Fix “Initializing the root folders to display” Message

When opening files from Word, Excel, etc. you are presented with and have to wait for a dialog that says “Initializing the Root Folders to Display.” After it finishes, browsing through items becomes painfully slow.

There is a problem with one of your mapped network drives. At least one of them is either disconnected or awaiting credentials. If you reconnect or disconnect it altogether, this problem will go away.

About Benjamin Perove

Ben has been associated with a broad spectrum of technologies starting from an early age, and he's contributed to the success of many businesses and enterprises professionally since 2001. Most of his time is spent building cool stuff. When he's not working, he enjoys reading, playing acoustic guitar, and being with friends. He currently resides in Medellin, Colombia.

  • Jim

    That fixed it! Easy as pie when you know how!

    Many thanks.


  • Karen Allen

    When I googled “office 2007 initializing the root folders to display”, this was the first hit!! Woohoo, great info, solved our issue. Thanks tons.


  • Andy

    Great info fixed the problem : thanks

  • David

    This is sad because I still like to have my drives mapped even though they are in disconnected state (10 of them).

    Usually we work at multiple locations and remapping the drives each time you enter a different network is not productive.

  • Greg

    Man – you just saved me a lot of grief! This problem was driving us crazy!! thank you.

  • Blake

    I am running Windows XP. Where do I go to disconnect the network drives?

    Please Help

  • Alexander

    This was very helpful. It fixed my problem.

  • John

    Why can’t someone tell microsoft this is crap! If the mapped drive isn’t available then don’t look there. using a laptop or mobile device then your drives will not always be mapped. Why have to unmap and remap each time, whats the point of being mobile

  • James

    too many indian working at microsoft

  • phil

    I agree that this is poor programming on Microsoft’s part. With a laptop in multiple locations, I don’t want to disconnect drives. Why can’t they use the standard “Save AS” window that other programs use?

  • Mary

    This has driven me crazy!!!! and such a simple solution. Thank you

  • Oppfinnar Jocke

    It’s really amazing that MS ships a much-hyped product like Office 2007 with this defunct behavior. As many have already said, with laptops you don’t want to connect/disconnect drives manually.

    I guess the real problem is that no-one at MS really uses Office, they just develop… otherwise this problem would have been noted and fixed long ago…
    // OppfinnarJocke

  • PB

    I tried this but it was not the fix for my issue. We have a Novell network, and all drives are connected. Every time Office still initializes the root folders. Any other suggestions?

  • Henry Robinson

    Good old Microsoft. I think thart one of their design principles is, “if it works, break it”.

  • Anthony

    Thanks for the tip. The nuisance is now explained.

  • Sathi

    This is the first hit from google. It helps me a lot. It works great. Thank you very much

  • TM

    I too have a user with this issue on a Novell network. None of the network drives are disconnected (nor do they show as being disconnected). He gets the initializing root folder dialogue and then when he clicks on the folder once they’re displayed Word just hangs. He is able to browse to the same folder using My Computer or by right clicking on start and picking Explorer.

    Any ideas for us Novell users with this issue?

  • Harold

    Wow, I put up with this issue for over a year. I can’t believe it was that easy to fix. Thank you!!!

  • ivan

    thanks a lot too! it’s one less headache…

  • Sean

    Deleting mapped drives is not practical when the portable computer moves from network to network. There needs to be a better option / control of this feature in Office 07. We have sales people who have to connect to different networks. This feature means that they have to keep a list of drives to map to for each location, and delete / remap when they want file access. This is completely unacceptable. These are sales people, not computer people, and making them do this sort of work is going backwards, in terms of computing servicability. This can’t be an uncommon situation for professionals. Modbility and transparancy are key to business productivity. There has to be a better answer.

  • Ben

    Sean, I feel your pain.

    Are you in charge of these networks? I’m going to assume your environment includes Windows somewhere along the authentication path. Maybe you could automate drive mapping for each specific network with a set of login scripts?

  • Sean

    Thanks Ben. Problem is complex, with 3rd parties, separate head office network, and peer to peer mappings. Scripts will work, but also looking for way to quickly kill the process or disable on demand. I will post any useful discoveries.

