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How to Disable SuperFetch on Windows Vista

The SuperFetch service in Windows Vista preloads your system’s memory with the applications that you use most often. This makes launching of those applications much faster, but it might be an unwanted behavior for system tweakers or gamers.

There’s no hard evidence that enabling or disabling this service will increase performance in general, but if you open and close applications often you should definitely leave it alone. You will have to test your configuration to know for sure.

Note that I don’t recommend disabling this service, but we try to cover how to do everything on Vista.

Open up Services in Control Panel or by typing services.msc into the Start menu search or run boxes.

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Double-click on Superfetch in the list to open up the properties, and then change the drop-down to “Disabled”. You can also click Stop to immediately turn it off.

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I don’t recommend this tweak for regular users, but somebody might find it useful.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/26/08

Comments (84)

  1. Peter

    Thanks. I always disable it because it runs for long time after log into Windows and its quite annoying. ;)

  2. Daniel Spiewak

    I might actually do this. I’ve often noticed that SuperFetch loads the “wrong thing” more often than not, leading to extremely slow startup for the app I really want. It also will do odd things to my system while I’m in the process of using another app, though this is more infrequent.

  3. Charles

    I agree with Peter. I disabled SuperFetch and my Vista experience has been so much better. My PC seems more responsive and faster than before. Also, one big thing, gaming seems to be even smoother now. That’s just my opinion, but see what happens and experiment. I think you will be surprised.

  4. Gary

    I tried turning SF off and the only change I noticed was the lack of disk activity during the login processing due to the absence of preloading programs into memory by SF.

    If you think about it for a moment SF should not decrease performance. If a program requires memory then Vista will just take it. It’s not as if SF locks the memory it uses. Of course the programs in memory that are forced out will have to be read from disk again but that’s the way it is without SF.

    IMO SF is a great feature. Of course your mileage may vary.

  5. The Geek

    I’ve personally had a noticeable speed increase from disabling superfetch… I typically keep most of my applications open all the time, so it’s not really very useful to cache them anywhere.

    It’s not the memory usage that is an issue, I really have no problem with that since I have loads of memory… it’s the hard drive access I’m not fond of, especially in my laptop with the much slower drive.

    It’s the same thing I experience with Firefox… I don’t really care about the memory usage, but it seems like it’s always taking much more CPU than necessary.

    All that said, I think it’s probably unwise for the “average” person to disable it. Microsoft will continue to tweak the algorithm over time and make it better… perhaps someday we’ll all actually want to keep it enabled.

  6. Jordan

    Yay it worked.

  7. ebe

    Hello, Ram is required when you do a lot of Virtual LAB..!
    I doubte vmware/virtual server, when checking RAM availability, will see that it can purge some garbage from SF! SF is just an aberation^^
    But as it can be disable.. it’s now ok. (I upgraded to XP just for this reason and others (like no adminpacks, no this or no that). I need all bit of my physical ram (3go) for my labs..

  8. Larry

    Superfetch is a disaster. Much like rest of Vista, in my opinion. All day, superfetch eats up CPU and disk cycles loading programs into memory. And if I open up an unexpected memory hungry program, it dumps it all. Then it starts loading stuff into memory all over again. How long does it take to load IE Outlook, or Word anyways? Especially on today’s machines?

  9. John Celia

    SuperFetch is always re-reading (among other things) a 7.5 gig file into ram. Are you seriuos? What the hell? My hard drive NEVER stops churning!

  10. Maxwelldon

    Thanks for this “tweak”, I always wait long while up on boot and had to listen my HDD go load all day long because of superfetch.. After I disabled it, HDD been nicely quiet and PC acting a bit faster for what I’m using it.

  11. Ccy

    hey guys!how do i turn superfetch on?

  12. photomstr

    I now love vista even more!!! super fetch is crap, you want vista to behave more like xp disable this useless program. I have always hated the way MS assumes it knows best about defaults and preferences! KILL SUPERFETCH and its just like xp only more secure. thanx very very much, I tried the trick and love the idea totally!

  13. Rich

    This is a must. Do it. You wont regret it. Games like cysis and Bioshock load faster so what is the point of haveing it on at all.

  14. BooBear

    Thanks much for this disabling SuperFetch tip. I think this is what’s been driving me crazy when I try to do multitrack recording and get stuttering from interrupted CPU cycles or whatever. The performance manager shows tons of files being read and written even though I’m not trying to use them. This tip isn’t included in some optimization guides for DAWs (digital audio workstations) but really should. Thanks

  15. Chris

    Thank you. This covers what is by far the worst aspect of Vista, the horrendous noise it makes has been destroying me deep inside for too long now and i really appreciate this fix for it.

