This is not a question but rather a how-to guide in case this happens to you:
1. My first attempt to transcode video with VLC created a 72 GB video file on my Windows Desktop
2. Windows 7 and Windows Explorer suddenly became very, very slow and unresponsive.
3. ALL attempts to delete/recycle this huge file failed - Windows just couldn't do it.
4. This particular Windows user account became totally unusable - the large, undeleteable file on the desktop turned everything into slow-motion.
Solution I discovered:
1. Create a fresh Windows user account
2. Login to this new account
3. Download and install Fileboss: http://www.theutilityfactory.com/
4. Find the huge video file in the Fileboss GUI and delete it
5. Try emptying the recycle bin icon both in Fileboss and on your Windows desktop
6. On my system nothing happened for about 20 minutes after this
7. After 20 minutes Windows suddenly asked me "do you want to empty the recycle bin" - I chose "Yes"
8. The file was gone and everything returned to normal
One thing I've learned - never ever use the Windows desktop as a saving destination for video files.
If the file turns out huge - e.g. 50GB+ - your entire Windows OS may become slow and unstable.
I hope that this brief how-to helps some others who may find themselves in the same situation.
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I'm not exactly sure what the problem is/was but you can also use the Windows recovery option during boot for Windows 7. This will give you access to a DOS like command prompt, which can be used to delete files which for whatever reason won't delete and are causing problems. Years ago I had a MKV on my desktop which I made, and seemed to of been mistakenly associated with Win7 files or Win7 Explorer, as my computer never really fully booted the Windows 7 desktop and would not allow me to delete that file while in Windows. Had to delete it via the Win7 recovery prompt. It fixed it but still don't know what was going on.
I have single files above 250GB, albiet on secondary (nonboot) drives. So Win7 can handle such sizes. Your problem might be fragmentation relegated but just a guess.
The problem isn't the file size -- at least not directly. It's probably a file with a missing keyframe index. The Shell Extension that builds thumbnails and retrieves file statistics is parsing the file for details. Since this is part of the Windows Explorer GUI it runs at high priority in the background -- hence the sluggishness of Explorer. This used to be a big problem with Windows 7 but it was fixed a long time ago (at least for some containers).
You can delete such files from the command line.
This is one of the things I don't miss about Windows, I know many people consider Win 7 to be the best Windows ever made but every once in a while you come across one of those silly things like the OP describes, where the system just slows to a crawl over time or you come across a file that you can't move or delete despite using an admin account.
This is one of those times when a Live Linux thumb drive would have come in very handy, even if you can't stand Linux, a Live Ubuntu system on a thumb drive that you can boot from and access the NTFS drive to delete or move whatever you want can be just what the doctor ordered.
Of course if the drive is encrypted this won't work.
Another interesting idea is to redirect user profile folder (with desktop, documents etc) to another location (this is easy if you google for it).
The location could be on another PC over slow internet.. dont put 50Gb video on your desktop after that either
For the nth time, with the possible exception of certain Intel processors, I don't have/ever owned anything whose name starts with "i".
'Do I look absolutely divine and regal, and yet at the same time very pretty and rather accessible?' - Queenie
As others have said, never never store your precious files on the same partition as the OS. In fact, I have the OS on its own hard drive that's how paranoid I am about Windows galloping around my drives and metastasizing wherever it finds additional storage space. I also won't allow non-OS programs on any of the 19 partitions storing my files and they, too, occupy a separate hard drive.Flying around and ready to bite.