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Possible to selectively enable SuperFetch for HDDs?

post #1 of 11
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So I just got a new Windows 7 install up and running on my new SSD and I'm following Sean Webster's guide for the setup, however, I'm just concerned about one thing. I understand why it's important to disable Prefetch and SuperFetch for my SSD, but at the same time, I feel like I'd be giving up the performance benefits of those services applicable to my HDDs which I'd obviously be using to install other things that won't fit on my SSD. Is there anyway to selectively disable SuperFetch and Prefetching for certain drives and have it enabled for others (ie, not let those services touch my SSD but let them cache data from the HDDs)?
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post #2 of 11
I'm not 100% that SuperFetch actually works for drives other than the one Windows is installed on. I'm also less confident that you can actually configure it to prefetch certain drives if it does.

However, checkout SuperCache smile.gif
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post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tompsonn View Post

I'm not 100% that SuperFetch actually works for drives other than the one Windows is installed on. I'm also less confident that you can actually configure it to prefetch certain drives if it does.
However, checkout SuperCache smile.gif

Looks interesting, but at $80, a tad on the pricey side.

I've been reading a bit more into this and I'm hearing several things common throughout guides that tell you to how to/whether to disable SuperFetch. Most say that having a relatively recent SSD should lead Windows into automatically disabling the SSD. However, they then go on to say that even having SSDs installed and correctly recognized, Windows did not disable SuperFetch and they had to do it manually themselves. This is quite common and I read it in almost every single guide.

I then came across this article, which is similar to most of the other ones, however, at the end it seems to say that even though the services are enabled, they don't actually cache any data from the SSD. Instead, they leave it alone and cache only from the HDDs. Basically, I believe this is saying that Windows already does automatically what I wanted to do in the OP. I'll "test" this out by monitoring reads from the HDD and memory population when I do a restart.

Thoughts?
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post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Core2uu View Post

Looks interesting, but at $80, a tad on the pricey side.
I've been reading a bit more into this and I'm hearing several things common throughout guides that tell you to how to/whether to disable SuperFetch. Most say that having a relatively recent SSD should lead Windows into automatically disabling the SSD. However, they then go on to say that even having SSDs installed and correctly recognized, Windows did not disable SuperFetch and they had to do it manually themselves. This is quite common and I read it in almost every single guide.
I then came across this article, which is similar to most of the other ones, however, at the end it seems to say that even though the services are enabled, they don't actually cache any data from the SSD. Instead, they leave it alone and cache only from the HDDs. Basically, I believe this is saying that Windows already does automatically what I wanted to do in the OP. I'll "test" this out by monitoring reads from the HDD and memory population when I do a restart.
Thoughts?

Yeah it is a bit pricey, I believe there are free ones, but I can vouch for SuperCache, it does work well!

Windows doesn't know that you have an SSD. Windows uses the WEI score for the primary hard disk to decide whether to disable things like SuperFetch and defragmentation. AFAIK this only happens during the initial rating WEI performs when installing Windows. This means the SSD has to be installed at the same time as Windows. I can't remember the score at which these things get disabled now though, however, but it also means that if you install an SSD later and re-run the WEI, these services won't be switched off.

I'll do a little bit of digging for you to see if I can find out exactly what SuperFetch does in these scenarios...

Note that SuperFetch encompasses more than technology and does not just do caching of disk reads and writes. It also performs boot time prefetching (which is what gets disabled when a disk with a high WEI score is detected) and also provides the foundations to Windows ReadyBoost, ReadyDrive and ReadyBoot - as a result there are user-mode components (the service you see in the Services Management console) and kernel-mode components (implemented as filter drivers) that you do not have control over.

Mark Russinovich sums it up as:

"The scheme relies on support from the Memory Manager so that it can retrieve page usage histories as well as direct the Memory Manager to preload data and code from files on disk or from a paging file into the Standby List and assign priorities to pages."

However he doesn't actually mention if the data is only retrieved from the primary hard disk, or all hard disks.
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post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by tompsonn View Post

Windows doesn't know that you have an SSD. Windows uses the WEI score for the primary hard disk to decide whether to disable things like SuperFetch and defragmentation. AFAIK this only happens during the initial rating WEI performs when installing Windows. This means the SSD has to be installed at the same time as Windows. I can't remember the score at which these things get disabled now though, however, but it also means that if you install an SSD later and re-run the WEI, these services won't be switched off.

I forgot the source, but when I did my research on SuperFetch the # for the rating and turning it off was something like 8MB/s random 4K reads. When it is disabled it should be set to manual by Windows in the system services console after you run W.E.I.

