PrefetchVirtualMemory function (memoryapi.h)

Provides an efficient mechanism to bring into memory potentially discontiguous virtual address ranges in a process address space.


BOOL PrefetchVirtualMemory(
  [in] HANDLE                    hProcess,
  [in] ULONG_PTR                 NumberOfEntries,
  [in] PWIN32_MEMORY_RANGE_ENTRY VirtualAddresses,
  [in] ULONG                     Flags


[in] hProcess

Handle to the process whose virtual address ranges are to be prefetched. Use the GetCurrentProcess function to use the current process.

[in] NumberOfEntries

Number of entries in the array pointed to by the VirtualAddresses parameter.

[in] VirtualAddresses

Pointer to an array of WIN32_MEMORY_RANGE_ENTRY structures which each specify a virtual address range to be prefetched. The virtual address ranges may cover any part of the process address space accessible by the target process.

[in] Flags

Reserved. Must be 0.

Return value

If the function succeeds, the return value is a nonzero value.

If the function fails, the return value is 0 (zero). To get extended error information, call GetLastError.


The PrefetchVirtualMemory function is targeted at applications that know with reasonable confidence the set of addresses they will be accessing. If it's likely that these addresses are no longer resident in memory (i.e. they have been paged out to disk), calling the PrefetchVirtualMemory function on those address ranges before access will reduce the overall latency because the API will efficiently bring in those address ranges from disk using large, concurrent I/O requests where possible.

The PrefetchVirtualMemory function allows applications to make efficient use of disk hardware by issuing large, concurrent I/Os where possible when the application provides a list of process address ranges that are going to be accessed. Even for a single address range (e.g. a file mapping), the PrefetchVirtualMemory function can provide performance improvements by issuing a single large I/O rather than the many smaller I/Os that would be issued via page faulting.

The PrefetchVirtualMemory function is purely a performance optimization: prefetching is not necessary for accessing the target address ranges. The prefetched memory is not added to the target process' working set; it is cached in physical memory. When the prefetched address ranges are accessed by the target process, they will be added to the working set.

Since the PrefetchVirtualMemory function can never be necessary for correct operation of applications, it is treated as a strong hint by the system and is subject to usual physical memory constraints where it can completely or partially fail under low-memory conditions. It can also create memory pressure if called with large address ranges, so applications should only prefetch address ranges they will actually use.

To compile an application that calls this function, define _WIN32_WINNT as _WIN32_WINNT_WIN8 or higher. For more information, see Using the Windows Headers.


Requirement Value
Minimum supported client Windows 8 [desktop apps only]
Minimum supported server Windows Server 2012 [desktop apps only]
Target Platform Windows
Header memoryapi.h (include Windows.h, Memoryapi.h)
Library onecore.lib
DLL Kernel32.dll

See also

Memory Management Functions