  16. Sylvia

    Wow…I already thought I was neurotic…being extremely annoyed by this constant grinding noise. Calling Sony- they even sent me a new HD ! But I had to return it because it was even louder!
    Now my Laptop is quiet and I can finally relax !
    Thank you so much!

  17. Xoch

    This is remarkable. I have read on numerous threads how turning off this feature can ruin system performance, but it seems these people speak out of opinion and not of use!

    I installed a 3.6 gig file on my desktop, which i cant erase because Superfetch locks its out, then takes all day and night to read it; burning my HD out in the process! Screw that. SuperFetch will remain disabled as long as Vista wont crash without it.

    Toodles.

  18. Bill

    When i had super fetch on my two fast and noisy hard disks never stopped going and my case rattled all day… Now the hard disk only goes when i do some thing.

  19. Joe

    Thank you very much for this tip. I’m not sure if turning Superfetch off has helped performance much, but it has definitely stopped the harddrive from going on so long after start up and repeatedly thereafter.

    That alone is a HUGE help, because I have a HP tx2500 tablet pc. The harddrive is right underneath where I rest my right hand when typing and using the touch pad!!!! It was ALWAYS warm.

  20. khaled

    annoying is all it is… damn microsoft…
    the only reason i upgraded to vista was to use all my memory.. only to find that it all goes down to zero available… in a matter of minutes.. now with this disabled. i can see my memory free..

    but here is the deal.. not all of it is still available.. i should see at least 3 gigs right?
    in fact thats what i see when i boot up..
    then 1 gig gets cached over time.. sometimes even more!!!
    i use my computer as a DAW and am wondering does this affect performance?
    whats being cached and can i disable it? will it improve performance?

    but where does my ram disappear? with superfetch enabled all the ram was cached..

    now only some get cached.. and thats after doing some house cleaning… moving files navigating around.. listening to music files is the only thing.. but i can see the ram being freed after media player is off.. so.. as using cubase.. i can see the ram being freed up…

    i only use the computer for 1 application.. thats cubase 4… nothing els is running at all.. most services are disabled… i have a 512 Geforce 8600 GT card which is taking alot of resources.. but i like the aero interface so i think ill buy more ram to keep things happy anyway…

    any ideas?

  21. Dee

    I am a new (as in 12 hours new) Vista user. I have been using Windows XP and Linux for years. I just found out about SuperFetch a few minutes ago. This is the most useless feature ever for an operating system. How does it know what programs should be cached. It’s a different story if we can set which programs to cache manually, then it will be a very useful feature.

    For now, I dont see why we have to enable it. Like one of the previous comments, how long does it take to load a program from hard drive to memory anyway? I like to keep my memory free, so whenever I need to use it, I dont need to flush it clean first. That’s just silly….

    All in all, Vista is a very beautiful operating system. But this SuperFetch is a total disaster. It’s great to know that we can disable it…

  22. switch

    Any idea how to force Superfetch to cache particular applications?

  23. Wayne

    I understand that SuperFetch ‘learns’ the user’s pattern. Is there a location where SuperFetch logs its learning data or something, and where to remove it after disabling the SuperFetch service if any?

  24. Esam

    i do like to know if disabling SuperFetch will cause problems in the system it self and if i disable it can i have better performance while playing games ??

    ty

  25. Me

    Yeah there probably is, but I doubt you would be able to use it. I don’t understand why everyone is shiting Superfetch. My current usage is only 1.07 GB of Physical Ram while also running a Norton scan and Age of Empires 3. So you’re telling me you dont have that much to spare?

  26. Reasearchedthis

    Fact is Superfetch is good for general users, BAD for gamers, I got 4gb and it caches up all of my RAM for things I may not even load up, and it doesn’t improve performance for gamers because all that data thats filled up RAM as cache, needs to be written back to the hard drive when I start up a game to make room for it, and most decent games these days use about 1-2gb of RAM, so effectively its slowing down memory intensive applications.

    The only exception here is if you only play one game on your pc, then most likely it will cache that game into RAM for you within 5mins of having started up the PC, but my pc is super fast as it is, and I have Pagefiles disabled, with 4gb RAM its not needed. And I will have my game loaded manually way before superfetch will cache it for me.

    The main reason i checked up on all this is because I was getting out of memory errors while playing games, but only sometimes, and that is because with pagefiles off the data cached into RAM can’t go back to a pagefile on the HDD to make room for the game data in RAM and it just runs out of memory, but now with superfetch turned off you don’t get junk loaded into your RAM and it stays empty for the things you will actually use. This is really only something for slow computers not up to the 6.0 performance rating of Vista.

