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View Full Version : Vista Superfetch: How useless it is and how to disable it


Sharktooth
18th January 2008, 14:12
If you're using Windows Vista, then you've probably noticed the new memory requirements. In Windows XP you could get away with 1GB of memory, with 2GB
making it run much smoother. To get the same smooth experience from Vista, you
really need to double the memory, due in part to some of the new services that Vista is running.

One of these new services is SuperFetch, which analyzes your program usage and pre-caches these programs to make them load faster. For most users (especially gamers) this is relatively useless, and just serves to waste more of the precious memory you've loaded up your PC with. This memory is even more critical in the 32-bit flavor of Vista, where most users cannot use more than 3.5GB of RAM, even if you have 4GB or more
Read more... (http://www.ocmodshop.com/ocmodshop.aspx?a=1048)

JohnnyMalaria
18th January 2008, 15:43
If you're using Windows Vista, then you've probably noticed the new memory requirements. In Windows XP you could get away with 1GB of memory, with 2GB
making it run much smoother. To get the same smooth experience from Vista, you
really need to double the memory, due in part to some of the new services that Vista is running.

Well, since you are blatantly trolling here, it is obvious you have no real world experience of serious multitasking with Vista - i.e., just more secondhand bollocks. ;)

I have 2GB and run Vista Ultimate 32-bit with all the bloat running.

I typically run the following at the same time:

1 x Outlook 2003
2 x Visual Studio .NET 2003
2 x Virtual PC 2007 (running virtual XP and Vista)
1 x IE7
1 x Vegas 8.0

and I get the "smooth experience".

Still, it's always entertaining to see what latest deliberate anti-Vista FUD will appear here. At least this time it isn't in a News post that I can't reply to.... ;)

BTW, included in the gibberish in the article is the implication that they only tested SuperFetch with 64-bit Vista and they don't even bother to provide any metrics. They also state that SuperFetch is of benefit to multitaskers. For gamers, of course it is a little benefit - you're just running one app.

scharfis_brain
18th January 2008, 16:25
A Friend had Vista on his notebook with 2GB of RAM and only tried to run Vegas 7 on it.
It was not usable due to heavy swapping.

When he stepped back to XP he had his "smooth experience" back...

Sharktooth
18th January 2008, 20:13
i didnt post it in the news so ppl could reply.
however the article was not written by me. i just linked it here, so if ppl have problems with Vista memory management they can disable superfetch to greatly improve performance.

deets
18th January 2008, 20:23
i might try this and see if it makes any difference :)

i think its so hard to compare XP to vista unless you run it on exactly the same setup and hardware. not that i care too much, i have no agenda either way to support.

Ryokurin
18th January 2008, 20:24
A Friend had Vista on his notebook with 2GB of RAM and only tried to run Vegas 7 on it.
It was not usable due to heavy swapping.

When he stepped back to XP he had his "smooth experience" back...

When did he run his test? If he did it immediately after he installed it then yes its going to run ragged as superfetch is actually trying to cache the program. Usually this takes two or three minutes, and after that it tends to run just fine if not faster.

This is just like people complaining about UAC. I admit its a pain when you are first setting the machine up, but after that you rarely see it Just about every person I've seen complaining about Superfetch or UAC when asked and pressed about it have only used vista a few hours or a day or two and thats not really enough time to give any operating system a fair shake.

Blue_MiSfit
18th January 2008, 21:13
Very true.

Vista uses available memory instead of letting it sit. If you watch the task manager right as you launch a very memory intensive application - like Battlefield 2, Adobe Encore, or Adobe Premiere, watch the commit charge drop noticably just as the app starts to load. This is Vista releasing the unused superfetch cache to give these hungry apps all they need.

Vista's memory management is good. You really do have to give it time though. It takes it awhile to learn what apps you use frequently.

I would be using Vista if it weren't for poor DX performance and driver issues.

