I was starting to see some significant slow down in the performance of my Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). Basically reading and writing files to specific directories was way slow. I know I had documented this issue before and noted that the issue was related to SONAR's insistence on storing all the metadata files for each project (of which I have hundreds) in a single directory. While my knee jerk reaction at the time was to simply delete some of these files, the Wizard (aka EdO) noted last time that this was probably an issue with the Windows 8.3 naming convention.

In case you do not know the 8.3 file naming convention is a relic of 16 bit computing and it helps modern operating systems (32 bit and above) produce filenames that MS-DOS or 16-bit apps may access. The problem with this archaic naming system is that Windows literally scans all the files in a given folder to ensure that it does not produce a duplicate. This scanning may become noticeable once you have tens of thousands of files in a single directory.

In order to disable this behavior on Windows 2000 and Windows NT you can go to the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem – and set the value to 1.


For Windows 2003 and Windows XP there is a slightly easier way i.e. the File System Utility (FSUTIL). This command line application will quickly allow you to verify and\or configure a variety of file system related parameters. In order to update 8.3 setting use the following:

FSUTIL behavior set disable8dot3 1

For additional FSUTIL commands check out this site.

NOTE: If you happen to be using any 16 bit applications they will stop working.

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