    The other thing it does is use your HDD much much more and will very likely reduce the life of it, unless of course you leave your PC on all the time. Superfetch will leech data off your HDD to your RAM’s capacity everytime you start up, in my case 3.5gb more than necessary 1-2 times a day, that adds up to a lot over a year.

    Hope that helps you guys out to understand this.

    Also for those who don’t know why their memory is filled up with Cached Physical Memory and they have no free memory in Vista, its a result of Superfetch and of course there is no need for concern for games not having enough RAM / memory provided you have the pagefile turned on with either USB or regular HDD, because the cached physical memory will shrink itself in one way or another to free up RAM for your applications or games, just don’t expect the majority of them to load fast, because superfetch is made for small/medium sized programs and only as many as can fit into cached RAM.

    Good luck all.

  27. Tim

    Disabling Superfetch works for me.
    For months every time I resumed my PC from hibernation it would be unuseable for 15 minutes while the disc churned, that 1.25 hours of lost time every week.
    Disabling superfetch now gives me 12-13 minutes of extra useful time every single day, wonderful!!

  28. WiIl

    Disabling Superfetch has made great difference on my system.
    I recommend this. Wake up Microsoft.

  29. ALIENPIRATE

    Disabling Superfetch works GREAT for me.
    + prefetch to boot only files
    Freed up 5% ram usage, of 3.2 GBs
    No down side I can see. Will do this on all my friends P.C.s
    thank you!

  30. Jaster

    Superfetch is a waste of time. The log file it creates is loaded on boot. Working as tech support I constantly get the same question “Vista is taking ages to load”. After a year of use on Vista this file can slow boot times ridiculously, I’ve heard customers complaining that Vista takes in excess of 20 minutes to boot. Disable superfetch, its back down to 1-2 minutes. This is simply a good idea but praticed very very badly. For windows 7 this feature is being removed (and yes windows 7 is just a rehash of Vista), so even microsoft has seen the error of its ways.

  31. ATS

    I think every Laptop – users should disable it. It makes the machine so much more quiet, it’s awesome.

  32. SE7EN

    @Ccy

    Superfetch In Vista Is A Good Concept But As With All Microsoft Windows Software, Implementation Of These Concepts Is Bad! However For Some Reason You Want To Turn On Superfetch, [Win]+[R]> [Services.msc]> [Superfetch]> [Right Click-Properties]> [Startup Type-Automatic]> [Restart System]

    There Are Many Tools That Boast Of Enabling Superfetch In XP…..XP Does Not Support Superfetch!

  33. Ivan

    OMFG!! THIS IS SOOO COOL.. I didn’t know I could turn this thing off and have my system running so smooth!! .. This is amazing… performance wise the system is a dream, CPU usage is now under control and ram is always good :) …. Good gosh I hope MS don’t screw up Windows 7 by adding something like SuperFetch in there……..

  34. SEA

    Disabling superfetch degraded Vista performance so it became like old good slow XP :)
    Actually, no big difference, but starting programs takes time now…
    So i’m back to SF.
    It does not take memory as some people think here. It allocates, but It frees it on the first request, to be more specific.

  35. Gord

    Microsoft engineers and their weird ideas. I read that the reason they included SF is because they look at memory as nothing more than a place to buffer programs and data between the Disk and the CPU. That’s crazy. Memory is the place you execute programs from. The last thing you want is for memory to be full of other programs and data you’re not concerned with, leaving your main application out in the cold until there’s enough free memory.

    I first noticed a problem when it seemed to stutter as I was streaming music into a recorder. I had used the same setup before with Win2K and never had a problem. But in Vista, it was hesitating horribly. More recently, I was playing Blacksite: Area 51, a high graphics intensity game. It would crash at the same points. I acted as if it had run out of memory. So I disabled the SF and voila, works like a charm.

  36. ELF

    SuperFetch are kinda annoying. With 6gb of RAM it load both useful and non useful stuff into RAM. It recently fkd up my comp. I’ll have to somehow fix it or reinstall Vista.
    It loaded a 3gb big .rar file with 200-300 files (from my E: drive) and that made the other programs I tried to start not to start. So I stopped SF as it cached the files within the .rar file. And now, all non Windodows programs wont start except from the firewall and the Logitech software.
    Grrr, I’ll lead a mob against SF…..

  37. Endo

    not only does super fetch waste cpu cycles and hdd io accesses but it totally burns the life of your hard drive. i have had to replace my new hdds after only a year with vista. i have seen this problem with various tech support clients. super fetch is solving one small problem while creating bigger one. loose it and save time and money.

