Obtain the Optane™ (part 10)



Perfmon and ReadyBoost (continued)

The amount of data being read from the ReadyBoost cache is mostly equal to the amount of data being read from the hard disk cache. THIS WAS A SNAPSHOT. To see how much and when ReadyBoost is actually benefiting its is useful to configure Performance Monitor to create a log file over a period of time.

Creating a Data Collector Set

1. Expand Data Collector Sets branch in the Performance Monitor navigation pane.

2. Right-click User Defined

3. Select New

4. click Data Collector Set.

5. when the Create New Data Collector Set wizard appears, type a name for your Data Collector Set

6. select the Create Manually option button, as shown below.


7. Click Next

8. Select the Performance Counter check box.

9. On the next page use the Add button to access the Add Counters dialog box to select the four pertinent counters. You may wish to adjust the Sample Interval 

10. Click Finish





Obtain the Optane™ (part 9)



Perfmon and ReadyBoost

When the ReadyBoost Cache header is added to Performance Monitor, it actually adds ten (10) counters to the monitor.


The definitions of the various counters are:

  1. Bytes Cached: The total amount of uncompressed data currently stored in the cache.

  2. Cache Space Used: The total amount of space currently being used by the cache.
  3. Compression Ratio: The actual size of the data in the cache divided by the uncompressed size of the data in the cache.
  4. Total Cache Size Bytes: The total amount of space reserved on the device for the cache.
  5. Cache Reads/Sec: The number of times data is read from the cache per second.
  6. Cache Read Bytes/Sec: The number of bytes read from the cache per second.
  7. Skipped Reads/Sec: The number of read operations skipped per second.
  8. Skipped Read Bytes/Sec: The number of bytes not read from the cache per second.
  9. Total Reads/Sec: The number of read operations directed to ReadyBoost. (Includes both satisfied and skipped read operations.)
  10. Total Read Bytes/Sec: The number of bytes in the read operations directed to ReadyBoost. (Includes both satisfied and skipped read operations.)


We focused on how much the ReadyBoost cache is being used to deliver data, so we chose Cache Reads/Sec and Cache Read Bytes/Sec. These two counters will help gauge the amount of read activity occurring in the cache and how much data is being delivered from the cache. How often ReadyBoost is deferring to the hard disk for reading data from the cache can be seen in Skipped Reads/Sec and Skipped Read Bytes/Sec.

Obtain the Optane™ (part 8)



However, it is possible to use PERFMON to track ReadyBoost events. To launch the free built-in Performance Monitor, click on the Start button, type perfmon in the Start Search box, and press [Enter]. Once the tool launches, expand the Monitoring Tools branch (if it isn’t already expanded), and click on Performance Monitor (both at the upper left below). When the graph appears, as shown below, a user will likely see the default configuration. PerfMon is configured to monitor processor time, but those measures are not needed at this time. Click the red X or Delete Key icon (bracketed by orange arrows).


Click the Green + or Add icon (immediately left of the red X just clicked). When the user sees the Add Counters dialog box, locate and select the ReadyBoost Cache header and click the Add button (bottom center). When the ReadyBoost Cache header appears in the Added Counters section, as shown below, click OK (bottom right).


Obtain the Optane™ (part 7)



When you insert a drive to be used for ReadyBoost you should see


Or you might elect to use Explorer and select a drive as shown below. Then click Properties as shown



With any reasonably modern drive, especially a USB thumb drive, as long as there is enough free space, users should never see this message. It is possible to encounter this with older SD cards. 


Note the recommendation text at the bottom.


We currently do NOT know of a viewer for this file. It is encrypted using Advanced Encryption Standard 128 (AES-128). It has been claimed that this encryption (which saves space and masks what might be confidential data) can be turned off by manipulating a registry value IF the Ready Boost drive is internal and non-removable. We did try to read the sfcache file with Notepad++ . We are currently not motivated to write a viewer because it is unclear what benefit knowledge of the contents of the dynamic data in the sfcache file could be to a human user.

