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ED#179 : Why It's Really Time To Ditch (And Strip) The Short Filename Rev. 2.1
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Why You Should Also Strip The Short Filenames

Most users stop at disabling the creation of short filenames, but this only stops NTFS from creating new short filenames. All short filenames that were created before the feature was disabled remain in the system. This prevents you from receiving the full benefits of using only the long filename.

Contest iconNow, you may be wondering just how much performance benefit you stand to gain from stripping the old short filenames from the system. You may even have read articles stating that any performance benefit would be minimal, if non-existent. After all, the short filenames have already been created, so why should they have any more negative effect on performance as long as new ones do not need to be created?

Well, Jose Barreto, a member of the File Server team at Microsoft investigated this and discovered the following results :

Performance improvement after disabling and stripping 8.3 file names

As you can see, disabling the 8.3 file name creation immediately improved the speed at which NTFS creates new files, but for you to benefit from 10x faster directory enumeration, you must strip off the old short filenames.

The Solid State Drive Optimization Guide


Using The Command Prompt

  1. Open up the Command Prompt in Administrator mode. You can do this by searching for "cmd" and right clicking on it and select "Run as administrator".

Running the Command Prompt in Administrator mode

  1. Option A : Type "fsutil.exe 8dot3name strip /s C:" and press Enter. This is the safer method, because it avoids files whose short filenames are listed in the Registry. Removing those short filenames "may lead to unexpected application failures, including the inability to uninstall programs".

Disabling NTFS Short Filename

Please note that if there is even one file with a short filename that is listed in the Registry, fsutil will cancel the operation with the following error message :

The operation failed because registry entries refer to 8dot3 names in the specified path.

Disabling NTFS Short Filename

This normally occurs in the boot partition, particularly in the Program Files folder, so circumvent the Program File folders and apply the fsutil commands above to the other folders in the boot partition.

Credit for this finding and screenshot goes to Jeremy Choo from AmmoBox Studios.

Option B : Type "fsutil.exe 8dot3name strip /f /s C:" and press Enter. This removes all short filenames, even if they are listed in the Registry. This may lead to problems with the software you installed, especially their uninstallation, but will give you the best performance possible.

Disabling NTFS Short Filename

  1. For the purpose of our demonstation, we are going to use Option B. After you press Enter, fsutil will scan the registry and report how many short filenames are listed in the Registry. Then it will begin to strip the short filenames from every file in the volume.

Disabling NTFS Short Filename

  1. This will take a couple of minutes, especially if you have a lot of files in the volume, or have allowed NTFS to create short filenames for a long time. After fsutil is done stripping the short filenames, it will list the number of files and directories scanned and how many short filenames it found and stripped.

Disabling NTFS Short Filename

  1. This only strips all short filenames from the C: volume. You will need to repeat this for every volume or drive in your system.

While this could take a while, the good news is that the effect is instantaneous - you do not need to reboot Windows.

Hard disk drive myths debunked

Tech Explainer

Here are additional details on the available fsutil options for 8dot3name. :

/f - Specifies that all files that are located in the specified DirectoryPath will have the 8dot3 file names removed even if there are registry keys that point to files using the 8dot3 file name. In this case, the operation removes the 8dot3 file names, but does not modify any registry keys that point to the files that are using the 8dot3 file names.

Microsoft specifically warns that "you back up your directory or volume prior to using the /f parameter because it may lead to unexpected application failures, including the inability to uninstall programs."

/s - Specifies that the operation should be applied to the subdirectories of the specified DirectoryPath.

/t - Specifies that the removal of 8dot3 file names should be run in test mode. All operations except the actual removal of the 8dot3 file names are performed. You can use test mode to discover which registry keys point to files that use the 8dot3 file names.

/v - Specifies that all information that is written to the log file is also displayed on the command-line.

/l [<log file>] - Specifies a log file where information will be written. If the /l parameter is not specified, all information is written to the default log file:

%temp%\[email protected]( GMT YYYY-MM-DD HH-MM-SS ).log

The Hard Disk Drive Performance Comparison Guide

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How To Ditch (And Strip) The Short Filename


How To Disable The Creation Of Short Filenames
... Using The Command Prompt
... Using The Registry Editor


Why You Should Also Strip The Existing Short Filenames
How To Strip The Existing Short Filenames

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Revision History



Initial Release.



Added a new section on why you should also strip the short filenames.
Added a new section on how to strip the short filenames.



Added a warning on why some folders may cause failure to strip short file names, and how to circumvent the problem.

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