  • Wayne

    I agree that this is a total pain and would hope that MS provide a proper fix, upgrade to Vista… :-(
    I guess a work around for those users on the move between sites is to create seperate desktop batch files (per site), which map network drives using the faithful NET USE G: \\servername\sharename command. At the end of a seesion the user could then run the NET USE G: \\servername\sharename /DELETE to disconnect the drives and eliminate this particular issue? Just a thought.

  • Tim

    One thing I don’t see noted here is that MS Office products are the only ones with this issue. It’s a pain to try to remember to connect and disconnect drives every day. I can’t imagine it would be that difficult to check if a drive is attached before spending minutes searching for it.

  • Erik

    Thank you very much. Useful info indeed!

  • Brian

    So is there a fix for this very annoying problem? Is there a way to get rid of the “value added feature”? I don’t want to map and un-map drive as I move around and/or VPN on my laptop.

  • Jamie

    I think the feeling I’m getting is that, no, there is no fix, just workarounds which are not feasable for many users. This is a total cock-up on MS part. An infuriating, stupid, dumb, childish bug.

  • Chang9851

    Just sharing with your, hope it help. For those having slow file searching or open, try to turn off the “automatically search for network folder and printers” in folder options.

    Go to Control panel then select folder option, click on view tab then uncheck the “automatically search for network folder and printers”.

  • Saleem

    Very Good Solution.Saved me lot of time.It was driving me crazy

  • Roy

    Good workaround. No solution. It is clear that too many people are willing to accept just a workaround.

    Look, when you click on your “My Computer” icon, any unmapped drives show up as “Unmapped Drive.” Therefore, going in to any polling for drives that triggers the ‘Initializing Root Folders’ routine, Office knows (or can know) that the drives are disconnected. It is a simple matter for Microsoft to check that value before setting of looking for unconnected drives.

    Come on, Microsoft. This is not rocket science. (Okay, maybe it is rocket science, but it is nevertheless basic stuff for a programmer.)

    And that the problem existed (at least) in Office2003 and not fixed by 2007, with as many postings on boards as there are about this problem, is simply arrogant.

  • pierougo

    may be a suggestion for anyone? My history. May be that I am the only one so tired to wait “Initializing the root folders…” so I uninstalled office 2007 and reinstalled office 2003!!!
    the problem remains… sigh.. sigh.. I continue waiting when I open folders in Word, in Excel…but NOT (!!!) when I open in Notepad. naturally I don’t know why. but this means that there is a dll (or something other)changed by office 2007, that remains in windows even disinstalling office. the new installation of office 2003 doesn’t put the old dll. you can believe that it is a BASIC driver to find folders, but I think that it isn’t, because notepad and paint use another driver and this one works well, unchanged. I hope that if someone can find the .DLL (or something other) that office 2007 puts in windows, may be that re-moving this one and reinstalling the old one, the painfully problem of “Initializing the root folders…” will be solved. whitout connecting and disconnecting drives every hour… Is there anyone able to find it? Thanks

  • Jeremy


    I had a user with this problem…got rid of the bad drive, cleared it right up.

    Thanks a ton!

  • Arghhg

    Yeah great, then when I go back to the place where I have my 15 mapped drives I have to re-connect them all.

    Just great, yeah… really f*%cking :-(

  • joe

    that was great it fixed it

  • Piet
  • Jenny

    Oh my, you don't know how much this problem had bugged me. I only wish I had googled it sooner. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

  • Jenny

    Oh my, you don't know how much this problem had bugged me. I only wish I had googled it sooner. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

  • elvis

    That worked…It was awesume.. thanks

  • C Cook

    Thanks so much for this! I though it was related to my fussy RAID array and am glad to know it isn't. I am relieved to know that this is the reason and it was so easy to fix. THANKS!

  • Pierce

    I owe you a beer.

  • edreaux

    How do I know which mapped drive is causing the problems? Or do i need to discconect all of them? If so, then what is the point of having maps to start with? Thanks.

  • tom

    Thanks – this helped!!

  • Ziad

    Thank you very much it worked with me when I disconnect the network drives.

  • Allowishes

    When disconnecting mapped drives doesn’t work:

    Old HP drivers…I just removed the printers.