~MiSfit

slavickas
18th January 2008, 23:30
after hearing about superfetch I was really hoping that would work like Linux in caching, but nope it must fill those gigabytes of RAM some semi random data, so after trying vista for 2 weeks I went back... to XP

Jay Bee
19th January 2008, 00:06
This just in: Feature in Vista doesn't benefit gamers! What were they thinking? Everybody knows that gaming is what most computers on this planet are used for mainly...

JohnnyMalaria
19th January 2008, 00:28
i didnt post it in the news so ppl could reply.

Thanks - I do appreciate you doing that :)

scharfis_brain
19th January 2008, 15:14
When did he run his test? If he did it immediately after he installed it then yes its going to run ragged as superfetch is actually trying to cache the program. Usually this takes two or three minutes, and after that it tends to run just fine if not faster.

Nope, the machine wasn't freshly installed with Vista.
He used to work with it for a few weeks. Then he decided to step back. And he didn't regret it.

burfadel
19th January 2008, 15:44
First of all, if testing Vista you definately need to be using the latest updates for them, as many performance issues have been rectified. Service Pack 1 is to be released shortly, and that contains significant changes that will help get Vista running more like it should.

Remember XP when it came out in 2001? that wasn't exactly a welcoming experience either! - you have to consider computers from 2001 for this comparison, not running XP rtm for a tryout on a high end machine!

In terms of superfetch, it does actually help, although its real benefits only come from a minimum of 2gb, as the more typical free RAM there is the more space superfetch can use to be of benefit. Since 32 bit is limited to 3gb of ram, running x64 can bring additional benefits, particularly if running 4gb of RAM!

On a side note, people really need to embrace x64, since 32 bit programmes don't run slower and, if the uptake was higher more 64 bit programmes which on paper people say only has the benefit of more memory access, which is true to some extent, 64 bit applications (programmed correctly) are faster than their properly programmed 32 bit counterparts, by a noticeable percentage.

Sharktooth
19th January 2008, 16:40
uhm.. SP1 is even worse. i mean... performance is untouched (at least on the RC) and memory load is a bit higher.
about superfetch, linux caching is so much more efficient... and it leaves no "overload" impression even it the cache eats all the free ram.

Ryokurin
20th January 2008, 15:21
uhm.. SP1 is even worse. i mean... performance is untouched (at least on the RC) and memory load is a bit higher.
about superfetch, linux caching is so much more efficient... and it leaves no "overload" impression even it the cache eats all the free ram.

I haven't noticed any increased memory usage, unless you are one of those guys who think that two or three megs is a big deal, and the improved file system performance is a big enough performance increase for me to not say that its worthless.

As far as which cashing system is more efficient, I think its just a matter of opinion. I really don't understand how not using memory can be seen as more efficient automatically. In no way am I saying that Vista's way is the end all, be all way but its not that bad of a way of looking at the problem.

burfadel
20th January 2008, 15:42
uhm.. SP1 is even worse. i mean... performance is untouched (at least on the RC) and memory load is a bit higher.
about superfetch, linux caching is so much more efficient... and it leaves no "overload" impression even it the cache eats all the free ram.

I wouldn't say performance in untouched, the RC of SP1 brings numerous performance increases/rectifications. Some of those have already been released as RTM updates, around 25 percent of the improvements. The remaining 75 percent are only available with SP1. Those figures are straight from Microsoft!

I have no doubt Linux cacheing system is in some ways more efficient, but Linux is a very 'difficult' operating system. Its not that user friendly, there are some elements which are slow, has very limited driver support - if you thought x64 support when it first came out with xp x64 was bad, try Linux!, backwards compatibility is limited, etc etc.

The main point is, with a brand new system and at least 2gb of ram go vista x64! - In my opinion 32 bit is a waste of time, and for older computers (even low to mid end computers from last year) stick with XP unless the computer specifically came with Vista.

deets
20th January 2008, 18:28
yep your last point is spot on, exactly how i see it :)

with ram prices being so low, there is now need for any of us with new machines to go for at least 4gb.

vista was too much for the average spec when it came out, its much better now with ram+cpu+graphics cards all being much cheaper.

superfetch is good for some people, those who use lots of apps like word and most normal progs. It can take a few secs to load up once its booted, but for a lot of normal windows users, thats not an issue.

no problem with it being pointed out that for gamers that its probably best turned off, not so sure about people with rabid agendas either way though...

