Boosting IntelliJ IDEA Performance on Windows Systems

If you are running a Windows machine with NTFS disks, there is a good chance to double the performance of IntelliJ IDEA by optimizing the MFT tables, disk folder structure and Windows paging file.

We have used the Diskeeper, 2007 Pro Trial version tool to carry out the following procedure. You may of course, repeat this with your favorite defragmenter, provided it supports equivalent functionality.

  1. Free about 25% space on the drive you are optimizing.
  2. Turn off any real-time antivirus protection and reboot your system.
  3. Defragment files.
  4. Defragment MFT (Do a Frag Shield, if you are using Diskeeper). Note that this is quite lenghty process which also requires your machine to reboot several times.
  5. Defragment the folder structure (perform the Directory consolidation).
  6. Defragment the Windows paging file.

The above optimizations have positive impact not only on IntelliJ IDEA, but on general system performance as well.

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9 Responses to Boosting IntelliJ IDEA Performance on Windows Systems

  1. Jon says:

    Thanks for the tip, Egor. On a side note, there’s a defrgger called Perfectdisk that will let you to defragment without requiring a lot of free space – I’ve done it with as little as 3% free space. It’s at http://www.raxco.com.

  2. AdrianM says:

    …or install it on a Mac.

  3. Ron says:

    A very good tip, indeed. I once tried Diskeeper – I think it was version 10 – and while running it for a few days my Omea Reader database got corrupted several times. After uninstalling Diskeeper things went back to normal. Your mileage, especially with the new version, may vary, though. I prefer Raxco’s PerfectDisk.

  4. neuro says:

    +1 for raxco – one full (offline+online) pass with one reboot and all done. Trial also available.

  5. Sergey Zhukov says:

    Guys, we don’t sell Diskeeper, we just tested it with very good results. :-)
    Note: the most important thing is: “extend and defragment MFT”. We didn’t notice performance improvement after just usual disk defragmentation.
    Also you should keep enough free space on NTFS volume for daily work, because NTFS can degrade performance on low free space.

  6. Leo says:

    Did you do the performance testing in IntelliJ IDEA 5.X?
    I found that there are problems when I try to open an existing project using IntelliJ IDEA 5.x after defragmenting- IntelliJ IDEA slows down dramatically.
    However, after reinstalling it then problem has gone and I got even better performance than before.

  7. Alexey Efimov says:

    You are seriosly? :)
    Defragmentation is not silver bullet for IntelliJ IDEA performance. It must have been a joke about doubling the performance.

    IntelliJ IDEA does not work with large fragmented files that can slow down performance of JVM. IntelliJ IDEA works with large number of files and defragmentation does not solve this problem at all.

    To double the performance of HDD you must not defragment files, but replace IDE disk with an SCSI one. This can really improve the overall performance.

    Thanks! :)

  8. Sergey Zhukov says:

    Yes, we’re absolutely serious.
    We’ve done some speed tests with stop watch.
    Note once more: you need to do not “usual” defragmentation, but MFT defragmentation and extension. Of course, you’ll get performance improvement if your MFT is filled up more than 95%. But if your project has a lot of Java files, your MFT most likely near out of space.
    It should affect not only IDEA performance of course.

    We’re testing SAS drives right now and will tell here about results if it’s interesting.

  9. Jens says:

    I had also some problems with the performance of IDEA. You can find a tutorial and some tips how to tune your IDE on
    http://soa-bpm-integration.com/2009-07-06-ramp-your-ide-performance-tips-intellij-idea

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