  • Peter

    Thnx for your great help.

  • Deuk

    Thanx for the solution / workaround!

    Irritating that anno 2009 you still have to solve basic problems this way…

  • MA

    THX for the solution! quick fix.

  • Alexwebmaster

    Hello webmaster
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  • Teef

    Good stuff, many thanks for the advice and restoration of my sanity.

  • Scott

    Can someone tell me how to disconnect a network drive? I seem to have a mapping for an F drive (DVD) that doesn’t exist. How do I get rid of this?
    This error is driving me crazy.

  • Ben

    Open regedit and find:


    Delete the ##server#share key near the top and reboot. That should do it in most cases.

  • Jon

    i deleted indexing software from my computer and it made all the difference. Google desktop search and Windows desktop search 4.0 are the programs i have gotten rid of to fix the problem.

  • Rashton

    Thanks lots. this bug really frustrated me. the few seconds it wastes, is my time lost

  • Steeple

    Top beans, that sorted it.

  • Jim

    Thanks Ben!

  • sunil

    pls help me how to fix this problem, Initilizing the root folder to display problem how to fix in win xp, when try to save as any excel or word file to local drives this problem will occur,

  • Simon T Wilde

    Thank you It worked

  • http://NA hb

    this was my first hit, too. I work for a large corporation and was just working around the problem for the past 6 mos–this tip will save me a LOT of TIME!

  • techgreg

    you totally nailed it! I was stumped and was inconvienenced but now its fixed with your solution!

  • Rich

    Open Office does not have this problem

  • gdc


  • deepak

    but i do want to disconnect a map network drive is there any other option

  • Richard

    Most of you are simply repeating one another “i dont want to delete a disconnected mapping”. Change your thought stream and find a tool or write a simple batch script that automatically maps drives when you start your OS or click an icon.

  • txinkpen

    Perfect! Finally fixed this very annoying problem. Thanks!

  • tekamthi
  • Agradecido

    Thank you ladies and gentlemen. Great that people like you still exist.

  • TerryF

    Yet another workaround would be to not assign any network drives at startup.
    Write a batch files(s) with desktop ICONs that connect you to the required network drives – simple and do-able.

    Desktop ICON say Network Connnect
    The batch file has the required connections:
    net use J:\\servername\sharename

  • Arnold

    Great help; got my issue fixed one of my mapped network drive was disconnected

  • Bernard

    TerryF, no that does not work, sorry.

  • Siva

    It fixed my problem

  • Kathir

    Thanks. It fixed my problem and saved my time

  • Len Spyker

    Thanks: After 30 years of software development could not believe that a simple disconnected network would be the issue.
    I had a USB wireless modem link set up that I unplugged due to port shortage.
    “Another day, another Windows patch and as always a even slower Windows. Bring back DOS 1.1.”

  • Eric Tambogon

    Wow! It’s that simple. Thanks.

  • D


  • JC

    My workaround (I agree with the comment that said ‘too many Indians’)

    If I am looking for a place inside the local computer, I UNPLUG THE NETWORK CABLE, but if the drive is in another computer, or you use wireless, no luck.

    Microsoft WILL NOT fix this problem because there are people outside like here who find workarounds to keep M$ expenditure down.

  • dbreck

    Stud! Thanks for the tip.

  • Lynette

    Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This has been driving me crazy especially when downloading MS Outlook attachments.

  • Yaniv

    Works for me

  • Mahesh

    Thanku my dear friend

  • rozy

    Wow very simple solution that fixed very annoying problem. Many Thanks!

  • yosuperyo

    My Novell mapped drives are all connected but it still shows the same problem. Can someone help?

  • Ben

    I can honestly say I’ve got no idea why this is happening w/ a Novell share. And unfortunately, I don’t have the ability to replicate this setup in a lab environment.

    Are you really running a Novell server or is it SUSE Linux?

  • ilyas

    thank you so much its simple thing but hard to find, thax again

  • lme

    For Novell Users try this as it worked for me:

    Net use * /delete to kill all mappped drives then logout and login and let the login script re-map them.

  • Jim

    Perfect! Simple solution to an issue that was driving me crazy. Thanks!!

