INFO: Using Temporary Files Can Improve Application Performance

Article translations Article translations
Article ID: 103237 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q103237
This article has been archived. It is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
Expand all | Collapse all


If you use temporary files, you can significantly increase the performance of your application.


By using CreateFile() with the FILE_ATTRIBUTE_TEMPORARY flag, you let the system know that the file is likely to be short lived. The temporary file is created as a normal file. The system needs to do a minimal amount of lazy writes to the file system to keep the disk structures (directories and so forth) consistent. This gives the appearance that the file has been written to the disk. However, unless the Memory Manager detects an inadequate supply of free pages and starts writing modified pages to the disk, the Cache Manager's Lazy Writer may never write the data pages of this file to the disk. If the system has enough memory, the pages may remain in memory for any arbitrary amount of time. Because temporary files are generally short lived, there is a good chance the system will never write the pages to the disk.

To further increase performance, your application might mark the file as FILE_FLAG_DELETE_ON_CLOSE. This indicates to the system that when the last handle of the file is closed, it will be deleted. Although the system generally purges the cache to ensure that a file being closed is updated appropriately, because a file marked with this flag won't exist after the close, the system foregoes the cache purge.


Article ID: 103237 - Last Review: February 28, 2014 - Revision: 4.1
  • Microsoft Win32 Application Programming Interface, when used with:
    • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1
    • Microsoft Windows NT 4.0
    • Microsoft Windows NT 3.51 Service Pack 5
    • Microsoft Windows NT 4.0
    • Microsoft Windows 2000 Standard Edition
    • the operating system: Microsoft Windows XP
kbnosurvey kbarchive kbinfo kbapi kbkernbase kbfileio KB103237

Contact us for more help

Contact us for more help
Connect with Answer Desk for expert help.
Get more support from