Speed Up the Windows File System

November 3, 2007 by
Filed under: PC Speed 

If you are running Windows XP and are using the NTFS file system, you might have noticed that NTFS seems slower than the old FAT or FAT32 file system. This is especially true if you have a low amount of RAM in your PC or if your disk is rather full. In the first case the disk caching will not be optimal and in the second instance a lot of fragmentation will occur.

There are some Windows tweaks that allow you to speed up the file system. One of these tweaks is to disable the NTFS function that keeps track of the last access of folders. If you do not need this functionality, here is how to disable it:

  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. In the Edit menu, select New and then select DWORD Value. Type NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate as the name.
  4. Right-click the new DWORD Value and select Modify in the popup menu.
  5. Enter a value of 1 as the Value data and click OK.
  6. Close the Registry Editor. Select Exit from the File menu.

This registry tweak will reduce the amount of disk access and speed up the PC. Especially with high disk usage applications, the resulting performance difference can be appreciated.

For maximum hard disk performance, also consider disabling the FAT16 file structures under NTFS.

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