Wednesday, 19 December 2007

How to disable NTFS's Accessed timestamp in Windows XP

NTFS is essentially a huge database that keeps track of all the files stored on your hard disk. When you create, edit and then resave that file, NTFS creates an entry and records the date in the Created or Modified timestamp which you can view by accessing the Properties sheet of the file and check the Created or Modified entries.

NTFS also creates and keeps track of another timestamp called Accessed. This shows the date that the file was last accessed and whether the file was opened andread or changed and saved. Each time NTFS updates a file’s Properties sheet, an accompanying disk read/write operation occurs. Since the Accessed timestamp does not add much useful information, you may want to disable this waste ofconsider the read/write operation incurred to record it wasteful.

If you have an application installed, such as a search tool, that frequently accesses many files for a simple read operation, the operation required to update each file’s Accessed timestamp can drain your system’s performance. Fortunately, you can use disable the Accessed timestamp using the FSUtil command. Here’s how:

- Click Start -> Run
- Type cmd and press Enter
- Type in the following command:
FSUTIL behavior set disablelastaccess 1

If you wish to turn the Accessed attribute back on, simply repeat the command and replace 1 with 0.

Note: This tip applies only to Windows XP Professional.

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