  38. Duncan

    Recently started using a laptop to play World of Warcraft and for 20 minutes after I booted the computer the disk churn would make the laptop unusable. WoW has a lot of very large mpq files and the disk activity was crazy. I also had a few issues during game play. Best thing any gamer can do if they have disk activity is to turn this crap off.

  39. Dave

    Wow! What a difference turning off Superfetch makes! I recently replaced a second drive with a larger 1TB drive and thought I was having hardware issues and would have to return the drive. Constant drive thrashing left no processor time for even simple tasks (i.e., click Start button, wait 30 seconds for menu). Performance Monitor showed constant reading and writing to the pagefile even when not running any apps. My PC was totally unusable. The drive thrashing stopped as soon as I disabled the Superfetch service! My theory is that while increasing disk space, had I also added additional memory, Superfetch may have performed just fine because it was working ok before I added the larger drive. If this is true, then Superfetch may work fine given adequate resources, but this also would mean that Superfetch is not very fault tollerant and needs additional development by Microsoft. My PC is the foundation of my business (DJ) and I would like to thank everyone here for helping me solve this problem. Thanks everyone!

  40. LordXar

    Damn, what a huge difference!
    I’ll never turn it on again, Farcry 2 use to crash to desktop every few minutes with the HDD churning away as soon as the crash happens, now I can play it for hours on end and it only crashes back to desktop on rare occasions. Just another braindead “inovation” in Vista from MS ( along with disabling HAL for directsound . But that’s a story for another day………….. )

  41. zezba

    Superfetch in my opionion is one of the stupidest things microsoft ever came up with.
    In games it will slow the freeking hell out of them. When a game or any major development application unloads some of its data only to load difrent data is when this “superfetch” thing gets in the way, trying to load some other process in your memory slowing the crap out of anything you are currentlly doing.
    Superfetch is trying to geuss the future of the users actions wich is imposible for most computers as they may have multiple users using the same user account and other things. Who ever came up with the thing has no common sense.
    I think it was mostly a marketing stratagy to sell a product, seeing as Vista is realy the same thing as XP, 2000, 98 or 95. It just has better sercurity wich we all know is MS biggest down fall. If you look at the way the oporating system is organized its practactlly the same thing as windows 95. I meen hears microsoft saying they rewrote the oporating system, but for what? only to use the same organizational metheds that are from the windows 95 erra, wtf.
    This is just a bunch of crap to sell you and corporations the same thing.
    Dont get me wrong I like most of what MS is doing, but holy freak will they please “Realy Redesign” there OS! They have on every thing else but the core of things.

  42. marvo

    When i first started to use my new PC about one year ago, the first thing i did was to disable this thing.
    I worked well all the time. A few month ago, i decided to upgrade the box a bit and added a kick-ass video card as well as aditional 4GB ram. I now have 6GB ram. I thought “Why not try to enable SF now that i have loads of ram?” I worked well the first weeks, and it DID speed up loading a bit, but as the days passed, it started to cache all kind of crap, in actually cached Fard Cry 2 AND mirror’s edge, at the same time! in addition to everything else… The last weeks, the hard drives has never -and i mean NEVER been silent, they have churred around the clock. I cached upp all my 6GB of ram, and i started mediaplayer, and it flushes it all, only to re-cache it. I de-activated the service a few minutes ago, and as soon i pressed the “Stop service” -button, a wiered silence filled the room…. The drives was finaly silent, after weeks of churring!

  43. stuart

    just built a new pc(amd 7750 black edition 4GB corsair xms2 gigabyte mb 500GB hd hd2900pro graphics)using vista home premium 64bit, and after about 15mins on a game windows shuts down and starts dumping memory or says SUPERFETCH has stopped working!!! Since disabling SUPERFETCH i have no shut downs or the dreaded blue screen of death and pc seems much faster and games look smoother and faster.

  44. John

    @Jaster: If you’re doing tech support and Vista is taking 20 minutes to boot, you’re doing something wrong. I’ve been using Vista for almost 3 years and I’ve never had a 20 minute boot time. What’s likely happening is that those computers are on a domain and the computer is looking for the domain and not finding it (which, has been fixed in Windows 7).

  45. John

    Also, Super Fetch is not removed from Windows 7. I’m using Windows 7 RC1 now and it’s enabled by default.

  46. Joey

    I just turned off SF, and noticed that immediately I could open tabs in IE8 much more quickly, i.e. milliseconds, whereas before I disabled SF, it took up to several seconds to simply open a new tab in IE.

  47. Ferret

    What I don’t get is why they didn’t have superfetch only do its thing when there were idle resources available. How much intelligence would that have taken?

