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Vista Readyboost – Twice the RAM with just a USB Drive

The best way to improve a computer’s performance is by adding more RAM. With a lot of memory applications can run without accessing the hard drive. We all know that RAM is not cheap. So, what is the next best thing to getting more RAM ?

Microsoft introduced Readyboost in Windows Vista which works with Superfetch. Readyboost allows the usage of flash memory devices (eg. USB Drives) to improve system performance. This is because a flash device is able to access and transfer data faster than the hard disk. Using Readyboost can give a performance boost of upto about 30%.

If you have a USB drive lying around connect it to your computer and wait for the autorun dialog box to appear. Choose the “Speed up my System” option.

If you have the autorun disabled, right click the USB device in My Computer and click on Properties. Choose the Readyboost Tab as shown.

Ideally you can set Readyboost to a size that is equal to your RAM. Say you have 2GB RAM you can set 2GB of your USB device to be used for Readyboost. In the example above my USB device is only 2GB hence my setting is a little lesser at 1.85GB.

Now every time the USB device is connected Vista will use it for Readyboost. Also note that, the space reserved on the USB device cannot be used to store other files. So stop using a device for Readyboost, choose the “Do not use this device” option from the properties tab.

Personal Improvements noted :-

  • Vista startup time reduced from 45 sec to 38 sec.
  • Crysis (DX 10 game), the only game that had a lower FPS plays smooth with Readyboost.
  • While browsing, it allows the hard drive to spin down and save power.

There are some basic requirements for the USB device, so if you don’t see the Readyboost tab in the drive’s properties, you probably cant use it.

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