Shakey_Jake33
20th January 2008, 19:30
I went back to XP (from Vista 64) yesterday, but mainly because of the few things that I use running better in XP. But I am generally one who likes to talk about what Vista does better, and it does a lot better. But games designed for XP do run worse, and this will probably never change. Soon specs will be so high that it won't matter.

If I was building a new machine, and didn't rely on a lot of older games or applications, I'd probably go Vista 64. But I'd certainly not bother going from XP to Vista unless necessary, because in terms of real-world user additions, the price justification isn't really there.

burfadel
16th April 2008, 22:26
Just came across this thread, and would like to say there is a lot of misinformation about how to disable superfetch floating around on the web!

Most people who know of superfetch disable the superfetch service. This is wrong!

The reason why it is wrong is the superfetch service covers both superfetch and the normal prefetch such as what is included in XP. To disable superfetch but keeping prefetch enabled, copy and paste this into a file with extension .reg and import it into the registry:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters]
"EnableSuperfetch"=dword:00000000
"EnablePrefetcher"=dword:00000003

You can also navigate to that section yourself using regedit, you should see by default both set to 3.

By doing it this way, the temporary prefetch files in the windows prefetch folder are still updated. This can be tested by deleting them, which is safe to do, you will see them recreated once the corresponding programme is loaded.

If you simply disable the superfetch service you completely disable all prefetching which will have a negative impact on performance!

There are both advantages and disadvantages with the superfetch feature. The advantages are it may improve performance for programmes that Windows thinks you'll use, and automatically loads them in to memory. The disadvantages are that there is more disk access, is pointless of low or even medium RAM systems, and I believe if you load a programme that hasn't been superfetched, an additional delay is induced by Windows having to free RAM before the programme can effectively load. Windows will always try to cram your RAM with what it thinks you may need, which many will say is beneficial because you're not wasting that RAM. I have 4gb of RAM, and admittedly with the common way of disabling superfetch (and thus prefetch) enabling it is slightly better. However...! disabling superfetch and leaving prefetch enabled as outlined above, which is the equivalent to XP, is actually faster! - for me anyway. I recommend it to all with 2gb or less memory, and for those with more than 2gb to try it. I guess if you had 8gb of memory or more then having it enabled might be beneficial!

Remember disabling the superfetch service is bad, just leave that enabled and disable the superfetch feature under the registry so prefetch remains enabled!

Sharktooth
17th April 2008, 17:58
nice update burfadel. thanks.
this solution seems to be the right one:)

burfadel
17th April 2008, 23:07
It seems over time the memory will still be used as cache, but this is good in respect to it represents your current session and not your previous session. In that respect, you get the best of both worlds!

After heavy memory use with superfetch turned off in the registry windows also doesn't try to recram the memory the same way, or at least it doesn't seem to. It still ends up the same, I think it just does it a different way? regardless Windows is snappier after disabling it in the registry, its definitely not a psychological thing! It also seems to resolve the 'disk thrashing' that some people have described, or it has on a friends computer who has only 2gb of RAM.

In my opinion the reports that turning superfetch off is bad are those that turn off the service which also disables prefetch, and not just turning off superfetch in the registry which keeps the normal prefetch working :)

Avenger007
21st April 2008, 02:26
I was just wondering...isn't a game a program to?
So if I play a game regularly wouldn't it load faster?
Btw, I'm still using XP, but with better hardware, including 4GB of RAM, I would use Vista 64-bit.
So I don't see what's so bad about Superfetch.
With 2GB of RAM would Superfetch take an all-or-nothing approach to caching the game or would it be smart enough to cache only parts that significantly affect load time?

burfadel
21st April 2008, 05:33
I don't games load any faster using superfetch, mainly because of the amount and type of data.