  48. kokopie

    hm i wonder if SF is the main cause my game crashed last time. new to vista btw. with SF on, i start my game, after 3 mins, the game crashed with BSOD memory dump error. maybe i should try disable SF and give it a try again.

  49. K-Lo$

    Thats right SUPERFETCH is enabled by default on Windows 7 RC1, I have an AMD Quad Core 940 3.0 Black edt, 4 GB DDR2-1066 OCZ Reaper, 500 GB HDD and with the SF on it consumes a lot memory just as booting up the computer, with this OFF it runs FLAWLESSLY!!!

  50. Rojas

    I also turned off Superfetch, but had to turn it back on after
    loading up coral Video Studio X2 i have a Q6600 with 4GB of ram with Vista 32bit

    in Video Studio X2 when loading a few movie files into the timeline and playing them back
    i notice the videos would play back very choppy my Free ram went from 2.5 GB to 0 in a few minutes

    and then the Page File started going up and up like crazy video playback on the timeline was very
    choppy, then i turned SF back on, rebooted, ran Video Studio X2 again.
    and everything worked great no more choppy video and the Page File did not go up as much.

    So it looks like some apps may still need SuperFetch.
    i looks like without Superfetch the used memory is not freed,this could explain the Page File getting
    so large in Video Studio X2

  51. Sleepy

    I also disabled superfetch. I have dual velociraptors in Raid 1 so I get double the thrashing. I simply don’t understand the point of using superfetch. On a slow system it makes it unusable, on a fast system it’s just downright annoying not to mention all that thrashing doesn’t extend the life of your hard drives. Besides, if you have a fast system with the latest sata drives and fast ddr2/ddr3 memory, you don’t need to cache programs as it will load everything quickly anyways. It seems so counter-intuitive. Like some people say on here, its a good idea in theory gone bad.

  52. Ready

    Disabled SF today after over a year of unusable laptop for about 20 minutes after booting from being IO bound on the HD. The IO immediately stopped and maybe Vista won’t be such crap now that I’ve been stuck with on this Laptop after upgrading from XP. Wish I never put on Vista.

  53. MobileGeek

    AWESOME FIX! Thanks a bunch.

    Yes, my issue was the constant thrashing of my hard drive when I log in. It would go for nearly 30 minutes. I’m running Vista 64 with 8GB of memory, Quad Core processor and SATA 300 drives. Speed isn’t a problem to begin with. Matter of fact, because SuperFetch was thrasing my hard drive at login, all my start up programs actually loaded slower.

    Also, I was watching the file access through the Resource Monitor, and it apparently scans through non program files. I have some ISOs on my machine that I use a lot, and I guess it figured maybe it needed to go through those as well. Of course some are several GB in size.

    In addition to SuperFectch, I also disabled Windows Search. I never search my computer as I organize my files myself and can easily find them. All that Indexing just slows things down. In addition, I disabled Windows Defender.

    Now things are quite snappy.

  54. rookal

    I see mostly everyone here either trashing or loving superfetch, and most are recommending disabling it.

    But I can recommend a perfect fix that wiil be good for everyone to use.

    Superfetch has options. And the default vista install option is not a very good setting as it can thrash many hard drives, taking up valuable resources and give your poor hard drive a run for it’s money.

    But as most are not aware superfetch run in cunjuction with prefetch and disabling it disable the other.

    My best suggestion would be to limit Superfetch and remove that annoying Hard drive thrash and free up valuable system resources, without forgoing prefetch which can be a good thing for gamers.

    Super fetch and prefetch have 3 settings

    a value of 1: Caches Boot files only.
    a value of 2: Caches Boot files and Programfiles
    a value of 3: Caches all files (Default setting when vista is installed, takes maximum resources)

    These settings can be found in the system registry under

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters

    there are two keys called enable superfetch and enable prefetch, both having the default values of 3.

    Therefore I would suggest:

    a setting of 2 for common and advanced users, as this setting will still take a moment to load up on first startup, but will stop thrashing the hard drive after a few moments and give you faster access to the software you use more often. For people with highier end systems there is not hard drive thrashing with this setting.

    a setting of 1 for power users and hard core gamers, this setting will allow system resources to be minimully affected, and what this does is it cashes many of the system files in Ram, theoretically increasing performance (and this is the setting that I use with a 4 gig ram system latest cpu…).

    a setting of 3 is for people running large databases, presentations and so forth and only if your running your machine for days at a time. if you reboot daily use a setting of 2.

    People who need to disable superfetch are those that are running vista with older systems and low ram (under a gig) – if you have an older system and have more than a gig use a setting of 1 and over 2 gigs you might consider using a setting of 2.

    I hope this information helps. And clarifies a few things for most about superfetch.

