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Deleting prefetch folder *does* improve boot time.

by Steve Wiseman on September 9, 2006 · 0 comments

in Windows


Yesterday I posted an article about improving boot times. My first tip was about deleting the prefetch folder, and modifying the prefetch registry key to improve boot time. Over and over I have seen posted on the net how this is a myth.

In fact – at this moment an article is on the front page of Digg making the “myth” claim about the prefetch folder. Every site that makes the “myth” claim this sighting an article that is on one website. I am much more likely to believe the “Windows XP Annoyances” by O’reilly than a random site on the net.

Also, one big point of contention – We are trying to improve boot time. Not overall performance. If you do the prefetch tip, it will slow down application launch time. We are not claiming this will improve overall performance! Sometimes a faster boot time is more important than launching MS Word more quickly.

I have decided that the only way to finish the argument is to do some real world testing.

Lets start out with my brand new Mac Book. I have committed the ultimate sin and put windows XP on it.

I have used this machine for about a month, so it should have enough in the prefetch to prove my point.

I powered it off, and started my stopwatch. I waited until the final screen was shown .

52 Seconds

I followed the steps in the first part of my article, and deleted the contents of the prefetch, and updated the registry key.

Powered it off.

Started stopwatch and powered it on at the same time.

37 Seconds

A slight improvement. Still – only one boot, and one computer. Did the test a second time.

38 Seconds – Still an improvement.

One machine is not enough. I had two more machines to test. The first one is a 2003 server we have had in production for about a year…Its the weekend so I can reboot all I want without the programmers here getting upset with me 😉

that’s me in the picture by the way…

Original boot time of this old beast:

1 Minute and 49 Seconds

After following the procedure:

1 Minute and 45 Seconds

Not a *huge* improvement, but boot after boot it was always 4 seconds faster

Now on to my dad’s old jalopy

He has every program that has ever been offered for free on the internet – since 1995 (It was fun moving from 98 to XP!)

His boot time before the change:

5 Min and 37 Seconds!!!

Boot time after the change:

5 Min and 30 Seconds.

After this the results are clear. It does improve boot time…Slightly. You remove spyware, defrag the hard drive, and clean up your startup menu it can add up – and you will get a faster boot time.

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