Technology Explained Windows

What Is Superfetch on Windows 10? And How to Disable It

Joel Lee Updated 29-01-2019

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, there’s one lesser-known feature that you should know about: Superfetch.

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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.

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What Is Superfetch?

Superfetch is a feature that was introduced back in Windows Vista. The official description of the Superfetch service says that it “maintains and improves system performance over time,” but that’s vague and doesn’t explain the whole story.

Superfetch shows up as “Service Host: Superfetch” in the Windows Task Manager. 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 your available RAM space with preloaded apps. Don’t worry: it only deals with unused memory. As soon as your system needs more RAM (e.g. to load an app that wasn’t preloaded), it relinquishes the needed memory as necessary.

Note that Superfetch is not the same thing as Prefetch, which is the preloading memory manager that was introduced back in Windows XP. Superfetch is actually the successor to Prefetch. What’s the difference? 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 average specs or better, Superfetch most likely runs so smoothly that you won’t ever notice it. There’s a good chance Superfetch is already running on your system right now and you didn’t even know.

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

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.

Note: To boost performance on a RAM-sparse system, we recommend tweaking the Windows virtual memory limit and tweaking Windows visual effects. You can also try these tips for faster startup and shutdown.

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 in case something goes wrong (it’s more common than you think).

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 EnableSuperfetch

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.

Other Windows 10 Features You Can Disable

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 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 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 .

Image Credit: AntonioGuillemF/Depositphotos

Explore more about: Computer Maintenance, Computer Memory, Windows 10, Windows Registry.

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  1. Nijaz
    February 20, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    This service is now called SysMain for those of you who can't find it. Meaning its display name is also SysMain! Unlike in image where it is only it its service name.

  2. beechtree
    September 24, 2019 at 10:06 am

    This worked brilliantly for me for a few minutes until the CPU shot up to 100% and Memory started spiking. Any thoughts? Thanks

  3. VanguardLH
    April 27, 2019 at 4:46 am

    The SuperFetch service got renamed to SysMain (as of Windows 10 build 17763.1). This outdated information becomes a disservice to users since they may not find a service named SuperFetch.

    • Robert
      December 10, 2019 at 4:51 am

      No joke. I looked for that Superfetch in Services and it wasn't listed. Took me weeks to find out that the name was changed to SysMain. When stuff like this happens these "Experts" need to be able to update these articles. I must have gone through everyone I could find and none of them mentioned that the name had been changed. A lot of the articles I saw on this subject, didn't have a comment section, though they did have contact information. I'm sure more than a few people informed them of the name change. I'm starting to wonder if these people even care about keeping their articles up to date.

  4. ??????
    December 25, 2018 at 5:40 am

    this service is no longer there, it is now called SysMain. so rewrite the topic)

    • Warren Warshaw
      January 8, 2019 at 8:15 pm

      I'm running Win 10 Pro ver 1803 with all Windows Updates up-to-date & I have the Superfetch service. Not seeing Sys.Main at all.

      • danwat1234
        June 27, 2019 at 11:22 pm

        I am running Windows 10 1903 (March 2019 build) and there is no Superfetch Service, but there is a Sysmain service. "Maintains and improves system performance over time".

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

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

  6. 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.

    • Bruce Epper
      December 24, 2018 at 7:35 pm

      Check the Startup tab in Task Manager to identify the processes with High impact on start time.

    • danwat1234
      June 27, 2019 at 11:24 pm

      Get an SSD? Otherwise it may be a timeout issue.