How to Improve Windows File Server Performance? | FileCloud

windows server 2012

A few modifications in the configuration of Windows Server 2012 can definitely speed up the file servers. Here are some tips:

The Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 both have a feature called SMB direct. This enables the use of network adaptors which have RDMA or Remote Direct Memory Access ability. The use of RDMA adaptors decreases the energy consumption by the CPU and helps the servers function at their full speed with minimum latency. The main features of the SMB direct include the following-

  • Very low CPU utilization: uses less number of CPU cycles while transferring data using the network.
  • Very low latency:  provides rapid responses to network requests.
  • High throughput:  makes sure that the network adaptors work in full coordination to transfer large amounts of data at uniform high speed without any lapses.

In spite of the presence of RDMA in the network adaptors, your file server can be overpowered by the sheer workload. So here are a few tips which will help you achieve windows server optimization with minimum efforts.

1) Switch to a high performance power plan

A consistently high workload on the server makes it quite slow. You should immediately consider switching to a high performance power plan if you want a smooth operating experience. A high performance power plan will ensure that your CPU is clocked at the highest speed irrespective of the load and it will prevent unnecessary parking of processor codes.

When the CPU is clocked at 100 percent all the time it improves the disk input and output at times of heavy load. Always be careful about your power plan as power settings have the proclivity to reset themselves after windows hotfixes are performed. So make sure you are on a Group Policy or a similar local machine policy.

How to set the power plan to a group policy?

  1. Log into your system server as a local admin.
  2. Go to the start screen and type
  3. Open a Microsoft Management Console from the results of the search.
  4. Go to the File menu and select the Add/Remove Snap-in option.
  5. Under the Available Snap-ins option, go to the Group Policy Object Editor and click on Add. Click on OK
  6. Go to the left panel and expand the Local Computer Policy and select Power Management from the available options.
  7. Double click on the Specify an Active Power Plan option in the central pane.
  8. Select Enabled and then Ok.

This is how you can activate the Group Policy on an existing file server on your system. So when the policy refreshes next this High Performance power plan will be automatically applied to the file server.

2) Disable the DOS 8.3 short file names

Did you know that your windows server carries around the dead weight of DOS 8.3 short file names? This is basically a way to enhance compatibility to older models of Windows Servers.

It is highly unlikely that you will need an 8.3 short file name for a server today. So why not disable this feature and give some extra speed to your windows server? Removal of these 8.3 names will not cause any glitch in the functioning of the file servers. And in any case the following methods give you a glimpse at the possible problems which may arise due to the removal of a DOS 8.3 short file name from the server system.

Experience shows that removing these 8.3 names can make directory indexing at least 10 times faster and the creation of files up to 60 times quicker. Disabling these 8.3 file names is a cakewalk for anyone who uses a windows server. Let us present you with a walkthrough to first check the status of the 8.3 file names and then disable the same.

How to check the status of the DOS 8.3 file names?

  1. Go to start screen and open a command prompt. You can also use the PowerShell icon on the taskbar on your desktop.
  2. Inside the window type the following: fsutil 8dot3name query d: and click ENTER. To look through other volumes you can replace d: with other volume names like c: or e:

The results obtained will be your volume state which shows whether the 8.3 name creation is active or inactive. It will also display the registry state of the files. For example, the image below shows that the creation options are disabled for both d: and g: volumes. The configuration of individual volumes is controlled by the registry state which will give you complete control over the 8.3 name creation settings of each and every volume in your system.

Disable the DOS 8.3 short file namesImage Source :

How to disable the 8.3 name creation of the files?

  1. Disabling the 8.3 name creation is pretty easy. You can simply type out fsutil 8dot3name set d: 1 and press ENTER.
  2. To remove the DOS 8.3 names of the already existing files you can type fsutil 8.3 name strip /s /v d: and press ENTER. The /s switch is mentioned to pull files with 8.3 names whose removal can cause problems in file server function. The /v switch is dedicated to perform verbose output.

You should definitely select proper hardware to meet the daily necessary workload. You need to calculate the average load, peak load, growth plans and capacity for windows server optimization. For achieving the best possible speed you should reconsider your hardware options as well. The lack of updated hardware can cause a bottleneck of file load and this will prevent any kind of software fine tuning.