Enable Instant File Initialization is easy in SQL Server 2016

Starting from SQL Server 2005, Microsoft introduced a feature called Instant File Initialization. By default, when you create a database, add a new data file, increase the size of an existing file,  in SQL Server first initialized by filling the files with zeros.

File initialization causes these operations to take longer. However, when data is written to the files for the first time, the operating system does not have to fill the files with zeros. To accomplish this we need to enable “Instant File Initialization” in SQL Server.  Prior to SQL Server 2016, to enable this feature you had to edit the Local Security Policy to give the account that runs the SQL Server service the “Perform volume maintenance tasks” right as shown in Figure 1

  1. Run secpol.msc on the server.
  2. Expand the Local Policies Folder
  3. Click on User Rights Assignment
  4. Go down to the “Perform Volume Maintenance Tasks” option and double click it
  5. Add your SQL Server Service account, and click OK out of the dialog.


Figure 1

Microsoft made this feature easy in SQL Server 2016, When you install SQL Server you have a choice to enable this feature under server configuration as show in Figure 2. You do not have to configure after installation, once you enable it will automatically grant required permission to the service account the SQL Server installed.


Figure 2

Hope you enjoyed the post!


Ramasankar Molleti

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About Ramasankar

My name is Ramasankar Molleti, I have been working on various database and cloud systems (SQL Server, Oracle, PostgreSQL, DynamoDB, Redshift, Amazon, Azure) over 12 years, primarily focusing on Architect , Development, Administration and Business intelligence. I hold various Certifications such as Amazon Web services Solution Architect Associate, Microsoft certifications (Microsoft Certified Information Technology Professional, Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist, and Microsoft Certified Solution Associate).
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