I have done testing in my system with SuperFetch and prefect enabled and disabled, and disabled boots faster every time by about 1-2 sec. I did ~20+ restarts/cold boots to test.

I didn't see any benefit when having it enabled overall either for my other drives...I may retest that soon, though Intel tells ya to disable it, Samsung has their optimizing program disable it...

tompsonn, find info on it! lol
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Somewhat unrelated, but...
33o6269.jpg

I currently have SuperFetch disabled as per the instructions in your guide, Sean. However, here we still see almost 4.9GB of my memory being used to cache data. Thoughts on this?
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post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Core2uu View Post

Somewhat unrelated, but...
33o6269.jpg
I currently have SuperFetch disabled as per the instructions in your guide, Sean. However, here we still see almost 4.9GB of my memory being used to cache data. Thoughts on this?

That is the normal Windows stand by list. This isn't a problem - if required, the Windows memory manager selflessly releases those pages for applications to use. Windows is using your memory efficiently smile.gif
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post #8 of 11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tompsonn View Post

That is the normal Windows stand by list. This isn't a problem - if required, the Windows memory manager selflessly releases those pages for applications to use. Windows is using your memory efficiently smile.gif

Okay, but what does "normal" standby list mean? As in, how is the data being cached on the unused portion of my RAM currently different from when I have SuperFetch enabled?
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post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Core2uu View Post

Okay, but what does "normal" standby list mean? As in, how is the data being cached on the unused portion of my RAM currently different from when I have SuperFetch enabled?

The stand by list has been around since initial incarnations of the Windows NT kernel. With SuperFetch enabled, it preemptively fetches data off the disk and into RAM, but it uses previous infrastructure to store it (i.e. SuperFetch data actually goes into the stand by list anyway).

Without SuperFetch, the stand by list is regions of memory that are associated with a process, but not in a process' working set (i.e. the memory manager has determined that other pages would better suit in the working set of the process, and thus moves some pages out to the stand by list). When the process requests those pages, a "soft" page fault occurs and the memory manager moves the page straight back into the working set of that process. Contrast this to a "hard" fault where the page is actually fetched from disk (either the application binary, the page file, or the location of a file on disk in the case of a memory mapped file).

When or if memory contention becomes high, the memory manager begins re-purposing the pages in the stand by list. In Windows NT 6.0 and higher (i.e. Vista and up), there are actually 8 stand by lists, each numbered by priority (zero to seven). The memory manager automatically determines priorities of stand by pages, and re-purposes memory from lowest priority lists first as required.

Note that "cached" is actually the sum of the pages in the stand by list plus the sum of the pages in the modified list. And because I'm on a roll here, I'll explain a little bit about what the modified page list. Basically the modified page list is a cache of pages that have been modified (i.e. the memory manager cannot discard the page and bring it back from disk because it has been modified by the process). So, when a page is removed from a process' working set that is determined to be modified it gets put on this list instead - this then lazily wakes up a system thread called the modified page writer. This thread writes the modified page to disk (page file, or file location if a memory mapped file) and then either forgets about it, or moves the page to the stand by list if available. Pages in the modified page list are not available for re-purposing like the stand by list, though. Eventually these pages get written to disk or moved to the stand by list (or both, but always written to disk).

And if you like diagrams, here's a great one that shows the flow of pages throughout the memory manager inside the Windows NT kernel:

4370.pagelists_5F00_thumb_5F00_06B50C58.png
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post #10 of 11
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Ah. I do believe I understand it now. Thanks for the clear and concise explanantion! thumb.gif
myTX Prodigy
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-3570 ASUS P8H77-I XFX Radeon HD 7870 Double D GSKILL 8GB DDR3-1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Samsung SSD 840 250GB Crucial m4 128GB Seagate Barracuda 500GB Western Digital Black 1TB 
Optical DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
ASUS CD/DVD RW 24X Windows 8 Pro x64 ASUS VE247 24" Microsoft Sidewinder X4 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Corsair TX550M Bitfenix Prodigy Steelseries Kinzu Gigabyte Ghost 
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myTX Prodigy
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i5-3570 ASUS P8H77-I XFX Radeon HD 7870 Double D GSKILL 8GB DDR3-1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Samsung SSD 840 250GB Crucial m4 128GB Seagate Barracuda 500GB Western Digital Black 1TB 
Optical DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
ASUS CD/DVD RW 24X Windows 8 Pro x64 ASUS VE247 24" Microsoft Sidewinder X4 
PowerCaseMouseMouse Pad
Corsair TX550M Bitfenix Prodigy Steelseries Kinzu Gigabyte Ghost 
  hide details  
Reply
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