Over the use of Windows, the memory will still be fully utilised (that is, have 0mb free due to cache memory) just that windows seems to perform better with superfetch off (superfetch service still started, as it covers prefetch as well as described earlier). The other advantage is Windows loads faster, and if you load programmes straight after loading windows then they load faster as you're not trying to compete with superfetch. This is how it seems anyway, even though its not suppose to be the case.

Note that the way I described turning off superfetch does not disable it completely like the common method on the web does, it just disables certain aspects of it. Its still more advanced than the prefetch included in XP. All I can suggest is you try whats best for you, and the best for your hdd (having superfetch fully enabled seems to lead to excessive disk use as many have stated on the web). Some tweak programmes may disable superfetch incorrectly, as well as many suggestions on the web. You should leave the Superfetch service set to Automatic, and just disable superfetch under the registry as stated in the earlier post!

Shinigami-Sama
21st April 2008, 05:38
I was just wondering...isn't a game a program to?
So if I play a game regularly wouldn't it load faster?
Btw, I'm still using XP, but with better hardware, including 4GB of RAM, I would use Vista 64-bit.
So I don't see what's so bad about Superfetch.
With 2GB of RAM would Superfetch take an all-or-nothing approach to caching the game or would it be smart enough to cache only parts that significantly affect load time?

for most current systems its useless is the problem
it spends more time loading, unloading, and accessing the hard drive to load the prefetch, thrashing while trying to load a few at once ect...

so in about 2 years the PCs will be shipping with 4gb ram and it should all be gravy

but right now its just to overzelous
thats the problem

sharky76
21st April 2008, 06:01
I have both Vista and XP on the same machine (2gig)
The same game (Hellgate: London) loads twice as fast on XP.
Also, under Vista there is constant disk swapping during the game. Under XP all is smooth and quiet.

Vista = shit

burfadel
21st April 2008, 14:00
I have 4gb of RAM (on Vista x64, PCI Remapping etc fine so have all 4gb!), my computer is still faster with superfetch disabled, prefetch enabled! As I said, disabling the service is a bad thing. Maybe with 8gb there would be some benefit?...!

Sharktooth
21st April 2008, 14:15
i dont think superfetch is a good idea at all... even with huge amount of RAM.
it would be better to have an auto-defrag function that kicks in when the system idle or almost idle based on file access statistics... or even a better filesystem like the announced but never released WinFS.

froggy1
21st April 2008, 14:59
i dont think superfetch is a good idea at all... even with huge amount of RAM.
it would be better to have an auto-defrag function that kicks in when the system idle or almost idle based on file access statistics... or even a better filesystem like the announced but never released WinFS.

having a file system on top of a database is just a silly idea, it has a huge overhead

Sharktooth
21st April 2008, 15:47
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WinFS

froggy1
21st April 2008, 16:00
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WinFS

i very well know what WinFS is, it's a DB-based file system. One of the reasons why MS didn't put it in Vista was that it was very slow for daily operations. ZFS from Sun Micro kicks WinFS' ass any time when it comes to speed

Sharktooth
21st April 2008, 16:29
WinFS runs on top of NTFS. However Ballmer said WinFS is still actively developed and postponed from Vista to Windows 7.
Eventually they found a way to make it sufficiently fast.

Shinigami-Sama
21st April 2008, 20:46
WinFS runs on top of NTFS. However Ballmer said WinFS is still actively developed and postponed from Vista to Windows 7.
Eventually they found a way to make it sufficiently fast.

yeah wait till quadcores are standard :P

GrofLuigi
21st April 2008, 21:06
WinFS sounds too much like a grand scheme to take away all file types an lock out any and all third party applications (eventually). Yeah, I know it sounds too paranoid and too grand (even from Microsoft), but who knows what goes on in their minds... All USEFUL features of their software were exhausted with Windows 2000 and Office 97 anyway. From then on, IMHO, they keep adding 'features' and making new applications because they can't sell you the same thing twice. All progress since then was made by hardware (new devices).

