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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger PaulB's Avatar
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    Prefetch (WinXP Pro SP2)

    I cleared my prefetch folder Wednesday based on a "tip" I received. It was my understanding that this would improve performance and that the prefetch folder would be rebuilt. Well, so far (Sunday) it's still empty. Doing a search in the Lounge I learned that 1) I shouldn't have cleared my prefetch folder, and 2) yes, it will be rebuilt. Can't do anything about point 1 now, but I'm puzzled as to why my prefetch folder is not being repopulated. Does anyone have a thought about this?

    Cheers,
    Regards,
    PaulB

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    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Prefetch (WinXP Pro SP2)

    Paul,
    There are two opinions regarding prefetch.
    1. Clean it out
    2. Leave it alone.

    I happen to be of the first opinion but I'm sure others will opt for the second.
    The best way to control your prefetch ( I think ) is to use a little freeware utility called of all things; "Windows Prefetch Clean & Control"

    You can Download it HERE

    Here is an opinion from another Option One person:
    --------------------------------------------------
    Windows XP caches frequent applications, services, and files in a folder called "prefetch" to speed the launching of these items. A problem with this is that XP isn't too smart about what it caches -- which includes one-time use setup files and Windows updates, as well as multiple copies of the same applications. This can lead to prefetch bloat and slower boot times.

    However you can easily clean it. Choose Start, Run and then type prefetch. The prefetch folder will open and you can safely delete many of these unnecessary shortcuts such as updates, patches, temp files, etc. Afterwards, XP should start quicker (you may want to do a defrag or defrag -b to fully realize the benefits.
    ----------------------------------------------------

    I opt for leaving just the Boot files and the Layout.ini file in the folder. All else is OUT. If you don't use a utility like the above, Prefetch WILL start to again accumulate files as you use apps.

    Take your pick, what camp to join.
    BOB
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  3. #3
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    Re: Prefetch (WinXP Pro SP2)

    The trouble with "opinions" is that they often get the facts wrong.

    For example the quote above states that
    <hr>Windows XP caches frequent applications, services, and files in a folder called "prefetch" <hr>
    This is untrue, Windows stores information about the disk layout of files in the prefetch folder, so that it can find the parts of the file it needs more quickly, it does not cache the files themselves.

    StuartR
    Who subscribes to the "if it ain't broke, leave it alone" approach.

  4. #4
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Prefetch (WinXP Pro SP2)

    Stuart,
    That's why they call them opinions.

    Perhaps they used a poor choice of words in using cache but if you look at it as a "storage point" or cache, it may be closer to the actual.

    ie: he had a cache of money stored away somewhere.
    BOB
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  5. #5
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    Re: Prefetch (WinXP Pro SP2)

    Here's two good articles about this subject: Ed Bott: Beware of Bogus XP Advice and Windows XP: Kernel Improvements Create a More Robust, Powerful, and Scalable OS -- MSDN Magazine, December 2001. Ed Bott, Mark Russinovich, and David Solomon are very well known Windows authors and experts. So, I'd take their word over just about anyone else's opinions.

    Joe
    Joe

  6. #6
    Gold Lounger Rebel's Avatar
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    Re: Prefetch (WinXP Pro SP2)

    Thanks for those references Joe. Excellent articles! <img src=/S/yep.gif border=0 alt=yep width=15 height=15>
    John
    A Child's Mind, Once Stretched by Imagination...
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  7. #7
    5 Star Lounger PaulB's Avatar
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    Re: Prefetch (WinXP Pro SP2)

    Thanks for the advice (opinion?) on the ins and outs of clearing the prefetch folder. However, I'm still in the dark as to why my prefetch folder is still empty 5 days after clearing it. I guess my question is: When does it start rebuilding itself?

