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Inspired by this answer, I realize I have no idea how to disable the last accessed attribute in Windows to increase performance. If you can, how?

I know in Linux you can mount the partition with the 'noatime' option, but is there a similar feature in Windows for NTFS?

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Oooh, this will be a good one, +1 – Avery Payne Jun 30 '09 at 16:30
I split the difference between Sven's and J Rennie's answers - they both answer the question but provide different information. – romandas Jun 30 '09 at 17:31
just a comment about the linux "noatime": in many cases it's safer (and almost as efficient) to use "relatime", with linux fs/kernels >2008. relatime will write the atime only if the file was updated since the last atime, or X days/hours passed (default 24h?). – Olivier Dulac Dec 17 '15 at 17:07
up vote 7 down vote accepted
fsutil behavior set disablelastaccess 1

But be careful, some program (especially backup programs) might need this.

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Accepted -- nice use of fsutil. +1 went to the reg entry and the technet link from J Rennie. – romandas Jun 30 '09 at 17:23
I don't see why backup programs would use it? I think such software would rely on last modified attribute instead. – matt Aug 3 '12 at 12:39
@lucek: I agree that it should but the Windows platform is full of cheap crap made by morons without a clue and unfortunately, "backup" software people use is way too often the ultra-cheap crap from the last corner of India or China that is preloaded onto equally cheap external disks or thumb drives they use for backup purposes. Since I don't trust that this stuff gets the basics done right, I wrote the warning that it might have side effects to turn these attributes off. – Sven Aug 3 '12 at 13:04

The HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem\NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate (docs) registry entry is a REG_DWORD that can be:

  • 0: update the last-access timestamp, and record each change in the NTFS log (default)
  • 1: don't update the last-access timestamp, and don't record time stamp updates in the NTFS log

Whether it makes much difference is debatable.


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+1 for the registry entry and technet link -- I was rather torn as to which would be 'better', but wanted to promote the use of fsutil. – romandas Jun 30 '09 at 17:24

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