Author Topic: Should I disable superfetch because of high disk useage?  (Read 6044 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Corrine

  • The Mystical Rose
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 19463
  • "Stronger than the past, united in our goal."
    • View Profile
    • Security Garden
Re: Should I disable superfetch because of high disk useage?
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2017, 12:43:59 AM »
The description of Superfetch is "Maintains and improves system performance over time."  With 4GB RAM, you're not going to achieve the same performance as a system with 8, 12 or more GB RAM. 

Is it a specific time or when you are performing specific activities that you notice the high usage?  Perhaps it would be helpful to note what you are doing when it happens.


Take a walk through the "Security Garden" -- Where Everything is Coming up Roses!

Remember - A day without laughter is a day wasted.
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart.

Offline pastywhitegurl

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1043
  • advanced techno feeb
    • View Profile
Re: Should I disable superfetch because of high disk useage?
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2017, 01:46:26 AM »
Its just one or two times a day, but its every day.  It seems to coincide with MalwareBytes downloading their daily definition updates.  But superfetch continues to keep the disk useage levels at near max  long after MB  is done doing its thing.  I've changed the schedule for those updates, so maybe that will be enough to mitigate the 100% disk useage times.

I really don't want to be fixing things that don't need fixed.  It was just something I was exploring to see if it was a common problem with an easy solution.

Offline satrow

  • LzD Friends
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 212
    • View Profile
Re: Should I disable superfetch because of high disk useage?
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2017, 10:46:46 AM »
That reads like Sf is scanning all the MBAM files so they can be added to the .pf files to be precached at every startup by ReadyBoot (not ReadyBoost). If so, that's a complete waste of CPU and disk time, updaters and installers are one time only and should never be precached.

Would one of you W10 users like to run a compare with the OP based on the contents, dates/times and last used, of the Windows\Prefetch file and folder content?

Offline Digerati

  • LzD Friends
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1037
    • View Profile
Re: Should I disable superfetch because of high disk useage?
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2017, 12:17:16 PM »
Quote
Would one of you W10 users like to run a compare with the OP based on the contents, dates/times and last used, of the Windows\Prefetch file and folder content?
What is it you are looking for? There is no way the contents would be the same. No doubt I use many different programs every day than pastywhitegurl does and it has been 10 days 8+ hours since I last booted.

FWIW, I only have one entry in Windows\prefetch for Malwarebyes: MBAM.EXE-2E5A2260.pf.

Not sure what you mean by "Last used". Did you mean "Date last saved" or "Date modified"? 
Bill (AFE7Ret)
Freedom is NOT Free!
2007 - 2018

Offline satrow

  • LzD Friends
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 212
    • View Profile
Re: Should I disable superfetch because of high disk useage?
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2017, 12:57:26 PM »
I just got back from 15 minutes on an underpowered W10 notebook (single core, 3GB but it has an SSD, though it's probably using SATA II).

I updated and ran the Free MBAM Threat Scan and noted that MBAM ate ~60% combined + Defender was trying very hard to use the rest of the CPU, all Windows installations are different but this one certainly needs some tweaking to prevent the anti-malware software choking on each others actions.

I checked the Windows Prefetch files, total 187 items, including ~6 related to MBAM.

Next I installed CCleaner and checked the Windows > Advanced > Old Prefetch Files and ran a scan - for the OPF section, it found 181 that it classified as old (for those of you who aren't familiar with the way CCleaner scans for 'old' Prefetch files, it only flags those that haven't been used for ~ a month (might be 6 weeks, I've not checked the details for 3-4 years). It doesn't flag or remove all Prefetch files, only those that are not being used.

So, on this machine, almost all Sf Prefetching looks to be pointless activity.

On to ReadyBoot: this makes use of the Prefetch files to layout the files that are likely to be needed at Boot and during your session, on the outer part of the disk so they can be loaded as quickly as possible  - if we transpose that to 'my' notebook (let's ignore the SSD here), none of those 181 'old' Prefetch files should feature in ReadyBoot, there's no point in laying out files for fast access when they'll never be used.

Offline techie

  • LzD Friends
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 593
    • View Profile
Re: Should I disable superfetch because of high disk useage?
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2017, 01:54:16 PM »
Superfetch isn't really using any resources on a test system, but when Malwarebytes is scanning, it is eating the disk, memory and CPU resources. It's using more memory and CPU cycles than disk. I'm not running realtime with Malwarebytes, but I would guess it's using a good amount of resources.

I would temporarily turn off Malwarebytes, and try just defender to see if the usage drops.

This is a good app to quickly look at prefetch files:

http://www.nirsoft.net/utils/win_prefetch_view.html


Offline Digerati

  • LzD Friends
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1037
    • View Profile
Re: Should I disable superfetch because of high disk useage?
« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2017, 02:54:33 PM »
@satow - you have demonstrated no reason to disable prefetch. CCleaner really isn't even a player here. It just removes old PF files for uninstalled programs, or programs that have not been used in awhile. That option in CCleaner is not even enabled by default. Just because there is a PF file, that does not suggest performance degradation. Regardless, even if there are old files laying around, that has nothing to do with "disk utilization" or Windows performance unless the disk is desperately critically low on free disk space.

I mean really? How much space are you talking about? I have 149 files in my prefetch folder taking up a measly 3.4MB.

