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XP Tweak – 8.3 file names and speeding up your computer

February 18th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Now that most of you are off of Windows 98 and ME, I would like to share this little tweak.

Files that use the 8.3 naming convention can degrade NTFS drive performance. Unless you have a good reason for keeping the 8.3 naming convention intact (such as if you’re using 16-bit programs), a performance gain can be achieved by disabling it.

Since this is a registry edit, don’t forget this little story…

Watch out T. Rex! Many people believe that the dinosaurs were wiped out by the Comet of Dataallgone. The fact is that the king of the dinosaurs forgot to backup his data and registry and was too arrogant to be cautious as he edited the registry on his new super duper high tech laptop computer. As a result he lost all of his data and had to reinstall the computer from scratch. The one thing that he forgot to put back in his appointment book was to keep looking to the Heavens for a sign and sure enough the comet came and the dinosaurs were left unprepared.


So do EXACTLY as shown below, do NOT deviate. The registry is the DNA of a computer. Just like with human DNA you must be very careful when dealing with it. You MUST follow my listed steps carefully or very bad things will happen.

  1. To back up the registry go to Start | Run
  2. There will appear a Run dialog box. Type in regedit then click OK.
  3. When the registry opens click one time on My Computer (to make sure it is highlighted)
  4. Now choose File | Export
  5. The Export Registry File windows will now open. You now choose the location to backup to (I strongly suggest the C: drive).
  6. On my systems there are icons on the left side and one is My Computer, by clicking on that and then in the right window pane clicking twice on Local Disk C: I can save to the root of my drive just in case there is an issue.
  7. Now type in a name I usually type in something like RegBU021809 where the numbers are the date (that way I know when I made the backup at a glance.
  8. Before continuing, make sure that under Export Range (at the bottom of the window) the All button is selected.
  9. Click on Save.

That is all there is to it!

Now, back to our tweak and way to speed up Windows XP.

  1. You should still have the registry window open. By clicking on the “+” (plus) symbols you need to navigate the left column to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE | SYSTEM | CurrentControlSet | Control | FileSystem | NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation
  2. NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation and select Modify from the choices. A new window that appears. There is a Value Data box on that you need to change from 0 to 1.
  3. Exit the registry and reboot for the change to take effect.

Tags: Backing up · Optimizing · Speeding Up

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 John // Mar 12, 2009 at 10:09 am

    You actually listed the procedure for NT/2000.

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/121007

    “Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP To disable the 8.3 name creation on all NTFS partitions, type fsutil.exe behavior set disable8dot3 1 at a command prompt, and then press ENTER.”

    Basically, Start | Run and then type CMD to get a command prompt. But make extra sure before doing this that there are no older apps hanging around or they’ll likely be lost when looking for paths/files..I know this from experience! 🙂

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