Speed up the updates of the network folders

Suppose you have two computers, A and B, on the same network. Computer A has a shared folder, which is accessed from the computer B. You change something in the shared folder on the computer A, for example, add or remove a file, or rename it, but the computer B does not see the change right away. It may take 30 seconds (or more) before the computer B shows the updated listing of the files in the shared folder located on the computer A. If this is happening on your network, we bet you would want to make the updates happen across the network much faster, wouldn't you?

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The reason for the delay in the first place is that the Windows network browser uses a cache to store the file information it receives over the network from other computers. The purpose of such a cache is to minimize the network traffic: if the computer B requests the same information from the computer A too often, then instead of contacting the computer A every time, Windows just uses the information it stored in the cache last time. Theoretically, this is supposed to speed up the network browsing, but only if the cache is kept in sync with the actual information and is updated promptly. If it gets stalled for 30 seconds or more, you can hardly call it an improvement in speed.

Anyway, the solution to the slow network updates described above is to disable the cache, and the following registry tweak should do just that.

Before you begin: The following information is provided AS-IS, WITHOUT GUARANTEE OF ANY KIND. Use the following information at your own risk. Please be very careful with Registry Editor, because it's very easy to use it to damage your system, if you are not careful. If you are not sure, ask someone who is more experienced with computers for help. We do not provide any support regarding any issues that may arise out of your use or misuse of the following information.

To disable the network browsing cache, run Registry Editor on the computer that you use to browse the shared folders (in our example, it's the computer B), and select the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE / SYSTEM / CurrentControlSet /services / LanmanWorkstation / Parameters

Under this key, create a new DWORD entry with the name DirectoryCacheLifetime and the value of 0.

Exit Registry Editor. The change should take effect right away, but if not, restart the computer. After that, the changes you make to the shared folders on other computers should be seen on this computer much faster than before.

If you decide to reverse the change and re-enable the network browser cache, use Registry Editor again to delete the entry DirectoryCacheLifetime you've created above.

Happy computing!

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