  • Eileen

    Woo Hoo!! easy fix when you know whats wrong. Thanks for the help!

  • Kathy

    Disappointing, I just finnly got Remote Desktop to work with my office {C and the re-mapping drives will now be required every time I want do it…and it was supposed to be easier.

  • shinto

    its cool

    thnx a lot

  • Sandeep Oke

    That’s great… worked like a charm. Thanks a lot

  • Doug

    And this is one more reason why so many people are going Mac’s. This fixed the issue, but it is very unproductive not that I have to remap my drives when I need them.

  • Jonnya

    Thanks, found you by google on top. It was the issue!!

  • Doug

    Of course MS would not bother to fix the problem; they are in the business of creating problems.

    But even worse, once I finally get to a mapped folder and double-click to go to a subfolder, it takes yet another 30 sec, and each time I go to a deeper folder, I have to wait 30 sec more. What is this? Are these people complete idiots?

  • Scuffy

    why then does all the rest of my programs find what I am looking for without any hesitation.

  • FIL

    Thanks, Awesome

  • PeterN

    Thank you. The Microsoft website had *nothing* on this extremely annoying problem. From the numerous kudo messages, it is obviously a big issue. You have save me much frustration.

  • Johnny Moore

    This has been driving me mad for a long time. Your fix worked! Thanks!

  • A Non E Moose

    Please change the title from FIX “Initializing the Root Folders to Display” to WORKAROUND Initializing the Root Folder to Display”.

    workaround [ˈwɜːkəˌraʊnd]
    (Electronics & Computer Science / Computer Science) a method of circumventing or overcoming a problem in a computer program or system

    A TRUE fix would fix the issue so that a user would not have to “disconnect” their mapped network drives each time!

  • Monique

    Recently I installed the backup software Acronis, true image home 2009. Ever since I get this problem as well ‘initializing …’. when I start the computer it takes now such a long time when I can start working. How to solve this problem…… the disconnect network drive does not work…..

  • Louise

    Thank you for the advice – it worked a treat. I have been frustrated with this for so long… all sorted – THANKS!

  • carita

    Instead of clicking on the drop down list, click on one of the options in the column on the left side, such as My Documents or My Computer. This has always worked for us.

  • SN

    excellent… you just made my day buddy… thank you so much

  • david alster

    Everyone seems to be happy but I still don’t know what to do to solve the problem

  • Jonathan

    Thank you Ben for a nice, clear solution. Great!

  • jwulf1092

    On Jan 20th 2010, Carita posted what seems to be a better workaround!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Way to go girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    She said: “Instead of clicking on the drop down list, click on one of the options in the column on the left side, such as My Documents or My Computer.” From this you can then click thru to a functioning mapped drive, or to whatever local folder you desire. EXCELLENT solution, now I just have to retrain myself for the way I normally do things…

  • James Gordon

    Wow…how horribly dysfunctional. Leave it to Microsoft to create a problem that no other piece of software has by being overwritten and wanting to behave like it owns the environment. Another step towards Open Office.

  • hsha

    thanks man disconnecting the map drive helped get rid of the error.

  • Stefan.Blixt

    People say this more eloquently earlier in this thread, but it can’t be stressed enough – Microsoft will keep impressing you with their ability to be worst in class on all fronts until the revolution comes and the company is erased from existance.

  • kenorasis

    Holy crap! Thanks!

  • Ram

    Great info mate… Problem solved… Cheers…

  • Sussan Ockwell

    Gosh, thank you.

  • Feroz

    Wow… Great answer, this immediately fixed my issue. Thanks a lot.

  • Jan

    I see this hasn’t been said before, so I’ll say it
    Fixed this very annoying problem! Thanks!

  • Nancy

    Thanks! I’d just figured this was a default Microsoft setting. Worked right away.

  • Lammeck KAJUBI

    Thanks buddy!…. This wasn’t a problem until we networked entire company. Thanks to Google (your advice came No 1.) I nearly smashed my screen with rage waiting for folders to open all day! MICROSOFT Quality Assurance Team wake up! Oh ok… I always forget they have none!

  • nilla

    Carita’s workaround works great without having to delete disconnected network drives.
    Thank you, Carita.

