What is ReadyBoost?
A feature first introduced in Windows Vista, ReadyBoost is a way to use most kinds of flash memory (USB drive, SD Card, Compact Flash) to help speed up your system by using it in addition to your physical memory as disk cache. Basically, it is almost like adding more RAM on-the-go without having to crack open your PC case and install it. The feature uses a technology called Superfetch which basically pre-loads information for applications enabling them to start-up more quickly than usual. This is capable because it frees up physical memory and because flash memory can read-write faster than a hard drive.
Can I use ReadyBoost?
The requirements for ReadyBoost are fairly basic and should apply to almost any PC made within the last 10 years:
- The computer must have USB 2.0 compatibility
- The USB drive or flash must be USB 2.0 capable
- The removable media’s capacity must be at least 256 MB—250 MB after formatting.
- Vista only allowed less than 4GB of memory for ReadyBoost, but Windows 7 allows up to eight devices for a maximum of 256 GB of additional memory.
How do I use ReadyBoost?
1. Plug in your USB flash drive or flash memory card into your computer.
2. The computer should detect the device and AutoPlay should pop-up, click on Speed up my system.
3. If AutoPlay is not enabled, click on Computer, then right-click on the USB flash drive or flash memory card, and click on Properties then the ReadyBoost tab. Click the Use this device option and choose how much space you would like to associate with this device by moving the slider. You can allocate all of the memory on the device by checking the Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost, then Click OK.
Note: Any space that is allocated for use with ReadyBoost will not be usable space for saving files with this device.
4. If at any time you would like to revert the device back for normal use, right-click on the Properties option, then the ReadyBoost tab and check Do not use this device.
Does it actually Work?
Early test I have read about this and from what I’ve seen, mostly conclude that ReadyBoost seems to speed things up in Windows 7, unlike many reports from Windows Vista. You can check out a success story from Joseph Plazo who wrote an article over at Connected Internet.
I have not used ReadyBoost yet because I don’t have a need for it right now, so I figured that my results wouldn’t be conclusive enough, but my brothers PC has only a gig and a half of RAM, so I gave him a 4GB USB drive and helped him enable it on his computer. He has been telling me that he does notice a difference when using ReadyBoost compared to when he has it disabled. He did tell me that he notices the biggest increase while playing graphics intensive games on his PC.
How about it, anybody like Joseph or my brother who has tried ReadyBoost and experienced a boost in performance? I was skeptical, so let me know in the comments below.