Instead of running software directly from your hard drive, Windows temporarily stores some associated data in your system memory. This gives you a speed advantage â€” faster switching to software, because data in system memory is accessed much faster than on a hard drive.
Over time, however, this data can start filling up your available memory. The larger the cache, the less free memory your computer has to perform other important tasks. Knowing how to clear cache in Windows 10 can offer you an immediate speed boost if your computer starts to run a little slow.
Restart your computer
Your hard drive requires no power to store your data. When you shut down your computer, your files are saved and you can access them again the next time you boot.
Your system memory is different. It is unstable, which means that it needs constant electrical power to maintain its condition. When you turn off your computer, all data stored in system memory is erased.
This means that the fastest way to clear the Windows memory cache is to simply shut down your computer. Reboot it, or turn it off and boot again manually – either way, a momentary power outage will erase the data stored inside.
Memory usage should be less when Windows restarts.
While it’s true that Windows 10 stays on much better than previous releases of Windows, your data cache will grow the longer it runs without rebooting. By rebooting your computer from time to time, you can quickly clear the cache in Windows 10 and boost the speed right away.
Disable Windows Superfetch
Windows tries to improve system performance by analyzing how you use your computer and predicting your actions. Superfetch is a Windows feature designed to help with this by automatically loading certain application data into your system memory.
Technically Windows considers Superfetch‘s memory usage a low priority. When your system memory requirements increase, Superfetch data should be discarded. However, this process can be slow, especially if you have a lot of memory and there is a tug of war between Superfetch and other open applications.
If you are using the solid state drive as a Windows system drive, Windows will automatically disable this feature. Accessing files on an SSD is much faster than on a regular hard drive, so you can safely leave data on the hard drive to run directly, making Superfetch unnecessary.
You can probably safely leave Superfetch enabled in most cases, but if you experience regular slowdowns, high RAM usage, or slow startup, disabling Superfetch might be a good place to start troubleshooting.
- First, open the Windows Registry Editor by pressing Win + R on your keyboard, type regedit, and press Enter.
- Click “Yes” in the “User Access Control” window that opens.
- In Registry Editor, navigate to HKLM SYSTEM CurrentControlSet Control Session Manager Memory Management PrefetchParameters in the left pane.
- Right-click in the open window, go to the New submenu and select D-WORD (32-bit) Value.
- Name the new value EnableSuperfetch
- If you want to completely disable Superfetch, leave the EnableSuperfetch value at 0. However, if you want to change it, double-click the EnableSuperfetch value, then in the ValueData section, change it to 1 to enable Superfetch for apps: 2 to enable downloads, or 3 to fully enable. Press OK to confirm the digit.
- After saving, restart your computer.
This will disable the Superfetch service, either completely or by limiting its scope to applications or startup. As we mentioned, users with an SSD system drive should automatically disable Superfetch and can instead use one of the other cache clearing methods on Windows 10.
Clears the pending idle tasks to free up memory
An old and often mentioned trick for clearing the Windows cache is to use a custom shortcut that “should” clear the cache on Windows 10 and older versions of Windows.
Unfortunately, this does not actually clear the Windows memory cache, but instructs Windows to start processing pending system â€œidleâ€ tasks. These are hidden Windows tasks that run in the background when system resources are not being used.
The process can take a while, but in the long run it can increase the amount of available system resources while your computer is running.
This is an outdated method, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to try it if you’re trying to figure out how to clear your computer’s cache on the go. However, if you want to immediately improve system performance, it is best to simply restart your computer.
- First go to your desktop or open Windows Explorer in a suitable location. Right-click, go to the New submenu and select Shortcut.
- In the New Shortcut dialog box, under Enter Item Location, type% windir% system32 rundll32.exe advapi32.dll, ProcessIdleTasks and click Next.
- Give the shortcut a suitable name, such as “Clear Pending System Tasks”.
- Click Finish to create the shortcut.
The shortcut will be ready to use after it has been created – double-click the shortcut at any time to start the process.
Think of other solutions
Windows 10 does a much better job of managing available system resources than older editions of Windows. If you see poor performance, try restarting first. This is the easiest way to clear the Windows memory cache.
The other methods we have listed may help, but are not guaranteed to work in every situation. Windows will try to manage your system resources as best it can, but a slow PC will likely have a more serious root cause, such as low RAM, low disk space, or an older and slower hard drive.
Clearing your memory cache only fixes, not fixes, these long-term problems with your computer. You may need to check the performance of your system to find out why your PC is slowing down and find a better solution.