Wednesday, June 13, 2007

How to improve the disk performance (NTFS)?

MFT (Master File Table) manipulations to improve disk performance

MFT stands for Master File Table.

Typically in Windows XP, if you are using NTFS (I would recommend it if you don't) by default NTFS would reserve 12.5% of your free disk space for MFT. MFT fragmentation could also cause a significant slow down. Let me discuss size first. Now if you have installed tons of different programs on your hard disk (or intend to do so), MFT utilization is going to be high. Under such situation, it may be beneficial to increase this percentage to say 25%. If you want to do this, here is the trick.

Open Registry using REGEDIT.EXE (you should be a administrator to do read and write operations in registry) and Navigate to


In right pane, add one more key by the name "NtfsMftZoneReservation" with the REG_DWORD value of 2. DWORD value of 1 is interpreted as 12.5%, 2 as 25% and so on.

Now you can feel the difference in terms of files/folders access (Read... and Write...) in the NTFS partition(s).

IMPORTANT: This procedure contains information about modifying the registry. Before you modify the registry, make sure to back it up and make sure that you understand how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For information about how to back up, restore, and edit the registry, click the following article numbers to view the Microsoft Knowledge Base articles:

256986 - Description of the Microsoft Windows Registry

322756 - HOW TO: Back Up, Edit, and Restore the Registry in Windows XP.

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