Tech Tip: Disable the last access update

Whenever a folder is opened from an NTFS volume on a Windows NT server, the system takes the time to update a timestamp field on each listed folder, called the last access time. On a heavily used NTFS volume, this can affect performance—although Microsoft claims it would take tens of thousands of folders to create a problem.

If you'd like to get a little extra performance out of your disk volumes, or if you have a large number of folders, you can disable this process and make directory lists more nimble. Follow these steps:

  1. Open the Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).
  2. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem.
  3. Look for NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate. If it doesn't exist, add this DWORD and set its value to 1, which will disable the process.
  4. Close the Registry Editor, and reboot the server.

Note: Editing the registry is risky, so make sure you have a verified backup before saving any changes.

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