  • Asmodues

    Still really annoying. I use alot of servers, and from time to time they will not be available. Nice work around, but not a real fix. Can’t believe MS doesn’t address this. They fix other little experience related problems, but this issue has caused me to lose work and time over and over.

  • Valera10
  • Kaz

    Thank you – it worked a treat after months of suffering a slow computer!

  • chemello

    domo arigato, gracias

  • Nelson

    Thank you so much for this solution, it was a great help!

  • Karl

    This fixed worked for my Terminal Server users:

  • George

    I am getting this message and delay, but this is my home desk top and it is not on any network.

  • A R Babu

    hi…dear thanks for this help on inetrnet or in ur web page …reallly thanks

  • Bryan Rosales

    Thanks. It also fixed the problem of my office mate.

  • Abdullah

    Thanks man… It is perfect…

  • Albin Sebastian

    Thanks ,

    The problem was due to a inactive network drive in my computer. just disconnected that

  • Michele

    Thanks – this has been driving me crazy! Our take had no clue as to how to fix this!

  • Terry2010

    Thankyou Chang9851 I tried disconnecting drives and it did not work. I tried fixing my CD ROM. But by unchecking the Automatic detection of folders and printers it solved the issue. God damn microsoft, why don’t they fix this?

  • Rolando

    Network drives showed as disconnected. I just clicked on them and oppened them up in My Computer and it worked. Thanks!

  • vasu

    thanks. this fixed my issue.

  • Will

    Thanks, that was easy!

  • zeilstar

    Thanks for the workarounds Ben and Carita. What a hassle… might be time to switch to OpenOffice.

  • zeilstar

    Normal connected mapped drives were showing up in explorer, however, when I right clicked on My Computer and clicked ‘Disconnect Network Drive’ a few unnamed connections were there. After removing those the problem was resolved.

  • Hazrul

    Thank you! This solved the problem.

  • Sara

    Thank you Zelisstar, that saved me alot of time.

  • mauri

    Great tip mate! saved a lot of troubleshooting time!

  • gary

    Thanks this helps.
    How do you determine which network drive is disconnected or awaiting credentials?

    I see this has been a problem since 2007 and yet Microsoft can’t manage to fix it in 3 years??

  • Joachim


    Go onto “My computer” and it should be displayed.

  • Vorathep

    Awesome tip, thank you so much.

  • Vern

    I have a networked HP all in one printer. The problem was caused by the memory stick slots being available in case I plug a stick in.

    Disconnecting them does solve the issue. I remember when XP first came out it had a similar bug that I fixed by downloading a hotfix.

    This isn’t the first time Microsoft has fell into this trap. I still like Office 2003 better. They took away the ability to scan directly into Excel in 2007, and replaced a small toolbar with one that is too big to leave open. Boo!

  • thanks

    it works , thank you!!

  • marcus

    Worked like a charm! Thanks

  • Darren

    Disconnecting and re-mapping the network drive worked for me as well :)

    Thanks for the help

  • Bruce

    It worked!!! Thanks.

  • Peter

    The solution described works perfectly, thank you.

    The problem is, are we going to remember to log in to all our mapped drives before trying to save an Office document? What if we have a LOT of mapped drives? What if we travel and don’t always have access to them?

    Microsoft needs to fix this BS. They charge enough for their products that they should work properly.

    Here’s a solution: Try Open Office. Whatever Microsoft can do, someone else can do better.

  • Scott @ March 7th, 2011

    Awesome! first hit and the issue is no resolved. Many thanks.

  • susil chavan

    wow!!!!!!!!its preety smart fix

  • Tyrone

    Actually, there’s nothing wrong with my network drives. They are simply big, over 4TB. Is there any way to suppress this entirely? There is no valid reason for Office to be looking at my network drives unless I tell it to.

  • maus

    This is total BS!!! We HAVE to have over 20 drives mapped at all times. Some are available and some are not at any given moment. Is there another work-around?

  • Elaine

    Thank you! this completely fixed the problem! It has been driving me crazy for over a month! Thanks!

  • Elaine

    for those that are having problems with many mapped drives- when you map the drive check the box “automatically connect at login”. It should help since you only need to login once.