IMHO it would take decades for WinFS to take on, even if it was developed as it's advertised, without ulterior motives and bug-free (and we know that's impossible). I don't even take bloat into consideration.

Give me a filesystem that's a filesystem (for storing files and directories). I'll use database program for databases.

GL

Blue_MiSfit
21st April 2008, 21:36
i dont think superfetch is a good idea at all... even with huge amount of RAM.
it would be better to have an auto-defrag function that kicks in when the system idle or almost idle based on file access statistics... or even a better filesystem like the announced but never released WinFS.

Vista does auto-defrag by default :) Every night, on every drive. It did it last night for me.

I just had a motherboard explode on me (literally, violent destruction of a capacitor.. ouch), and had to get a new one. At the same time I decided to re-load Vista x64, since I've got a much beefier machine than when I first tried it.

I have to say, my impression of it has significantly improved.

I'm running a Q6600 @ 3 GHz, 4 GB of DDR2-800 on a P35 chipset with an 8800gt video card. I've got all the latest x64 drivers (all working very well now finally), and all the latest updates including SP1. A few things struck me:

1) The slowness I noticed with 2 GB of RAM and the 3800+ X2 was gone. The only trace of this is after rebooting after software installation or Windows Update. Give it a few seconds, and the desktop is unbelievably fast. It leaves XP in the dust. I have a feeling the extra RAM and the bit of improvement that Microsoft has put into Vista over the last 6 months are both contributing to this.

2) Adobe Lightroom is exponentially faster. It's shocking. If you've ever used Lightroom on XP you have surely been frustrated by its insanely slow response time, particularly when rotating and cropping images. On Vista, it's like liquid. 60fps easily. This is _huge_ for me. I really cant emphasize this enough

3) The superfetch does work - at least for me. Photoshop CS3, Lightroom, World of Warcraft, and even Word / Excel 2007 / Firefox 3 / Digsby all jump to life noticeably quicker than on XP. Is memory usage higher? Absolutely. Hugely so. Do I care? NO. Because I still have plenty of RAM free, and Superfetch releases its cache if the system really needs it. The single most memory intensive thing I do is encode x264 at 1080p with a chunky AVS script, and this will use about 1.7 to 1.8 GB of RAM. I still have over a gig free doing this. :shrug:

I'm really very impressed. The only thing that irks me about Vista still is its silly organization of the user profile, and the image viewer, which can only do nearest neighbor resizing. Useful for some things, but most of the time I don't want that. Oh well, I rarely use it.

RAM is cheap. I'm probably going to double up again soon. $90 for 4 GB - come on! Here's one Vista fan...

~MiSfit

burfadel
21st April 2008, 23:35
With the superfetch service on but turned off in the registry, you will still end up with 0mb free under the task manager, this is because the prefetch is more advanced than the XP prefetch and it still utilises some of the advanced features. Just that when you close off a programme, the way Windows refills the cache memory is different. The other thing is responsiveness straight after a boot is better too. The main flaw with superfetch is that if you load up Word, it kicks photoshop cs3 out of the memory for example, you close off word, windows reloads cs3, you load excel, windows kicks it back out of memory, close it off it reloads. Now for the big one... you load up crysis, it kicks your whole 3gb worth of cached programmes out of the memory, close it off it reloads that 3gb of cached programmes. Then you load your video editing software, and since its memory use varies you're then constantly fighting the loading of the cached programmes after the games. The worset point is programmes such as these where memory usage fluctuates, and Windows constantly tries to cram the memory with its cached programmes and unload it again in accordance with the memory use of the programme. Thats one of its fundamental flaws. I also believe the same thing happens when playing games, the memory use varies superfetch tried to do its thing... in principal its a good idea but in reality you end up with so much overhead that it counteracts the benefits. If you read on the web the only valid comparative results are those that use the registry method and not the service method which is the usual way. Load times are faster for me too than XP. All your Office apps should load pretty much instantly, the first load of Excel may be fractionally slower but after that its fast because the Office libraries are in the memory with cacheing. After playing a game it should still be faster because of the prefetch logic.