Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Slow population of devices/printers window -- also Network

  1. #1


    Posts : 5
    Windows 8.1

    Slow population of devices/printers window -- also Network


    When I go to
    Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Devices and Printers
    it can take 5 minutes or more to populate the window. A green bar slowly progressing along the top.

    Sometimes (not always) when I click on the Network icon it shows an empty window, taking five or more minutes, also with a green bar slowly progressing along the top. EDIT: After I submitted this post I saw that the network window had finally populated. Still, it was incredibly slow and happened after the window showed a message saying "This folder is empty."

    If I go to This PC that comes up almost instantly, including the mapped network drives.

    At first thought it might be a name server problem with the router but that checks out OK.

    Any hints appreciated!

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Posts : 5
    Windows 8.1


    Here is what I think is going on ...

    Windows remembers what devices it has seen previously and tries to contact them in order to populate the devices window. If you have a device that is turned off it takes Windows a while to time out its contact attempt.

    I observed this with my bluetooth capable phone. I keep its bluetooth disabled to save the battery. If I happen to have that enabled the devices window comes up noticeably faster. I also have other devices throughout my house, mostly media streamers or clients, that are often powered off. I think the same thing is happening with them.

    I have not done a lot of experimenting with this (by powering everything up) so this is still a hypothesis, but one with a little bit of evidence (my phone).
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    One bad NIC or poor driver can cause this issue and I've seen it many, many times. My server had a NIC that was going bad and the response time to discover the network attached devices took 5-10 minutes. Once I replaced the card, the discovery was instantaneous... Good luck!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    United States
    Posts : 3,093
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit


    I have a wireless printer set as default and when it is turned off I get this behavior also. I assume Windows is trying to communicate with it and takes awhile before it finally gives up.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    United States
    Posts : 3,093
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit


    Just verified this. If I leave my wireless printer as default and turned off, it populates very slowly. Change default to a virtual printer and populates very fast. Switch back to physical wireless printer that is off and populates VERY slowly.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 5
    Windows 8.1


    Earlier I said that the devices window populates a bit faster (although still slowly) if I make sure my phone has its bluetooth enabled. Well, if I remove the phone as a device from Windows then the devices window only takes a few seconds (instead of minutes) to populate.

    AND, once the window has populated itself if I close it and reopen it a few minutes later it comes up fully populated instantly. No delay at all.

    That pretty much nails it down to the phone, or to Windows' ability to communicate with it. Either way, I will not put it back as a device unless I need it. I have, in the past, used bluetooth to xfer files between the phone and the laptop but there are other ways to do that.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    United States
    Posts : 3,093
    Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit


    Well, at least we all figured it out together.
    Thanks for the update and please mark the post solved as that helps flag it for others who may have the issue. Good thread!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Slow population of devices/printers window -- also Network
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