System slow or pausing browsing network folders

Windows XP:  Browing files or folders on a network results in the PC pausing and becoming unresponsive for a long time.

This is commonly caused by non-existent or disconnected network drives or old mapped drives in "My Computer", or inaccessible network locations in "My Network Places".

Firstly, <Right-Click> and delete inaccesible shortcuts in the "My Network Places" folder.  This may be slow and behave as described above.  Once removed, restart the system and re-test.  Compare to another PC on the network if possible.

If the problem is still not resolved, mapped network drives can also have a similar effect if they are set to "Reconnect at login", as is common.

Make a list of the connected drive letters, ensuring they are all accessible from the current login.

<Right-Click> and disconnect them in turn.  Restart the PC and re-create the same mappings as a test.  If this resolves the problem, consider using a batch file to create non-persistent drive mappings at login.  This is generally a better long-term solution.