Windows 7 ReadyBoost: What is it, How to use it and Does it work?

What is ReadyBoost?

A feature first introduced in Windows Vista, ReadyBoost is a way to use most kinds of flashreadyboost-w-title 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.

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37 Responses to Windows 7 ReadyBoost: What is it, How to use it and Does it work?

  1. Mykel100 October 23, 2010 at 6:04 am #

    I did a simple test with readyboost which proves it works quite well and anybody can try this. I was using a midrange PC with Phenon II and 4 gigs of ram. It was quite by accident because it wasnt my PC, the PC had a 4GB flash drive using the whole drive for ready boost and I inserted another flash drive as I wanted to unzip 25 video files from the HDD to the flash drive. The flash drive became full after 21 files, I was extracting direct to the drive so I decided to pull the readyboost to use it to collect the last 3 files. Right away I noticed the extraction rate had fallen by about 20% and the slowdown was very noticable. I was using Winrah and nothing had changed other than the removal of ready boost, this test is easy to recreate if you have two flash drives.

  2. 997295 December 28, 2010 at 11:25 am #

    i have a HP pavilion desktop:
    6GB RAM
    1.5 TB hard-disk

    will my performances improve when it put in an external hard-disk of 200GB for readyboost?

    And how will my performances improve? Games, start up, normal applications?
    Will it be worth it?

    • Jason December 28, 2010 at 1:12 pm #

      With 6GB of RAM already, I wouldn’t think you’d need to use readyboost. This feature is mostly for systems which lack sufficient RAM to do everyday tasks.

      That being said, every case is different, but I wouldn’t imagine you’d see a noticeable speed increase by using a large HDD with readyboost. With that much RAM, the most noticeable speed increases would probably come by using a Solid State hard drive. Hope this helps.

    • Jason December 28, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

      With 6GB of RAM already, I wouldn’t think you’d need to use readyboost. This feature is mostly for systems which lack sufficient RAM to do everyday tasks.

      That being said, every case is different, but I wouldn’t imagine you’d see a noticeable speed increase by using a large HDD with readyboost. With that much RAM, the most noticeable speed increases would probably come by using a Solid State hard drive. Hope this helps.

  3. Jason December 28, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

    With 6GB of RAM already, I wouldn’t think you’d need to use readyboost. This feature is mostly for systems which lack sufficient RAM to do everyday tasks.

    That being said, every case is different, but I wouldn’t imagine you’d see a noticeable speed increase by using a large HDD with readyboost. With that much RAM, the most noticeable speed increases would probably come by using a Solid State hard drive. Hope this helps.

  4. ??? January 21, 2011 at 6:54 am #

    I noticed significant & absolute improvement when I playing MASS EFFECT2 (computer gaming) with & without ready-boost.
    The only improvement I can tell is the time needed for loading in the game has been cut short very significantly (limited to the same places I re-visiting for the 2nd time onward). Guess the data been pre-stored in the ready-boost or somewhat after my 1st visit to that very same place in the game.

  5. Axle995 March 22, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    I have an Acer Aspire 5741-A, with 3 GB of ram and Windows 7 home premium. I have a program installed called the G.E.C.K. (Garden of Eden Creation Kit – used for modding Fallout 3). After selecting the game files to load, the program usually has to load up around 8.5 GB of data. Without ReadyBoost, it takes just over 3 minutes to load. Then, I used a 16 GB SanDisk CZ50 Blade, and dedicated 12 GB to ReadyBoost. The load time went down to less than a minute. The SanDisk uses a USB 2.0 connection, with around 9.5 mbps read speed. Nothing special, but a massive performance increase. ReadyBoost works best on Windows 7 when the virtual memory (pagefile) is around twice the amount of Ram. I have set mine to 10 GB for the pagefile, as this works with the ReadyBoost device to give a higher performance.

    So, anyone else want to argue that it doesn’t work?

  6. Elitegundam May 31, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    I think I’ve got the basics of how this works, and I’ve noticed an improvement (timing the startup of programs etc).  4GB of RAM, and  a 4GB sd card.  Not an ideal setup, but until I can dig out my flash drives it will do.  Programs started in 1/3 the time with readyboost.

  7. RICTYC June 2, 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    HAVE A N455 NETBOOK, USED 2 G OF MY USB STICK FOR READYBOOST AND MY COMPUTER IS WAY WAY FASTER, ALSO I HAVE ONLY 1 G OF RAM, HOORAY FOR READY-BOOST, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Abdiwali October 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm #

    my laptop run at more than 70% of ram usage even if there is no window open and  i have a ram of 1gb i tried to use the readyboost thing and i haven’t seen any noticeable change. please someone to tell me what is consuming my ram i don’t have much knowledge in this thing. please help

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