So if you have an SSD, do you need Superfetch and Prefetch. No. That's why Microsoft dynamically uses Superfetch if needed, depending on the drive configuration in newer versions of Windows. See MSDN, The Defrag Show: Disabling Hibernation, Superfetch onboard VGA. Note this is for W8 but W10 is even more advanced.

Also see The How-to Geek and note (my bold added),
Quote
Windows 8 and 10 also automatically disable the SuperFetch service for speedy solid-state drives. Leave SuperFetch “on” in Windows 10 and it will automatically enable itself for slower mechanical drives and disable itself for fast SSDs. You don’t need to tweak this by hand–Windows 10 just does the right thing. Windows 7 will disable SuperFetch system-wide if you have a fast enough SSD. Either way, SuperFetch is disabled automatically.

***

More SSD Optimization Myths, Debunked


Disable Superfetch and Prefetch: These features aren’t really necessary with an SSD, so Windows 7, 8, and 10 already disable them for SSDs if your SSD is fast enough.
Bill (AFE7Ret)
Freedom is NOT Free!
2007 - 2018

Offline satrow

  • LzD Friends
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 212
    • View Profile
Re: Should I disable superfetch because of high disk useage?
« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2017, 03:46:54 PM »
Except to say that on W7 and an SSD, Superfetch and ReadyBoot can continue to operate under the hood, though ReadyBoost is (usually?) disabled - but you do need to check, even MS have said as much, though I really don't have time to dig up the page(s), let's stick with trying to deal with the OP's issue.

CCleaner is a very useful pointer when combined with the contents of the layout.ini for ReadyBoot - if any of the old/unused/non-existent files flagged up by CCleaner exist in there, it will show that Sf/ReadyBoot isn't all it's cracked up to be and your CPU+Disk I/O is being wasted by it.

Techie (very good link, BTW), there should be no need to disable either MBAM or Defender, it would be better to set exceptions in each of them for the other. I'll take a look around the MBAM site, they might have the info on how to do that.

Offline Digerati

  • LzD Friends
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1037
    • View Profile
Re: Should I disable superfetch because of high disk useage?
« Reply #23 on: November 01, 2017, 12:39:13 PM »
Quote
Except to say that on W7...

Except to say W10 is not W7. W7 is approaching 9 years old. Windows 7 "mainstream support" terminated almost 3 years ago on Jan 14, 2015. That means no significant changes to the OS or any of its features (except security updates) have been made, or will be made my Microsoft after that date.

W10 has just gone through it's 4th major upgrade. It essentially is a new OS, again.

W10 is not W7. W7 should not be used to justify or rationalize modifications to W10.

The OP has W10 so I agree, we need to stick with that. If the OP's Superfetch is causing excessive disk I/O, that does not suggest the feature, by design, is ill-conceived or that it should be disabled because that is what was done with W7. It suggests something unexpected has gone wrong. It could be the feature itself has become corrupt, or something else is incorrectly and adversely affecting it. It needs to be fixed, not disabled.

Bill (AFE7Ret)
Freedom is NOT Free!
2007 - 2018

Offline satrow

  • LzD Friends
  • Full Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 212
    • View Profile
Re: Should I disable superfetch because of high disk useage?
« Reply #24 on: November 02, 2017, 11:05:40 AM »
So, other than putting up with it, what diagnosis methods do you propose for @PWG?

My proposal starts off simple, disable the offending Service and weigh up the pros and cons after a few sessions of running without it - is no prefetching causing you to waste more time waiting for programs to load than you have done by being stalled by Sf chasing MBAM's updates? Which is better for you, PWG?


Offline pastywhitegurl

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1043
  • advanced techno feeb
    • View Profile
Re: Should I disable superfetch because of high disk useage?
« Reply #25 on: November 06, 2017, 03:09:09 AM »
So I haven't disabled anything yet, but I let CC cleaner analyze the old prefetch data.  This is what I have:

2899 KB  in 126 files

Does that mean anything?

From the above conversation, it seems it doesn't matter what programs those might be related to, so I didn't document that.

Since my Windows 10 installation, CC cleaner has not been used on any of the Registry or Advanced Windows system options.

I've been away from the computer most of the weekend, so I'll know better tomorrow whether changing the MBAM updates schedule has made things better.  I changed it from downloading new definitions every 4 hours to once a day during the wee hours.  Is a once a day update sufficient?


Offline Corrine

  • The Mystical Rose
  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 19463
  • "Stronger than the past, united in our goal."
    • View Profile
    • Security Garden
Re: Should I disable superfetch because of high disk useage?
« Reply #26 on: November 06, 2017, 11:54:07 AM »
Updates aren't going to have much of an impact.  Rather than updates, when are scan(s) scheduled?  From https://www.malwarebytes.com/support/guides/mbam/Settings.html?lang=en#context:

Quote
Impact of Scans on System

Most users schedule scans to occur during times when their computer is typically idle. Execution of a manual scan may be performed as a matter of convenience, or while other tasks are being executed. The performance of lower-powered computers may be affected by execution of the Malwarebytes scan. This setting allows the user to determine the priority of the scan to be performed. Lower scan priority will require more time to execute while impacting other operations to a lesser degree. High priority allows the scan to be executed at the maximum speed which the computer allows, but may affect other tasks.



Take a walk through the "Security Garden" -- Where Everything is Coming up Roses!

Remember - A day without laughter is a day wasted.
May the wind sing to you and the sun rise in your heart.