Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

Feature introduced in Microsoft Windows XP that enables Windows to load portions of commonly run programs when the computer first boots up, enabling frequently run programs to load faster.

To display what programs are loading into Microsoft Windows prefetch, open the C:\Windows\Prefetch directory. Depending on where your version of Windows is located this directory may be different. A troubleshooting step often performed on slow computers is to delete all the files in this directory since it can often contain prefetched files that are no longer being used.

Operating system terms