What Is SuperFetch and Do You Need It on Windows 10?
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Although it may not feel so at times, Windows 10 is a definite improvement over previous versions in many ways. But it can also feel slow and sluggish when it isn’t configured properly. Of the many ways to improve Windows 10 performance How to Increase Windows 10 Performance and Make It Feel Faster How to Increase Windows 10 Performance and Make It Feel Faster Windows 10 runs pretty fast -- but you can make it even faster! We'll show you free tweaks to increase speed and performance. You'll transform Windows 10 from slow poke to Usain Bolt in 12... Read More , there’s one lesser-known feature that you should know more about: SuperFetch.

In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know about what SuperFetch is, how it works, why it might be problematic, and how to disable it if it’s causing issues.

How SuperFetch Speeds Up Your PC

The official description of the SuperFetch service says that it “maintains and improves system performance over time,” but that’s vague and doesn’t quite explain the whole story.

SuperFetch is a feature that was introduced back in Windows Vista. It sits quietly in the background, constantly analyzing RAM usage patterns and learning what kinds of apps you run most often. Over time, SuperFetch marks these apps as “frequently used” and preloads them into RAM ahead of time.

The idea is that when you do want to run the app, it will launch much faster because it’s already preloaded in memory.

Task Manager Performance Tab Memory

By default, SuperFetch is designed to take up all remaining RAM space with preloaded apps. But don’t fret because it only deals with unused memory. As soon as your system needs more RAM (perhaps to load an app that wasn’t preloaded), it relinquishes the needed memory.

Note that SuperFetch is not the same thing as Prefetch, which is the preloading memory manager that was introduced back in Windows XP. In fact, SuperFetch is the successor to Prefetch. The difference is that Prefetch did not analyze usage patterns over time and adjust its preloading parameters accordingly.

Is SuperFetch Really Necessary?

For the most part, SuperFetch is useful. If you have a modern PC with at least average specs, SuperFetch most likely runs so smoothly that you won’t ever notice it. There’s a good chance SuperFetch is running on your system right now and you didn’t even know, did you?

But there are some “problems” that can arise with SuperFetch:

  • Since SuperFetch is always running in the background, the SuperFetch service itself is always using some CPU and RAM.
  • SuperFetch doesn’t eliminate the need to load apps into RAM but simply relocates the loading to an earlier time. Whenever that loading happens, your system will experience the same slowdown as if you were launching the app without SuperFetch.
  • System startup can be sluggish because SuperFetch is preloading a bunch of data from your HDD to RAM. If your HDD runs at 100% for a few minutes every time you start or restart your computer, SuperFetch could be the culprit.
  • The performance gains of SuperFetch may be unnoticeable when Windows 10 is installed on an SSD. Since SSDs are so fast, you don’t really need preloading. If this interests you, check out our guide to moving Windows from HDD to SSD How to Move Windows from HDD to SSD to Improve Performance How to Move Windows from HDD to SSD to Improve Performance A Solid State Drive upgrade really improves performance. But how can you squeeze a large Windows installation onto a tiny SSD? Windows users can comfortably migrate from HDD to SSD in very little time. Read More .

SuperFetch has also been known to cause performance issues while gaming, particularly on systems that have 4GB of RAM or less. It’s unclear why this happens because it doesn’t occur for everybody, but we suspect it has to do with RAM-heavy games that constantly request and free up memory, which may cause SuperFetch to constantly load and unload data.

Is it safe to disable SuperFetch? Yes! There is no risk of side effects if you decide to turn it off. Our recommendation is that if your system is running well, leave it on. If you have issues with high HDD usage, high RAM usage, or degraded performance during RAM-heavy activities, then try turning it off and see if it helps. If it does, keep it off. Otherwise, turn it back on.

If you want to boost performance on a RAM-sparse system, we recommend tweaking the virtual memory limit and tweaking the visual effects. You can also try these tips for faster startup and shutdown as well as these tips for optimized gaming on Windows 10.

How to Disable SuperFetch on Windows 10

To reiterate, we don’t recommend disabling SuperFetch except as a troubleshooting measure for the potential issues mentioned above. Most users should keep SuperFetch enabled because it does help with overall performance. If you aren’t sure, try turning it off. If you don’t notice any improvements, turn it back on.

Using the Services App

Step 1: Launch the Services app. Open the Start Menu, search for services, then launch the Services app. Alternatively, open the Run prompt by pressing Windows key + R, then type services.msc and click OK.

Windows Services SuperFetch

Step 2: Disable the SuperFetch service. Scroll down until you see Superfetch, right-click on it, and click Stop. SuperFetch is now disabled.

Superfetch Properties

Step 3: Prevent SuperFetch from running automatically. Still in the Services app, right-click on Superfetch and select Properties. Under the General tab, look for Startup type and change it to Disabled. (Or Manual if you’d like the option to turn it on when you need it.)

Using the Registry Editor

The Services app is the preferred method for this, but if it doesn’t work for some reason, you can always edit the registry key directly. Before you do this, make sure you back up the registry How to Back Up and Restore the Windows Registry How to Back Up and Restore the Windows Registry Editing the Registry unlocks some cool tweaks, but can be dangerous. Here's how to back up the Registry before making changes so they're easily reversed. Read More in case something goes wrong (it’s more common than you think How Not to Accidentally Mess Up the Windows Registry How Not to Accidentally Mess Up the Windows Registry Working with the Windows registry? Take note of these tips, and you'll be much less likely to do lasting damage to your PC. Read More ).

Step 1: Open the Registry Editor. Open the Start Menu, search for regedit, then select it from the results. Alternatively, open the Run prompt by pressing Windows key + R, then type regedit and click OK.

Windows Registry Editor

Step 2: Find the SuperFetch key. Using the left sidebar, navigate to the following: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE / SYSTEM / CurrentControlSet / Control / Session Manager / MemoryManagement / PrefetchParameters:

Edit DWORD 32-bit Value

Step 3: Disable SuperFetch. In the right panel, you should see a key called EnableSuperfetch. Right-click on it and select Modify… to bring up the key editor. To disable SuperFetch, change Value Data to 0 and click OK.

Should You Disable Other Special Features?

SuperFetch isn’t the only example of a feature that might be better off disabled. If you’re still having issues with Windows 10, we highly recommend looking at these Windows 10 features to safely disable 9 Windows 10 Features You Can Safely Disable 9 Windows 10 Features You Can Safely Disable Windows 10 is packed with features, but a lot of them are unnecessary. Here's how to safely prune unwanted features off your Windows 10 system for a more streamlined experience. Read More as well as our follow-up article with even more features to disable 10 More Windows 10 Features You Can Turn Off 10 More Windows 10 Features You Can Turn Off The Windows 10 Creators Update introduced a raft of new features, settings, and apps. We show you which features you can safely disable and improve your Windows experience. Read More .

Are you having problems with Windows 10? Got any other SuperFetch-related tips or tricks that we should know? Share with us down in the comments!

Image Credit: AntonioGuillemF/Depositphotos

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  1. Bart
    December 2, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    Off topic but I believe that picture has the couple from the "distracted boyfriend" meme

  2. Fik of borg
    November 28, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    Checked. Already disabled.
    Windows 10 still takes an eternity (ok, several minutes) from powerup to desktop on a should-be-enough intel i5 2310 with 8GB and 3GHz and only Dropbox and Google Sync starting. Same on a i7 Dell Inspiron 7537 laptop.