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disablentfsaccesstime

Disable NTFS Access Time

The NTFS file system used in MS Windows operating systems is in fact some sort of database that keeps track of all the changes that happen on your hard disk. It uses a couple of file system attributes for that, the Created, Modified and Accessed timestamps. The first two are fairly common and are available by default in Windows explorer:
ntfs-explorer01.jpg
To see the accessed attribute click the “More…” option on the bottom of the list in the picture above:
ntfs-explorer02.jpg
Which results in an explrer view like this:
ntfs-explorer03.jpg

The NTFS driver automatically updates this timestamp every time a file is accessed, whether for reading or writing. The timestamp lists the date on which the file was last accessed and whether the file was opened and read or changed and saved.That means that every time you browse through a folder, view folder contents, Windows and the storage is busy updating the file timestamps.
In most cases the Accessed timestamp does not add much useful information so you might consider to turn this feature off. In the combined NetApp/VMware Storage best practices guide the recommendation is to turn this feature off unless it's a fileserver to prevent issues with your backup solution.

Default Setting

So what's the default setting. In Windows Server 2000 and 2003 the default was to update this timestamp. In Windows Server 2008 this has changed to not update this timestamp.

See the technet resources for this setting for Windows Server 2000 and 2003:
Windows Server 2000
Windows Server 2003

Note that I can't find the technet article on this setting for Windows Server 2008. It has changed, I'm sure and I've checked but I can't find the official document. Does anyone has the link?

Enabling and Disabling

There are two ways to disable/enable this feature, through the registry and by using fsutil.

Registry

  • Start regedit.exe
  • Go to KEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem
  • Enter the desired value:
    • 0 : Update the access timestamp (default in Windows Server 2000/2003)
    • 1 : Do not update the access timestamp (default in Windows Server 2008)

> Note that you have to restart the computer to take this change into effect.

FSUTIL

FSUTIL behavior set disablelastaccess 1
FSUTIL behavior set disablelastaccess 0
disablelastaccess {1|0}: Disables (1) or enables (0) updates to the Last Access Time stamp on each directory when directories are listed on an NTFS volume. You must reboot your computer for this parameter to take effect.

Taken from: FS util behavior

Resources

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disablentfsaccesstime.txt · Last modified: 2013/04/30 14:53 by sjoerd