    Cheers,
    Regards,
    PaulB

  8. #8
    Gold Lounger Rebel's Avatar
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    Re: Prefetch (WinXP Pro SP2)

    Just a shot in the dark Paul, but have you shut down and rebooted during this period?
    John
    A Child's Mind, Once Stretched by Imagination...
    Never Regains Its Original Dimensions

  9. #9
    5 Star Lounger PaulB's Avatar
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    Re: Prefetch (WinXP Pro SP2)

    Hi, John. I typically shut down my machine every night unless I'm doing a biiiiiig download overnight, so yes, the machine has been rebooted numerous times since the purge. I'm wondering if perhaps the OS has to build a certain amount of history before determining what to put in the prefetch folder. Or maybe I shut down a service that is required in order for the prefetch to work. Just more shots in the dark.

    BTW, where in Ontario is Hanmer?

    Cheers,
    Regards,
    PaulB

  10. #10
    Gold Lounger Rebel's Avatar
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    Re: Prefetch (WinXP Pro SP2)

    Paul,
    This article may help in rebuilding the prefetch folder. In the first post from 'adamzapple', I think I might be tempted to disregard the 5th instruction (i.e. disabling Task Scheduler). BTW, Hanmer is a small town about 15 minutes north of Sudbury.
    John
    A Child's Mind, Once Stretched by Imagination...
    Never Regains Its Original Dimensions

  11. #11
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    Re: Prefetch (WinXP Pro SP2)

    Have you made a registry change to disable prefetching? Did you run the program for which Bob provided a link?

    Joe
    Joe

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    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Prefetch (WinXP Pro SP2)

    Paul,
    As Joe suggested, it's possible that your reg may have prefetch disabled.It depends on HOW you cleared the folder out.
    Here is some detail on checking your reg and how to enable prefetch in certain modes.
    --------------------------------------------------
    Modifying and disabling Prefetch settings

    To change the registry settings for prefetching, start the Registry Editor by selecting Run from the Start menu, typing regedit in the Open text box, and clicking OK. When the Registry Editor window opens, navigate through the left pane until you get to this hive:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlSe ssion ManagerMemory ManagementPrefetchParameters

    In the right pane, look for the key named EnablePrefetcher. The value of this key represents how prefetch works on your system. Values you can choose from include:

    0
    BOB
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  13. #13
    5 Star Lounger PaulB's Avatar
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    Re: Prefetch (WinXP Pro SP2)

    John,

    Your article on rebuilding the prefetch folder worked like a charm. At step 1 I discovered that my Task Scheduler service was set to Manual and was not running. So I set it to Automatic and started it. Just to be sure, I rebooted before proceeding any further. When the system came back up, I ran "prefetch" and voila... about a dozen entries in my prefetch folder! There was no layout.ini file, however.

    I then ran steps 2 and 3. Now I have a layout.ini file.

    I'll run step 4 later and I think I'll skip step 5 until I can determine that the Task Scheduler service is not required in order to maintain the prefetch folder.

    Thanks for your help, John, and my thanks to all who provided advice.

    Cheers,
    Regards,
    PaulB

  14. #14
    5 Star Lounger PaulB's Avatar
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    Re: Prefetch (WinXP Pro SP2)

    Bob, Joe,

    Thanks for your input. It was Ed Bott's article that showed me I perhaps shouldn't have cleared the prefetch folder, hence these posts. Bob's utility seems to do two things: 1) clear the prefetch folder (but that's my problem) and 2) does a registry tweak to set EnablePrefetcher to 0, 1, 2 or 3. Mine had always been set to 3 and I want to keep it that way. It does not appear to do anything to help resolve my current problem, which is to rebuild the prefetch folder (still empty as I write this, 5 days after clearing it).

    My next step is to try John's solution. Stay tuned... more to come.

    Cheers,
    Regards,
    PaulB

  15. #15
    Gold Lounger Rebel's Avatar
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    Re: Prefetch (WinXP Pro SP2)

    <hr>until I can determine that the Task Scheduler service is not required<hr>
    I think that you will find that Task Scheduler IS required Paul. If you turn it off, no further entries will be added to the Prefetch folder.
    John
    A Child's Mind, Once Stretched by Imagination...
    Never Regains Its Original Dimensions

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