Windows ReadyBoost – How to Use It and a Performance Analysis

Windows ReadyBoost is a cool feature that is newer and only available in Windows 7 and Windows Vista. You plug in a USB flash drive and then Windows can use the flash memory to increase its memory size since flash memory is faster than most hard drives. If your computer is running slow, enabling ReadyBoost could be a good thing to try if you have a USB stick sitting around.

How to Enable ReadyBoost

Turning on Windows ReadyBoost is super easy. Just take your flash drive and plug it in to your PC. After you do this, Windows should pop up a message asking how you want to use the flash drive. Click on the option that says “Speed up my system Using Windows ReadyBoost”. That is it. Keep in mind that you will not be able to use any space that you give to ReadyBoost.

If the ReadyBoost popup did not come up automatically for you, then you may have disabled the ReadyBoost service. Click on Start -> Type services.msc into the search box, hit enter, and then check the ReadyBoost service to make sure it is enabled.

Analyzing ReadyBoost Performance

Generally speaking, ReadyBoost helps your computer’s performance a lot more when it comes to tasks that are not CPU intensive. So, application load/close times, application switching times, etc saw the most improvement. AmandTech performed a benchmarking test which can be found here.

In their test, they found that adding 1 GB worth of ReadyBoost flash memory took seconds off of different application load and close tests. For example, using 512 RAM + 1 GB ReadyBoost, they were able to open Adobe Photoshop CS3 13 seconds faster. This is a nice improvement.

More RAM is always Better

Not matter how you look at the performance tests by AmandTech, the bottom line is that adding more memory is the better thing to do. Just by adding another 512 MB of RAM, they were able to cut load times of Photoshop by 26 seconds. Compare this to the 13 seconds cut by using 1 GB of ReadyBoost. So, you if you don’t a flash drive sitting around and you are looking for more performance, upgrading your memory is the way to go. However, if you already have a flash stick sitting around that is not being used, you might as well put it to good use and boost your PC’s performance.

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