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Disable NTFS Last Access

Sounds dangerous, doesn’t it? Modern versions of Windows prefer NTFS to manage files on your computer, but did you know that there is a feature you hardly use that you can turn off to make Windows open stuff a little faster?

What’s happening is that every time a file is accessed, you browse a folder, or just view its contents, the NTFS driver updates the timestamp. The timestamp lists the date on which the file was last accessed and whether or not any changes were made to the file. Regardless if it’s reading or writing the file this is done, which makes you wonder if those resources could be better spent elsewhere. So, since this feature doesn’t really add anything substantial for us in the information department, we can just disable it.


So here we go.

We’re going to use the FSUTIL command. To access this, open a command prompt by typing “cmd” in either your search box under the Start menu in Vista and 7, or by clicking Start>Run in Windows XP.

This will bring up the familiar DOS screen where you can type this line verbatim:

FSUTIL behavior set disablelastaccess 1

If for any reason this tip doesn’t work for you, then follow the instructions again and instead type:

FSUTIL behavior set disablelastaccess 0

This will turn NTFS Last Access back on for you.

One caveat, though. If you use the Remote Storage Service in Windows then you should not attempt this tip. If you don’t know what that is, then chances are you needn’t worry.