When you create, edit, save or open a file in Windows® XP, every time the operating system adds a timestamp to the file indicating when it was modified or saved the last time. This can be helpful in some cases, if you need to learn the date and time of creation of a file.

However, the operation performed each time you access a file can slow your PC down to some extent. This is because whenever you are reading a file stored in your hard disk, a corresponding write is also being made to update the timestamp. The dual activity can consume CPU resources to a little extent. So, if you do not need to check timestamps of files frequently, it makes sense to disable this feature completely.

This feature can be turned off in Windows® XP in the following process:

  1. Click on Start button.
  2. Go to Programs > Accessories > Command Prompt
  3. Type the following command in the prompt: FSUTIL behavior set disablelastaccess 1 (Watch the spelling of the word “behavior” here. If you are used to writing in British English and spell the word as “behaviour”, the command will not work.)
  4. Press Enter and reboot your computer.
  5. Your PC should now have timestamps disabled. This will boost the performance of your PC to some extent and also help maintain your hard disk in good shape for longer.

If you need to enable timestamps in future for some reason, there is an easy way to do so. Simply open up command prompt again, as mentioned above in point no. 2. Now type in the following command at the prompt:

FSUTIL behavior set disablelastaccess 0

Press Enter and reboot your PC. You should see timestamps once again being marked on files by Windows® XP.

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