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Optimizing Windows: ReadyBoost

This is an interesting tip to speed up your Windows Vista or Windows 7 computer and it is built into your computer.. no additional software needed.  Let Windows borrow space your flash drive and improve the memory of your computer system.

What you do need is a USB flash drive. I had an 4GB and an 8GB in my desk already and you may have one kicking around your office as well.

Now, there are some specifications which I will post here just in case you decide to go out and buy one, but I just tried what I had handy since many don't have read/write specification listings on the device. How much information can you put on a device the size of your thumb or smaller? ☺ The USB Flash Drive must have a capacity of at least 256 MB, with at least 64 kilobytes (KB) of free space. I recommend a larger USB flash drive and they are pretty inexpensive for a 1GB or more. It needs to be at least a 2.5 MB/sec throughput for 4-KB random reads and at least a 1.75 MB/sec throughput for 1MB random writes. 

Screen shot of AutoPlay for USB and ReadyBoost
AutoPlay Screen with ReadyBoost Option
Put plug in the USB flash drive.  The AutoPlay screen will pop up and if available (more details about that below), the option will be shown.  Click the "Speed up my system" link.

Screen Shot of ReadyBoost Details Screen
ReadyBoost Details Screen
The second screen will give you options on dedicating or just using the flash drive for a time. It also asks how much space you wish to reserve. Windows will once again, give you a recommended amount for optimal performance.

Have a bunch of flash drives you wish to dedicate? Windows will allow you up to eight flash drives for a maximum 256 gigabytes (GB) of additional memory. Of course, you would be limited by the number of USB slots you have on your computer.

Screen shot of ReadyBoost not enabled by Windows
ReadyBoost not enabled by Windows
Now, it doesn't work on all computers. Windows will tell you if ReadyBoost can be helpful, so you will know if your system can be improved with ReadyBoost, it won't let you enable it. ☺

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