  • Tom

    Thanks, it seemed to work. Have been bother by this for months when it occured to me I could google the problem. This was the topmost hit.

  • Samuel Mungujakisa

    Annoying glitch by M$$ft. What with indexing and all, they were good ideas, just very badly implemented. Network drives should be searched only when a user clicks on it, not when one clicks on the drop-down menu.
    The solution worked for me btw… thanks.

  • Solomon

    Awesome. That thing was driving me nuts the last couple of months. Now it’s gone away, thanks to you!

  • Adriana Campos


    Muito obrigada, resolveu de cara o problema!
    Ainda bem que nós do suporte temos vcs!
    Grande abraço!

  • Yey!!!


  • ERic

    Just disconnected a non-working network drive, that fixed the problem.

  • Booker

    Brilliant. Works well now that I have disconnected other drives. Thanks for the info.

  • John

    Excellent Tip. I had not thought of orphaned drive mappings. Thank you!

  • luis

    I just started to have this problem after i joined my laptop to a new and different domain. Anyway it was very very annoying. Thank you for your help.

  • PD

    Thanks man….this solved lot of my problem

  • Jill M Gorrie

    Thank you so much! Our help desk fixed the problem for about a day but never told me what they did and obviously didn’t fix it. I just disconnected all drive mappings not needed & problem has resolved.

  • Mark Clabaugh

    I am a developer and I clearly understand networking. I get the same error on a Windows XP machine, “Initializing the root folders to display” and the file open dialog hangs. After several seconds the folders appear.

    At one time I assummed a service might be killed, becasue I had once experieced this issue and restarted the Windows Search Service and it fixed this in a previous version of office.

    I have unmounted, remounted all my network drives. Using the run menu I have run \\servername\share – this opens Fast and OK.

    What I do have is built in memory card readers on this machine which I cannot un-mount and when the file dialog does come back it appears to complaint about one of these drives.

    Anyone have any ideas how to address this?

  • E Herrington

    Also something of note, if this is happening on a TS session, check to see if redirected drives from the local machine are causing the issue. That is what is was for me.

  • Deddy

    Thank a lot for your help.

  • David

    Thanks for the fix. This problem in my situation was down to mapped drives to a desktop that had been shutdown. After disconnecting the disconnected mapped drives, the problem was resolved.

  • Laura

    Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Ralph

    I have a simple laptop with no network drives.
    Do you have any idea on what else might be causing the “initializing folder” message and associated problem. I would appreciate any help.


  • Jadwiga

    Thank you for this fix, it was driving me mad each time I was trying to save any office files. Must say that our technical people did not know how to help me which is rather sad. Thanks again will pass this on to other people with this problem.


  • Евгения

    Профессиональный фотограф в Самаре Евгения Уварова

  • Nahidul

    It did not work.The folder is in my local pc…

  • Nahidul

    It did not work. All the files are in my local computer…

  • Wright

    This was awesome. I normally hate researching my problems on-line but you have made me a believer. I have a major proposal to submit and this problem would have not allowed me time to make my deadline…you save our largest opportunity to grow our business. Thanks

  • Derek

    Thanks, this fixed my problem. I had mapped drives at the home office and they didn’t work now that I was away.

  • Lina0707

    This fixed my issue. Thank you so much

  • James

    Just removed a diconnected drive not needed.

    Issue resloved.


  • Iain

    Solved my problem – thank you!

  • jamie

    Worked Beautifully …

    Thanks ….

  • Daniel

    Issue fixed…TY
    Unbeleivable that the same issue has been going on since 2007 in diffrent OS and not resolved by Microsoft yet

  • Sale

    Nice and easy! Many Thanks!

  • Darren

    Problem resolved!! Thank You So Much!!

  • Maggie

    Thank you so much! It was driving me crazy.

  • Jeff Kyker

    Awesome! Worked perfectly.
    I had deleted some of them, based on another post, but after seeing yours, I deleted all links in the network neighborhood and it worked!

  • Darian Taylor

    I can’t believe this fixed it. I couldn’t save anything, because the root folders were never actually found (it just kept trying). I disconnected a network from the printer, and that did the trick. Thanks!

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