March 07, 2012

Improving Initial First Access Time to Insight and SharePoint Folders By 98%

Are your Insight and SharePoint users complaining about how when they first try to access content from the server they are experiencing a delay?  Here’s how to fix it.

On Windows 7 by default the WebClient service is set to Manual and is not started.
Whenever you first access a SharePoint folder the WebClient must be started by the system.  This provides a lag and delay in accessing and reading the content of the SharePoint folder.  How big of a delay?

In the video [sorry for the poor quality - first time working with video in the blog], we can see that the WebClient service is set to the default Manual and is not started.  In Windows Explorer we have several SharePoint Network Location shortcuts.  Whenever I first attempt to open one of these SharePoint folders look at the delay in opening and the green progress bar while waiting on the WebClient service to start.

video

You can clearly see a 30 second delay waiting on the WebClient service to start followed by an additional 17 seconds for a total of 47 seconds waiting on Windows Explorer to finally return and display the content of the SharePoint folder.  So how does this translate to Solid Edge Insight initial access performance?

video

Again, clearly a 48 second delay waiting on the WebClient service to start and the folder list to return.

So how to improve this initial first access time?  Simply set the WebClient service to Automatic so that it is started and already running after initial boot up of the workstation.
Then reboot the workstation so that the service is started.  You must reboot the workstation for the change to take affect properly.  Simply setting to Automatic and then manually starting the service is not the same as rebooting.
And the difference in our initial first access times?  On Windows Explorer it takes 1 second for the SharePoint folder content to return.  Compared to the 47 seconds with the WebClient service set to Manual an overall 97.9 % improvement.

video

And with Solid Edge Insight?  It takes 3 seconds for the File Open to return the content of the SharePoint folder.  Compare this to the 48 seconds with the WebClient set to Manual and you have a 93.7% improvement.

video

In the grand scheme of things is improving the initial first access times really a huge improvement in overall performance?  Not really but there definitely is a delay in initial first access times.  Your users will notice this delay.  So it may well be prudent to just go ahead and set the WebClient service to Automatic on all your users workstations.  Share your thoughts below in the comments.

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