    Good Luck everyone

  55. rookal

    I forgot to mention once you make a changes to superfetch through the registry, you need to clean out your Windows/prefetch folder in order to complete the changes.

    Once you reboot your machine it will rebuild the superfetch/prefetch folder. THis will make your hard work more than usual on the first reboot but subsequent boots will work with your new setting.

  56. Joe

    I only have a dual core 3 gig sony with 2 gigs max ram and vista has been a slow freezing beast with long load ups and shut down and such. I was reading about windows 7 new release and saw info on the superfetch. Well quick google got me here and I turned it off and what I notice right away is the laggy freezes and slow to open tabs are all gone its like a different machine quick responses no freezes and a silent drive not to menton much better game play. great find here

  57. HPMC

    Fantastic! Superfetch is an absolute aberration. After using Vista for a few months, I sincerely believe that SF was causing it to run more slowly. I was ready to put a piece of tape over the HD LED.

    Disabled Superfetch. Quiet hard drive, faster PC, SHORTER load times, better performance. Thanks to you all for the original post, as well as your comments.

  58. Gabriel

    This may be why my friend thinks he has to have 8 gigs of ram on his system to play games. He knows almost nothing about computers and when he started with 4 gigs of RAM on his desktop it was always filling up before he even started his games. He went out and spent TONS of money on a desktop with a huge CPU and 8 gigs of ram. Even then His ram seemed to fill up almost full upon boot-up. One simple tweak and he’ll probably trip over his own jaw. Thanks for answering my question!

  59. Spackie

    According to the “experts” over at http://www.sevenforums.com/ if you disable SF you are a troll, an idiot, are spreading FUD because modern Operating Systems operate on a “unused RAM is wasted RAM”. One fellow even stated “I want every bit of my RAM full so its gets used”. Well thats great buddy, but my foreground application are alway so slow due to execessive memory contention between apps in the cache apps in the foreground.

  60. Sad_Tale

    My problems started about 1.5 years after I purchased a Fujitsu N6460 laptop that came with Vista Home and 2gig of RAM. I purchased the full retail version of Vista Ultimate (not an upgrade version) that was pre-SP1. Ultimate did an “upgrade” install without any issues, and an upgrade to SP1 without any issues. I then upgraded to 4gig of RAM. The hardware detected the 4gig of RAM, but 32bit Ultimate could only “see” about 3.5gig of it (because 32 bits can not address a 4gig address) so I used the last .5gig of the 4gig RAM as a Ramdrive mapped as Drive D. The mapping for the Ramdrive is performed BEFORE Ultimate starts booting, so all that is physically available to Ultimate as normal RAM is just 3.5gig, which it can use in total. Additionally, Ultimate “sees” the .5gig Ramdrive as Drive D and can use it without error.

    One day I discovered that attempts to actually perform a System Restore from a previously and successfully saved Restore Point would not work from within a normal boot of Ultimate. Worse, attempting to boot into safe mode to perform the restore would blue screen with a 0x0000000A error related somehow to a Fujitsu specific driver. The same thing would happen if I tried to restore using the Ultimate CD to boot from! At this point I had been experiencing a lot of HD “thrashing” for several months, but system performance had not seemed to be affected. Due to inability to restore without getting blue screen, I contacted Microsoft and had to pay them for a fix. They took my money but did not provide a fix. This for MS software that I had purchased less than 2 years before writing this forum comment! After they took my money I discovered that the reason for the blue screen, and inability to do a restore by any means whatsoever, was because I had 4gigs of RAM instead of 3gigs. Downgrading to 3gigs made the blue screens go away.

    But before I discovered that fact, MS had me uninstall SP1. I was able to boot in normal mode but still could not restore, and I didn’t yet know that trying to boot in Safe Mode or from the CD would cause a blue screen. So then MS had me start a “repair” reinstall, with SP1 having been removed (as my CD did not come with SP1). It didn’t work and I experienced the 1st blue screen of type mentioned above (because the Ramdrive wasn’t reducing the 4gigs to 3.5gigs). I used MSConfig to remove the attempts at boot to continue the failed “repair” reinstall of Ultimate, and was able to then boot normally to the desktop.

    The first boot was fast and the MS tech decide the case was closed (!) and I got charged but now had a system that still would not restore and I then discovered that doing just about anything would cause the HD to start going into continuous activity, and trying to launch anything at all would take several minutes! The error logs were filling up with messages about random programs degrading system performance. Turns out they were not the cause.

    I discovered the cause for the blue screens in Safe Mode (via Google!) and reduced my memory to 3gigs, the blue screens went away and I restored via CD to a time when all was ok (about a week ago), as I still could not successfully restore from within a normal boot. This did not fix the HD thrashing and immediate near total system freeze when the thrashing would begin!

