Disable FAT16 data structures when using NTFS

November 10, 2007 by
Filed under: PC Speed 

If you are running Windows XP or Windows Vista, you are most likely using the NTFS file system. Especially for larger hard disks, NTFS is the most efficient with storage space and it also offers better security options than the FAT file systems.

For compatibility reasons however, both Windows XP and Vista still create FAT16 data structures on disk. These data structures adhere to the 8 characters for filenames and 3 characters for file extensions rule. This data is in almost all cases not required at all, so it is better to disable it. The data structures take up unnecessary space and us up disk time. In short, it makes your PC slower.

So how do you speed up your PC by disabling this obsolete Windows function? As in many cases a simple registry change is needed. Follow the steps below to disable the 8.3 name creation under Windows XP and Vista:

  1. From the Windows Start menu, select Run. In the Run box, type regedit and click OK.
  2. In the Registry Editor, locate the following key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\
    FileSystem
  3. Double-click the DWORD entry with the name: NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation, and enter a 1 as the value.
  4. Close the Registry Editor. Select Exit from the File menu.

After this Windows will no longer create the FAT16 data structures and as a result your disk speed will improve, so your PC will be faster. The speed increase will probably be more noticeable with older or slower hard disks.

Also consider running a disk cleanup and disk defragmentation after this change to optimize your hard disk performance.

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