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SuperFetch: How it Works & Myths
By Thom Holwerda on 2009-05-11 20:43:34
SuperFetch is a technology in Windows Vista and onwards that is often misunderstood. I decided to delve into this technology to see what it is all about, and to dispel some of the myths surrounding this feature.
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Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-20 -- 21-30 -- 31-40 -- 41-50 -- 51-60 -- 61-70 -- 71-78
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OSX does this
By mckill on 2009-05-11 20:56:23
OSX has been doing this for a while, altho obviously not 'exactly' the same way, it does however cache almost everything and it's also the reason why a lot of typical or old memory tools and reading available memory doesn't apply for it.

it's also why tools that 'free' unused memory is a bad idea as you'll only end up slowing things down.
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To much noise!
By sc3252 on 2009-05-11 21:04:57
Whenever I have SuperFetch turned on I hear a consistent annoying noise from the hard drive while watching movies. I have noticed no noticeable speed ups from it. Just lots of noise. So you can say all you want about how much faster applications load, but having a tick tick tick noise while watching a movie really distracts from any advantages it has.
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RE: Why you bought 4GB of RAM
By Tom K on 2009-05-11 21:04:59
Take that douchebaggery to /.
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super fetch and assumptions
By TechGeek on 2009-05-11 21:17:24
The problem with SuperFetch is that Microsoft designed it making certain assumptions. And you know what they say about assumptions. Let me explain:

Microsoft assumes that the normal user is going to use the same apps over and over and over. It then fills up memory pre-loading these apps. What happens when I want to run a big app that I dont run often? How does this work with multiple users?

As a real world example, I run computer labs at a university. We moved to Vista this past year. Computer performance got worse as the day goes on. Why? Different users use different apps. And the computer can't make any long term predictions. So everytime a user does something, the system has to unload what is in memory and then load something new. This results in lots of disk thrashing and horrible performance.

Another bug we ran into was using products like deep freeze and drive shield. How is Vista going to learn usage patterns when it can't make permanent writes to the drive? It doesn't.

Superfetch can be useful, but it can also be a pain. The most useful idea would be to allow the system admins to pick which apps get pre-fetching and then turn off the adaptive learning part.
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vs XP?
By indiocolifa on 2009-05-11 21:17:24
I don't see the differences with the prefetching mechanism available in Windows XP. Maybe there are some optimizations, but the approach is the same. It's a marketing name for a retouched XP prefetcher, I think.
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RE: OSX does this
By Piranha on 2009-05-11 21:30:18
By OSX do you mean Linux/UNIX? Because most (if not all) have been doing that for quite some time. You always hear from noobs, on forums, about "I barely have anything running but says I only have x% free!" because they are all used to Windows using only 'what-is-running'. Hell, I was a culprit of it at one point...

Just an FYI
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RE: super fetch and assumptions
By daedliusswartz on 2009-05-11 21:40:20
I wouldn't call your experience with SuperFetch a bug. It sounds like it simply isn't a good feature for your situation.
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Superfetch is not MS's invention
By Envying1 on 2009-05-11 21:46:04
[quote]SuperFetch is something all operating systems should have.[/quote]

My comment: Superfetch is not an idea that MS invented.
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RE: Superfetch is not MS's invention
By Thom_Holwerda on 2009-05-11 21:50:16
> My comment: Superfetch is not an idea that MS invented.

My comment: I never said so :).

Nor did I imply other operating systems do not have it. This article is specifically about the SuperFetch implementation of a certain concept that exists in one form or the other on other operating systems as well, as well as the myths that surround it.

Edited 2009-05-11 21:51 UTC
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RE: super fetch and assumptions
By Thom_Holwerda on 2009-05-11 22:01:02
> As a real world example, I run computer labs at a university. We moved to Vista this past year. Computer performance got worse as the day goes on. Why? Different users use different apps. And the computer can't make any long term predictions. So everytime a user does something, the system has to unload what is in memory and then load something new. This results in lots of disk thrashing and horrible performance.

Couldn't this be solved by using multiple accounts? I'm actually researching this now, because it dawned on me that if SuperFetch data is stored in /Windows/Prefetch, how is it multi-user aware?

Maybe it uses attributes or ACLs to tie .pf files to user accounts? I really have no idea, and Google isn't helpful either. Maybe PlatformAgnostic (you there?) or some of the other Windows NT experts in here can help us out...?
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