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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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  • 2
    Oooh, this will be a good one, +1 Jun 30, 2009 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, 2009 at 17:31
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    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?). Dec 17, 2015 at 17:07

2 Answers 2

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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, 2009 at 17:23
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    I don't see why backup programs would use it? I think such software would rely on last modified attribute instead.
    – matt
    Aug 3, 2012 at 12:39
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    @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, 2012 at 13:04
  • Is this still working on Windows 10?
    – Jake
    Dec 29, 2016 at 1:38
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    Note that it's not just bad programs that use it: MS's own AgeStore tool for removing old .pdb debug symbols from, e.g., your local cache uses it, too, which can cause issues since Vista switched the default.
    – SamB
    May 28, 2019 at 22:27
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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.

JR

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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, 2009 at 17:24
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    I did this before plugging in a cheap USB2 flash drive that is formatted in NTFS with lots of files. The read performance increase is HUGE! Thank you. I also created .reg files on my desktop to turn the feature on and off. Aug 29, 2019 at 20:29

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