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What Vista ReadyBoost is and how it can work to improve PC function.

Windows Vista ReadyBoost is an innovative way to add memory to your computer system by using a simple universal serial bus (USB) flash drive to improve your computer's function and performance. USB flash drives have come a long way, and over the years they have increased the amount of storage space and speed they provide. Microsoft realized it was possible to accomplish two jobs by implementing a dedicated read buffer for personal computers. The flash memory drive allows your computer to access memory faster than it can get information from a hard drive. Windows Vista ReadyBoost depends on the memory management of Windows SuperFetch to improve the responsiveness of your computer.

Windows Vista ReadyBoost is easy to use. When a flash drive or a secure digital (SD) memory card is inserted into your computer's port, then Windows Vista automatically begins checking to see if your computer is functioning fast enough to operate using ReadyBoost. Once Vista determines that your system is okay, Vista will ask if you would like to use the device to speed up your system.

After clicking the "speed my system up" option, the Properties dialog box will pop up so that you can choose to use part of the USB drive's memory to speed up your computer's performance and the rest to store files. The space it allows is more of a flash-based page file than real RAM, but more space means better overall system performance.

If you already have a USB key and Vista ReadyBoost set up and you're ready to insert a second USB key, Windows Vista will show the Properties dialog box so that you will see the message on the Memory tab.

ReadyBoost is compatible with other devices like an SD card or CompactFlash, ReadyBoost will typically only work with:

  • A USB key at least USB 2.0
  • A device should be able to perform 3.5 MBs for 4 KB random reads
  • A device must be able to perform 2.5 MBs for 512 KB random writes
  • A USB key having at least 64 MB of space available 

You might be surprised to learn that a random 4K read from a USB key is 10 times faster than a read from a hard drive disk. Your operating system will be much more responsive even with the memory pressure and increased disk activity, and if you are operating a 4GB system without a lot of applications running, then you will immediately notice the effects of ReadyBoost

If for some reason you decide to use a hard drive disk for Vista ReadyBoost and an unexpected remove occurs and makes the drive undetectable, then ReadyBoost will fall back to using a disk. It acts as a cache to speed up access to the information you use the most.

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Currently Vista ReadyBoost can only be used on one machine at a time. Some experts will tell you that newer computer systems with fast hard drives may not initially see much of an impact from ReadyBoost; however, older computers – especially those that have been upgraded to Windows Vista – are likely to notice the most improved function and responsiveness.

Article By Bubba

Bubba is the Quality Logo Products mascot. He may have started out as "just a stress ball," but he's come a long way since the company's launch in 2003. Bubba has been immortalized in numerous vector artwork designs for internal and external promotions, and you can see him change outfits on the Quality Logo Products homepage whenever a holiday rolls around. Oh, and he thinks pants are for the birds. You can connect with Bubba on Google+.

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