Community Help: Should I Clean Out Windows Prefetch Folder?
Share your own experience
View front page
There have been alot of questions asked, and alot of misleading information posted on various websites about the Windows prefetch folder. First off, the windows prefetch folder is folder located within the windows folder. Most likely you will see it on your computer under c:\windows\prefetch. There will be alot of files in there, maybe 50-75, maybe more or less. I have seen many sites saying that you can gain performance by occasionally clearing this out, and that is the WRONG thing to do. You will degrade your system performance by removing these files. Worse yet, I've seen alot of cleanup programs on the internet that will also wipe out the contents of this folder. These cleanup programs are flawed and should not be doing this! More information can be found on the Microsoft site, but here is a small quote from their site talking about XP and the prefetch files and prefetch directory:
"So, first off, it is a bad idea to periodically clean out that folder as some tech sites suggest. For one thing, XP will just re-create that data anyways; secondly, it trims the files anyways if there’s ever more than 128 of them so that it doesn’t needlessly consume space. So not only is deleting the directory totally unnecessary, but you’re also putting a temporary dent in your PC’s performance".
So needless to say you won't hurt anything clearing it out, but it will hurt your performance and it will actually just recreate the files eventually anyways. Keep in mind Windows also cleans out old entries here eventually, so even the sites talking about installations, yada yada, and how its important to clean this out are simply wrong. Just ignore this folder and you will be fine.