Obtain the Optane™ (part 6)



There’s an adjunct to SuperFetch called ReadyBoost. It has been around a long, long time. Back in the day with Windows XP one could right click Computer; click Properties; go to Advanced tab and click the settings for Performance and click Change in the Virtual Memory section. One then selected the (mounted) USB drive, clicked custom size and set it to the maximum permissible of 4096M (assuming the thumb drive had that much free space). Due to how XP handled paging and virtual memory it was not always the case that ReadyBoost back then actually sped things up.

With Windows Vista (!?), 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 a suitable USB port for ReadyBoost must support at least USB 2.0 standard, and USB 3 (SuperSpeed, blue port) is better. In 32-bit versions of Windows and on FAT32 file system devices the maximum is 4 GB of storage. Users steadfastly clinging to older FAT16 file systems will have a maximum of 2 gigabytes. For 64-bit Windows up to 32 GB of storage can be created on a single NTFS-formatted removable drive (even if the drive itself is larger). Windows Vista supports only one ReadyBoost drive at a time. Windows 7 and later allow combining up to 8 different removable devices, so 8 x 32 GB = 256 GB in total storage.

IMPORTANT #1: If Windows is installed on an SSD, ReadyBoost will automatically be disabled because no performance gain can be achieved. Users will see the “ReadyBoost is not enabled because this computer is fast enough that ReadyBoost is unlikely to provide additional benefit” message.

IMPORTANT #2: We do NOT think most of the older minimum speed limits on how fast a ReadyBoost drive had to be apply any more. Verify free space!

IMPORTANT #3: Users should always take special care of the drive used for ReadyBoost because removing or disconnecting it while Windows is running can result in numerous errors (files not found, programs and apps crashing etc). Always Always use the Safely Remove Hardware option (usually an icon in the lower right) to eject ReadyBoost drives properly.

Obtain the Optane™ (part 5)



Another way to start or stop SuperFetch is to use the registry editor, Regedit. Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE/SYSTEM/CurrentControlSet/Control/Session Manager/MemoryManagement/PrefetchParameters




To switch off Superfetch, enter 0 into the Value data text box. Alternatively, you could also enter 1 to enable the prefetching when a program launches. Or you could enter 2 to activate boot prefetching in Windows. A value of 3 = 1 and 2, so 3 activates prefetch for program launch and prefetch for Windows boot. Remember to click the OK button.

Obtain the Optane™ (part 4)


If you don’t see a lot of recent .pf files (see previous post) SuperFetch may have been turned off. Or you may wish to turn it on or off yourself. To do that

  1. Hold the Windows Key, while pressing “R” to bring up the Run dialog box.


2. type “services.msc“, then press “Enter“ or click OK.


  1. When the Services window displays find “Superfetch” in the list.

  1. Click “Superfetch“, then either click Stop or Restart (to the left when using Extended view)

  2. OR right click “Superfetch” and select “Properties“ (either standard or extended view).


Select the “Stop” button if you wish to stop the service. Or “Start” if available and you want to start the service. Remember to click “OK”.

Obtain the Optane™ (part 3)



One way to significantly improve Windows 10 performance is to use an Optane device as

a resource for the SuperFetch cache management technology. SuperFetch itself has two goals: to decrease the time to boot the system and to speed up the loading of commonly used applications. In order to do this SuperFetch stores .pf files in the folder

Windows/Prefetch. The .pf and the directory name are homages to Prefetch, which was SuperFetch’s Windows XP predecessor. To read the .pf files we recommend WinPrefetchView (currently version 1.35) – found at



The top panel gives a list of all the files in the Prefetch directory. The Created Time and Modified Time columns allow you to confirm a program to be optimized is a reasonably current version. Of additional interest is the file size.