    But the articles here about Superfetch fixed the issue! No more disk thrashing, no more system freezing! Boot time back to about 4 minutes with HD sitting inactive, way down from the near 1/2 hour it was taking previously! I did use the registry settings of “1” for both Superfetch and Prefetch as mentioned earlier in this forum, as a setting of “2” would boot in an acceptable time but it would boot a little faster when both were set to “1”, and I didn’t see that programs were launching faster with the “2” setting.

    I’ve turned back on Windows Search, since it’s smart enough to pause itself if the system is not idle (Superfetch seems to lack that at any setting, slowing the system way down when it is busy). Windows Search was NOT the cause of having an unusable desktop and lots of performance error messages in Event Viewer. Superfetch was the cause, nothing else.

    Upgrading to Ultimate SP2 did not fix the Superfetch issue, so I have it on but with the mentioned registry settings of “1”. The system runs fast and nice, and World of Warcraft performance is also noticeably improved. If Superfetch worked properly then I’d agree that it should be used. But like MS charging me to unsuccessfully fix a Vista Ultimate *system* related issue, they have it wrong when it comes to their default configuration of Superfetch. Maybe it’s a way for them to get money on service calls? I am, of course, angry that I was charged for something I had to fix after they closed my case SRX1109606110ID. I think I’ll stick with Vista Ultimate and XP Pro, and never buy another product from MS again. I’ve had Win3.1, 95, 98, 98SE, ME, 2K, XP, and Vista. I’m tired of the problems when each was supposed to be so much better than the previous, and I’ll never be forgiving that I was charged for a faulty design issue caused by software that goes bonkers with a system motherboard that itself can recognize 4gigs of memory. That’s just poor design, and I’m tired of that history! I’ll keep what I have, but no Win7 etc. with the continuing issues with security and system performance that 8 different versions have exhibited and now they want to charge for when the operating system malfunctions. No, no more money from me. MS did *not* help nor resolve my issue for the money, they made it worse but Google and this forum supplied the needed technical knowledge to resolve the issues. Thanks to all in this forum, you’re an experienced and honorable group of people!

  61. Sarevok

    how I physically destroyed HDD:
    I bought new mainstream PC 8400,4GB,4850,500GB WD HDD. Installed WV x64 Ultimate. I noticed extreme HDD activity next day, thinking it is normal for new vista to create everything needed… after next 10 days of endless 100% disk activity I started to figure out whats wrong. In reliability and performance monitor I found Localsystemnetworkrestricted is reading 100MB/s my ISO image of one DVD I had on HDD. OMG, it was reading it all the time. It could copy it for 1000000 times for that time. Next day Vista failed to boot. When trying to reinstal, failed to di it. Disk went back to store. They did not change, just did low level format and returned it to me. After installation superfetch was doing the same with iso image, I found on internet it is superfetch and disable it, but it was too late for HDD which failed that day totally. I bought another hard drive and again it is doing the same. This time i disabled superfetch right when it start to read iso image for 20 minutes… I think Microsoft should be charged for these things…

  62. Geoff

    WOW! great tip. Photoshop CS4 was lagging sooo bad for the longest time , and i disabled super-fetch and OMG, what a difference!1 Thanks a lot! :)

  63. Timovone

    DISABLE! YES FINALLY!, THIS THING WAS REALLY ANNOYING. now everything is smooth and quite.

  64. unixoid

    One of the most idiotic features of Vista. And I speak as an IT pro, this is the most mild characteristic of this service. Don’t even think twice about disabling it.
    For faster boot times – see your msconfig and disable unnecessary services.
    Defragment your hard drives, preferably with third party defragmenter (eg perfect disk)
    If you are knowledgeable enough to understand the output of “hijackthis” by all means run it and clean up unnecessary junk.
    run ccleaner regularly, it’s free.
    Once happy with your system – take a restore point snapshot, then disable and delete all but most current shadow copies.
    Get into habit of running backups and organizing your files neatly.
    You’ll like your PC then, even with vista as OS.
    PS Disable automatic update – over the vista existence there were few updates that completely messed up the users. They got better, but I will never trust MSFT with immediately installing their patches. Why risk full reinstall or repair or restore.
    Good luck all

  65. Nigel

    Disabled on windows 7 and it’s much smoother without it.

    In face some apps like Firefox and Thunderbird launch faster !

    Maybe this this just prioritises MS apps ?

