is not smooth at all, especially in my /Applications folder. Would reducing the item count of a folder (by using more folders) help (in that it would have to load fewer items per folder)?
  11. MacHamster68, Jan 17, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011

    MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    reinstall osx , there is something totally wrong, my older core duo 1.83 iMac does not even take 15 minutes to move 350 gb movie files in folders around , but i seen that before , even after reinstalling osx my mates brandnew i7 iMac takes much longer to do the same tasks (opening finder, spotlight,moving files from one partition to the other )as my core duo ok i have a faster harddrive (10000rpm velociraptor) , but that alone cant possibly explain that , his i7 is even slower doing these simple tasks then my iMac g3 , i have send him to the apple store with the iMac to get this snail at least to a speed that appropriate for a 2010 computer, poor bugger had absolute no luck with the iMac , and is about to cancel our friendship because i convinced him to get a Mac , then he had to exchange couple times and got it repaird another couple times ,because of graphic card problems, harddrive problems, display problems ,logicboard .... lost count and now that thing is again at apple since christmas , dont know if he got it back ,as he does not talk to me any more about Mac's ....:(
  12. product26 macrumors 6502a


    May 30, 2005
    you need to boot from the restore/system dvd and repair the disk, not just the disk permissions.
  13. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004
    Do you have the finder set to calculate folder sizes? That has caused the finder to use 99% of one processor core and can severely slow down your Mac. I have seen this on two of my systems.

    Also, external USB drives need to wake when moving files in the finder. If you have any of these connected, you might want to try the same thing with them unplugged.
  14. littledino macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2011
    To -spacepower7- thank you SO much!

    I had this problem that files from Finder took forever to do what it should do in seconds. After a Google search I arrived here and your advice worked for me so I just HAD to say thank you!!! You saved me such a worry. :)
  15. gslrider macrumors 6502


    Nov 4, 2005
    I've been wondering about this too. I have Mac Pro Xeon (8-core). Although, my issue doesn't take as long as the op, and doesn't happen all the time, I find it very perplexing that moving files from one folder to another within the same internal drive (no usb drives connected) takes longer than it normally should.

    When it does happen, it takes about 6-7 seconds to move a file from one folder to another. I get a pop up window saying "preparing to move files to folder ...". But after that, I can move files to the same folder instantly. It's like my Mac forgot where all the files were, and started journaling the drive. This happens sporadically. More of annoyance than anything else. I'm sure there's a pattern/reason, I just can't figure it out. This thread is the only one I've found that even mentions this issue.
  16. silence525, Feb 6, 2013
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2013

    silence525 macrumors newbie

    Feb 6, 2013
    Cleaning AE Database and Cache

    I have a 2012 MBP an 2011 iMAC that I use at work extensively for AE, Premiere, and FCP rendering...

    What I found out today while dealing with the neverending "preparing to copy files", was that once I've cleared the cache from within AE, my file transfers became instanteous (almost).

    I'm not sure if the original post (gslrider) uses AE, but this sure fixed my problems... low level memory was occupied by some software, making file transfers literally impossible. If you've setup scratch disk from within FCP, I'd go through that scratch folder and clean out any old projects as well.

    (In AE, go to Preferences>Media & Disk Cache...>, and click on "Clean Database and Cache) Empty Disk Cache where you're at it.

    Hope this helps you guys out.

    Clear Cache copy.png
  17. gslrider macrumors 6502


    Nov 4, 2005
    Thanks Silence525. I thought about memory issues as well, but it never came to mind about AE or FCP (which I both use). Considering they are only set up to use a certain amount of RAM, and the rest using Scratch Disk. I'll give that a go and see if it speeds things up.
  18. gslrider macrumors 6502


    Nov 4, 2005
    I'm wondering if Journaling has anything to do with the lag in copying files over to a new/different folder. After you copy some files to a folder, it lags like it's organizing itself. But any file transfers after that are instantaneous. For that matter as well, if I open another folder afterwards, and copy/move files over to that, it's instantaneous as well. Perhaps, it's also a system sleep issue as well. First disk activities after waking from sleep mode is always sluggish? I've never noticed it till recently.
  19. motomike27 macrumors newbie

    Mar 11, 2008
    I'm having the same issue. I just got a new Mac Pro 12 core 2.4ghz machine running mavericks. I tried to copy my aperture 3 library (563gb) using the duplicate file function and its telling me 2days!!!! To complete. This is an internal 3tb drive and I'm duplicating the file to the same drive and folder. What is the problem?

    I've had this issue ever since I owned macs. My time machine backups over FireWire 800 take over 6 days! for roughly 4TB of data on the initial backup cycle.

    So frustrating.
  20. claidheamdanns macrumors newbie


    Feb 6, 2008
    Memphis, TN
    I'm having the same issue on a fairly brand new iMac 21.5, late 2013. Running Yosemite, with 2.9 GHz Intel Core i5, and 16 GB of 1600 MHz of DDR3 Ram.

    Same problem at home with a slightly older box (2011, I think).

    Even moving an alias from one folder to another takes a long time and comes up with the infamous calculating move dialog. One thing I noticed weird on my side, both at work and at home, both running Yosemite: if I move 1 item it says that it is calculating the move for 2 items. Ditto on any move, the calculate amount is 2x the amount of actual items moving??
  21. O Trap O macrumors newbie

    O Trap O

    Jan 9, 2016

    You have two rather simple issues.. 1: duplicate and copy are two different functions that do similar things. Duplicate adds "copy" to every file, whereas copy/paste requires you to choose a different folder; thus, the title of each file remains the same. The reason why it's taking so long is because you are requiring the computer to not only create a duplicate file, but also re-title each individual file. I RARELY duplicate, but primarily copy.

    2. Time Machine is most likely not the issue, nor your computer, nor anything Apple related. The drive you are copying to is most likely the issue. I had the same problem when I got my first NAS box. Check the specs. There's a reason why you can easily spend a grand on one, but also get one for a couple hundred or less. All that aside, the initial backup is once... So it's not a reoccurring issue even if it is longer than expected. My Time Machine backups take around a min or less (not initial backup). - 8core and 6core Trashcans

    Side note - How did you get a late 2013 Mac Pro with 3Tb of internal storage? They only came with up to a Tb.
  22. ankh macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2003
    Same issue. 2011 Mini, 12GB of RAM, disk about 3/4 full.
    Multiple "Moving [filename] to trash" and "Preparing to move ...] items, after trying to clean up the desktop of miscellaneous accumulated files. "Calculate file sizes" has been off in the finder view options settings.

    20 minutes gone now.
  23. gslrider macrumors 6502


    Nov 4, 2005
    I found out the hard way. My reason for this happening to me, was actually because my drive was going out the door. I should have headed those warning signs, and backed it up. The heads are no longer working. Can't access my files. Won't even mount anymore. Luckily I didn't have important files. But I had a lot of files I've accumulated over the years that would be very difficult to acquire again. So if your drive is feeling laggy, even after a clean and defragging, good chance it might be on it's last legs. Back up your stuff, and see what happens in the next while.
  24. ankh macrumors member

    Jan 9, 2003
    My drive tests fine (and I have backups)

    I ran Onyx and had it do all the maintenance and cleanup steps, which took overnight.

    Problem with extreme slowness when moving/trashing files is gone.

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