Clicking a filename in the top panel gets the bottom panel filled with the files that need to be loaded to start your application. For an external application like Firefox you are unlikely to have much choice about the components that are needed. In your own application it is worthwhile to examine what files are needed.


Of additional interest is the filename NTOSBOOT-B00DFAAD.pf filename, which can show you the list of files that are loaded during Windows boot process. You may wish to turn on or off Windows features in order to indirectly manage Windows load time. Our application is named SAITO. It is under active development, so there were different versions as can be seen here inside the red box. For the most part, in this case the .pf files for the older versions of the EXE can be deleted without harm. It would not hurt to use WinPrefetchView to check what files were being loaded. For developers: we advise NOT analyzing the VSHOST versions of your executable as the contents to be loaded will change when you run using the EXE.

Obtain the Optane™ (part 2)


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Since the beginning of computing there has been an epic struggle to make programs execute faster by speeding up the transfer of data between the processor and secondary memory. In 1965, to much fanfare, IBM introduced the 2314 hard disk subsystem.


Each of the eight drives, could, with diligence, store 29 million characters. Average access time was 60 milliseconds, the transfer rate to main memory was 310 kilobits per second, the subsystem as shown weighed 2.2 tons, needed 9.1 kilovolt amps, cost about $4000 per month to rent ($3 million in 2017 dollars) or $175,000 to buy ($135 million in 2017 dollars).


Today, one hard disk drive with 4,000 times the capacity will weigh 14 ounces, move data at 6 gigabits per second (20,000 times faster), access the data 120 times faster, consume 5 watts, and cost $50. For many modern users, that is still not fast enough, so for another $50 or so hybrid drives featuring associated solid state memory are used.

Back in 1965 the OS/360 operating system itself took about 4 megabytes of storage. Today, Windows 10 is about five thousand times larger, so the time needed to load the operating system into memory before an application can execute has remained an annoyance for users. One modern solution has been to load Windows itself from a solid state drive. This functionality has been expanded to include other programs, typically antivirus software and applications of the user’s choosing. ‘Greed for speed‘ and ‘rapacity for capacity‘ come at a price – usually, large solid state drives are limited in size and quite a bit more costly than traditional (Winchester) hard disk drives.

Back in 1965, IBM could say four times the storage at twice the speed and half the price, so a nominal improvement of 16 times. Today, things are a bit more complicated.

Devices using the new Intel ® Optane technology are going to dramatically change that.

Obtain the Optane™


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When they begin the beguine …
It brings back a memory evergreen”

Begin the Beguine” – Cole Porter 1935

Written on the RMS Franconia during a voyage from Indonesia to Fiji as part of an around the world cruise, the song was performed in a musical titled Jubilee. It was re-recorded as an instrumental by Artie Shaw leading his big band in 1938, and soon anyone who was anyone musical had done a version of it. Then and now, the song challenges musicians and vocalists with its length, lyrics and structure, all quite different from most songs.


We foresee FOUR major uses of the Intel ® Optane technology for servers, laptops and desktops using a Microsoft Windows operating system (and likely most other OSes):

  1. A cache drive used by the built-in SuperFetch and ReadyBoost functions. We obtained six to eight times faster program load times for Windows itself and for some application programs. It is difficult to control what SuperFetch and ReadyBoost do.
  1. A system drive holding Windows itself and select application executables. Similar results to #1, although a user has more control due to being able to select what is on the drive. In both cases performance speed-ups are a function of how often various programs are loaded, whether the files had previously been on a hard disk or a solid state drive, and how much paging is done.
  1. Two drives or one partitioned drive with one acting as a system drive holding Windows itself and select application executables AND one drive holding, in our case, a large SQL database. Under intense loads, which included extreme multi-threading, we obtained results varying from four to almost twenty times faster. We discuss the details in depth but this should motivate intense and immediate consideration in finance, logistics (air traffic and flight control), medicine and military sectors, to name a few.
  1. We imagine hard disk makers will include Optane in hybrid drives