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As file servers become more heavily utilized, performance can quickly drop off — even when solid-state disks (SSDs) and fast SCSI interfaces are used. But with a couple of configuration tweaks in Windows Server 2012, file servers can be sped up when the going gets tough.
If you have a consistently high load on your file servers, consider switching the server’s power plan to High Performance. This will ensure that the CPUs are always clocked at 100 percent and that no processor cores are parked. Keeping the CPU at full power improves disk input-output when there is a constant and heavy load.
Configure the power plan using Group Policy or using local machine policy for servers not joined to a domain, as power settings have a habit of resetting after Windows patches and hotfixes are applied.
To set the power plan using local machine policy, log on to your server as a local administrator:
The next time policy refreshes, the High Performance power plan will be applied to the server.
DOS 8.3 short file names still exist in Windows Server for backward compatibility and are disabled in Windows Server 2012 on newly formatted volumes, but they may remain enabled on volumes if the server was upgraded from a previous version of Windows.
The chances are you’re unlikely to need 8.3 short file name compatibility on a file server today, so this feature can be disabled to improve performance. Directory enumeration can be up to 10 times faster when files are stripped of their 8.3 names, and file creation almost 60 times faster.
To check the status of 8.3 file names on your server, log on with a local administrator account:
The results will show you the volume state, whether 8.3 name creation is enabled or disabled, and the registry state. In the screen shot below, you can see that 8.3 name creation is disabled for both d: and g: volumes. They get their configuration from the registry state, which is set to allow each volume to have its own individual settings for 8.3 name creation.