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  1. #1
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Prefetch folder (WinXp)

    Can anyone explain just what the Windows XP "prefetch" folder is and what it is used for?
    I searched thru MS Knowledge base and couldn't find anything.
    BOB
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    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: Prefetch folder (WinXp)

    See this article at the Windows 2000 Power users site. (An excerpt below)
    <hr>Interestingly, Windows XP has a feature unique to it (among other versions of Windows) which can also benefit from a periodic neatening-up. XP creates a system directory called the Prefetch folder and populates it with precached data that's used when you start the system. This is part of the reason boot times in XP are faster than Win2K -- it's getting data intelligently for the boot cycle based on previous boot cycles.<hr>

  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Prefetch folder (WinXp)

    Thanks for quick reply! Of particular interest is your comment, "periodic neatening-up".
    I assume then that files here can be deleted freely if you no longer have on your system or have since eliminated them? How about a complete clean out?
    BOB
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    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: Prefetch folder (WinXp)

    Not my words, I'm afraid <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> - however, the quote continues:
    <hr>Over time, though, the Prefetch folder can be cluttered with irrelevant data, especially if you add and remove a lot of programs. To that end I have found that it's a good idea to dump out the Prefetch folder completely -- it's in /Windows/Prefetch -- and then reboot to let the system rebuild it. If you add and remove a lot of stuff, do this once a month; if not, once every three months or so, just before a CHKDSK and defrag cycle.<hr>
    ...and from that I would assume it is quite safe.

    Another article you may find of interest is here at PCQuest.

  5. #5
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Prefetch folder (WinXp)

    That's what I thought! But it's always nice to see someone re-enforce that thought <img src=/S/clapping.gif border=0 alt=clapping width=19 height=23> Thanks Again !
    Of course it is also good to have something like Roxio's "Go-BAck" Available, too.
    BOB
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  6. #6
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Prefetch folder (WinXp)

    Mark, I know this is off the subject of this thread, but could you explain a little more about what you mean by the statement "meaning it's actually needed to boot" please? I downloaded it last nite, but got to thinking that I don't want to paint myself in a corner I can't get out of. Does installing BootVis lock you into anything?

    Al

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    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Prefetch folder (WinXp)

    Perhaps I should have made my post sound a bit less threatening. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    What it does, actually, is to load the pieces of code that are used in the load and startup process of the operating system. This includes drivers as well as other software components. Prefetch is where the very first things that will be needed are kept for parallel loading during boot. If Prefetch isn't there, it will load what it needs anyway but it will take additional time to do so. Prefetching essentially means getting the code into memory before it's needed. BootVis reboots your PC a minimum of one time to trace what is loading versus what is in prefetch.

    BootVis doesn't lock you in to anything. It simply tries to organize your system's boot process into the most efficient order so that the goal of a working desktop in less than 45 seconds is possible. Cough, cough. I can tell you that I have used the tool to shave off 15 seconds in the boot process on a heavily used XP client, so it really does work.
    -Mark

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    Re: Prefetch folder (WinXp)

    I've read somewhere (not sure if in a newsgroup or MS site) that you really should boot 4 or 5 times with Bootvis to let enough data get collected so a one time glitch won't mess up it's conclusions. Then as you change your system you want to periodically use it again.
    Joe

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    Re: Prefetch folder (WinXp)

    I've made defrag a scheduled task to run at 2:00 AM once a week. It sounds like it would be prudent to have bootvis run something like once per month...and from what I've gathered here, that will purge the prefetch folder? Thanks!

  10. #10
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Prefetch folder (WinXp)

    I've never validated this theory, but I would think that it would be part of the process - if you're going to optimize the boot process, it would be rather silly to leave your "candy wrapper on the floor" so to speak. But then again, Microsoft does astound me with stupid things every now and again. I always delete the folder prior to the BootVis process, which I initiate manually - and only then if the boot time is lagging. If your hardware is decent and you have no system problems it should boot quickly.
    -Mark

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    Re: Prefetch folder (WinXp)

    I will try that (cleaning the folder prior to bootvis). Overall I'm very pleased with WinXP Pro because I'm going from an almost 2 min. boot time to about 1 min. on an IBM T20 ThinkPad. Cheers!

  12. #12
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Prefetch folder (WinXp)

    Edited by WyllyWylly to correct URL. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    From my own personal experience -

    You can delete the folder safely. Windows will rebuild it for you.

    Better still, download BOOTVIS.EXE from Microsoft's website, delete the PREFETCH folder, and run BootVis to optimize the system. I do this about once a month. BootVis will trace what is loaded at reboot (meaning it's actually needed to boot) and optimize the load pattern of these bits and bytes.

    It's worth noting that Microsoft has a stern notice about this tool being for the use of hardware developers and OEMs. That doesn't mean that you can't download the program, but it isn't the most user-friendly thing in the world either - likely the reason for the warning from Redmond. It's their way of saying "this tool may confuse you." <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>
    -Mark

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