Update: The slowness was completely caused by the .docx format of Word documents. The documents were converted to traditional .doc and the issues were resolved.
When mapping a samba share in Windows 7 there is something very wrong. The shares map the exact same way as in Win vista, and comparable to the method in Windows XP; but the performance is horrible. There is definitely something wrong with mapping network drives resulting in extremely slow communication. This topic comes up because of a recent experience where opening any Word document on the share results in a warning dialog box that the file is not available for read/write access. You can always select the bottom option “notify me when this file is available for read/write”, but who wants to wait to open a file that is not being edited by anyone else.
The file is definitely not open by anyone else. The file is not locked, or read only. There is simply a substantial delay in the ability of Microsoft Word to open open documents stored on samba shares. There is nothing that resolves the issue. Changing channels in the router, and forcing it to be on N, to speed things up, does not resolve anything.
The fix will come as part of a service pack. Its nice that Microsoft Windows is closed source. Now we will have to wait an unknown amount of time for this problem to be address. In the Linux community a bug report would have been filed, and some bored or interested tech guru would have investigated and likely addressed the issue by now!