  66. Intosh

    Wow! Superfetch is just terrible. I can’t believe how bad this aweful thing impacted the performance of my computer until I disabled it. From time to time, I use VirtuaBox and watch movies on my computer; not often, just time to time. This useless process caches (part of) the 5.3GB VirtualBox file and the ~1GB video files everytime I boot up my computer. My hard drive is working like hell several long minutes (doing basically useless work) everytime Windows starts up. This is RETARDED. It hinders the start-up time of apps that I start and actually WANT to use.

    Whoever at MS who designed this POS should be fired!!!

  67. alex

    disabled! memory graph peeks somewhere between 900-980 mb/3Gigs, as with supefetch the total ammount consumed was somewhere at 1.2 – 1.4 Gig.

    Question: will this change impact on battery life ?

  68. Chip

    Thank you for sharing this. This has been the culprit of some of my PC audio recording lag writing to disk.

    Now I am looking for all other worthless CPU, mem and HD resource chowing services that can be disabled. Great forum!

  69. Andrew

    alex: Yes, but in a good way. Your battery life should increase. After all, your computer is no longer wasting energy trying to cache a bunch of useless stuff.

    I can attest that Superfetch is no better in Windows 7. Until a few minutes ago, it routinely filled all 20 (yes, twenty) gigs of ram, then began forcing out my foreground apps (Visual Studio, Explorer, mouse driver) to make room for stuff I may or may not (probably not) use.

  70. hmartins

    Thank You!

    I have Disabled the Superfetch, and now i have so Much free RAM,
    and i don’t see any difference disabled or enabled

    the HDDs already so fast, and honestly, i don’t see any reason to
    let this enbled.

  71. Kita

    Wow! it works thanks, my hard drive would go crazy right after booting up, it would get so bad it would freeze up my system, disabling Superfetch made a massive improvement

  72. Drago

    My windows 7 desktop with 4 gig ram and quad core processor started to give problems a few months after purchase……freezes….glitches…..dithering for ages before starting new progs…….IE8 performance was intermittently dreadful……….nightmare…………i disabled superfetch in services and immediately all is sweetness and light again………..just saying.

  73. cooldrl

    The difference disabling SuperFetch makes is astounding. Turn it off people. I guess this article reccommends leaving it on for butt protection.

  74. ccx

    Great tip. I’ve had this annoying vista laptop for over a year now and anything I clicked had a 3-4 second delay. I knew something was wrong but didn’t know what. Turned off superfetch and things respond instantly now, much thanks.

  75. Matt

    After disabling superfetch, my PC runs about 20x faster (3GB RAM).
    I use quite a few large Outlook.pst files as part of my job, 5GB+, and SuperFetch may have been trying to stuff those files all into memory, which would cause data to be thrashed around in and out of memory when I’d try to start other things like IE or Excel. I swear my PC’s performance was like as if I was trying to run this Vista on 128MB RAM.

    With SuperFetch disabled it feels like I have a brand new PC!!

  76. Ray

    Highly recommend disabling super fetch in Vista.I just happened to come across this article and it has worked great.No more hard drive clacking for 10 minutes or more.What a relief ! Im not a gamer so dont know about that but for business and home use its fantastic since I disabled it.Thank you How-To Geek.

  77. kaichouneko

    Thanks for the tip! I’ve recently had a Windows update (hate it when they happen while my laptop is supposed to be sleeping…) and since then I’ve been getting error messages about Superfetch not working, and its been making me crazy! Hopefully I don’t screw things up… but if I do, my dad’s a computer tech… :)

  78. Michellle

    Now how do I remove all of the HKEY FILES left behind?

  79. Seppo Yli-Olli

    FWIW I consider the design of SuperFetch in Vista flawed. You can end up in a situation where you can’t start more programs because the cache is taking too much RAM. Hence I think it’s a good idea to disable it in Vista *although* remember to make sure it’s enabled in Windows 7 which ships a working version of SuperFetch.

  80. Jeff

    Other articles on the web indicate you should turn off Superfetch if you have an SSD (in place of an HDD).

  81. Liquidneck

    I have a Sony Vaio.
    When logging into my PC, windows stops responding after a few minutes.
    Over the past few years i have reloaded the OS serval times to get rid of this issue. Until today.
    After turning on and off services, I found that superfetch was the culprit.
    I am currently in Safemode now disabling this awful service.
    I must thank you for explaining what this does.

    I hope someone with my same issue finds this thread before throwing thier vaio out the window.

  82. cecil

    this has stopped a lot of problems for me by disabling this, thank you!

  83. Superfetch sucks

    Thank you so very much. Superfetch has been acting up lately, disrupting my internet connection and even interfering with my graphics catalyst, occasionally making the computer go out of whack.

  84. Jim Kowalski

    Thanx! After four(!) years of annoying HDD access I am liberated! :-)

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