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Implications of deleting contents of Windows/Prefetch directory

Posted on 2005-03-22
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I want to delete the contents of the Windows/prefetch directory on a PC infected with Spyware. Because, after running four different Spyware removers, spyware files still remain in the prefetch directory.

Note: Please restrict responses to the two questions below ONLY. I am ALREADY being assisted on the specific Spyware aspects of my problem by security experts in this fourm.

Also please review   in this forum on the Prefetch folder before responding. My questions are based on this thread. It is a very short thread and can be quickly reviewed.

My first question is CAN I SAFELY DELETE THE ENTIRE CONTENTS OF THE PREFETCH FOLDER (but leave the empty folder there). i.e The PC will run fine without exception afterwards except some things will take longer to start up.

My second question is, per the first post of Expert CrazyOne in the above linked thread from this forum, will the boot slowdown from deleting these items ONLY OCCUR THE FIRST REBOOT AFTER DELETION AND NO SLOWDOWN AT ALL FROM THE SECOND BOOT ON? The post is not 100% clear on this.  One of the key Spyware symptoms the PC owner wants fixed is the long boot time till all startup programs run. So I do not want to "shoot myself in the foot" and "throw the baby out with the bathwater" by doing this. Do you know the answer with certainty on this?

Note: The following link  has more details on Windows/prefetch and may help you in answering the above questions. Note the 4th paragraph down that begins "when the system boots..." seems to have the "meat" of the matter.


Question by:mgross333
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Accepted Solution

GATOR420 earned 1000 total points
ID: 13602523
#1. While you can delete the contents safely, it will take longer for anything to start up the first time after you do so.

#2. The slight delay because of deleting the prefetch files should only happen on first boot. More than likely though if you have slow bootup times, it's not because of your prefetch directory. I'd be investigating other areas, like startup programs.


Expert Comment

ID: 13602818
if you are looking at doing this you might want to take a look ad the XEN utility from

running the spring clean up will give you the option to do this and much more....

aside from this I agree with gator.

Author Comment

ID: 13602893
Thnaks for the quick reply. However something else weird has been noticed. To be on the extra safe side, I am backing up the contents of Prefetch before deleting the contents. Already multiple files (which do NOT have the extension ".pf" as most prefetch files do) have stopped copying with the message "there is extra info attached that might not be copied if you continue". Examples are dll, bak, ico, and dat extension files. What is going on here??? I have never seen this message before. (BTW, I am continuing the copy anyway).

How is it possible ALL the file info can not be copied. What kind of info?

Why are files without extension ".pf" in the Windows/prefetch directory anyway?


Author Comment

ID: 13603324
Also, a file Reglocs.old is in Prefetch and some info in it will not be in my backup per my post above Same error message in copy) . Sounds like registry related. Am I taking a risk by deleting it without a good backup?  The two questions in my post above still apply.
LVL 22

Expert Comment

ID: 13606304
First disable system restore then delete those files.
Yes they can be safely deleted.Second, no delay should be expected.

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