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21 More Super Ways to Speed Up Vista - Part 3 – Use ReadyBoost to Extend Memory

written by: Dianna Monda Dill•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 5/11/2009

Learn how to use Vista's ReadyBoost feature to boost performance and speed up your system. This step-by-step Windows Vista tutorial provides instruction on using ReadyBoost.

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    Tip #6: Extend Memory Using ReadyBoost

    Often, a slow, sluggish computer is a symptom of insufficient memory resources. Windows Vista comes with a cool, built-in utility called ReadyBoost, which enables you to increase your memory capacity and speed up your system without having to install more RAM. Coupled with non-volatile flash memory such as a USB 2.0 flash Drive, Secure Digital (SD) card or Compact Flash cards, you can use this utility to significantly increase system performance.

    Once ReadyBoost is set up, Windows Vista basically uses the flash drive as an additional memory cache. It takes advantage of the faster seek time of the flash drive to cache data for speedy retrieval. When accessed via ReadyBoost, cached data will typically load much faster. This is because hard drives, which utilize rotational motion, are a much slower medium in comparison than the latest USB drives, which are designed for direct access. And with the expanded memory capacity, the fewer applications will need to access the hard drive. This makes ReadyBoost an especially convenient and inexpensive way to expand your system's available memory and, in effect, speed up its performance.

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    Quick Note

    Typically, the lower the available RAM you currently have on your system, the larger the gains in performance. For computers with 2GB or more of RAM, ReadyBoost may not deliver a noticeable difference.

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    How to Use Ready Boost to Speed Up Vista

    1. Obtain a USB 2.0 device that has at least 64MB of free space.
    2. Plug this into the appropriate drive. This will open the "AutoPlay" dialog box.
    3. Select ReadyBoost when prompted to indicate whether you wan to use it as a ReadyBoost drive or as an external drive.
    4. Indicate the amount of space that you would like to allocate to ReadyBoost to use as a memory cache. This amount must be 256MB or more.
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    How to Disable ReadyBoost

    Once you are done using ReadyBoost or simply need the USB device for other purposes, you can easily disable this utility. Here’s how:

    1. Click Start in the bottom left-hand corner. Select Computer from the Start Menu.
    2. Right-click the drive on which ReadyBoost is enabled, and select Properties.
    3. Click on the ReadyBoost tab. Uncheck the option that reads: Do not use this device.