Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
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Disabling the File Access Timestamp
Figure 15-2: Disable legacy filename creation with the filesystem utility.
Disabling the File Access Timestamp
Every time you or an application accesses a file on your computer, the ilesystem
records the date and time and stores the timestamp in two locations. Simply
accessing a file requires the system to write to the master file table (MFT) and
the directory in which the file is located, which results in two writes for every
file read. Windows Explorer is one of the most read-intensive applications on
your computer. Nothing requires more reads to your ilesystem than browsing
through your files. In Windows 8, Explorer has a number of new file previews
that require even more file reads. All these file reads add up to extra timestamp
writes, resulting in slower performance.
The Microsoft NTFS engineers were smart enough to realize that all this
timestamp logging can get out of control very quickly, resulting in an even
greater performance slowdown. Applications usually open only a small chunk
of a file at a time, and then repeat the small chunk reads until the entire file
is open. This can generate hundreds and maybe even thousands of file reads,
depending on the file size and application. As you can imagine, many file reads
in a short amount of time can put a lot of extra load on the ilesystem. To handle
this problem, Microsoft designed NTFS to update only the last access timestamp
about every hour, which breaks down to just one, two-step timestamp update
for each file per hour. This solves the preceding problem, but it still has to do
two writes for every file; it just limits the need to update the same file over and
over again.
Disabling the file access timestamp is a great way to speed up Windows Explorer,
but it is not without side effects. Often, backup applications utilize the file access
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