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Need Speed?  ReadyBoost For Windows 7
2/24/2010


If you need a speed boost for Windows 7 or Vista try ReadyBoost.  All you'll need to buy is a fast USB drive.

ReadyBoost is a component of Microsoft Windows, first introduced with Microsoft's Windows Vista and also included with Windows 7.  It works by using flash memory, a USB pen drive or any kind of portable flash mass storage system as a drive for disk cache.

Using ReadyBoost-capable flash memory for caching allows Windows 7 and Vista to service random disk reads with performance that is typically 80-100 times faster than random reads from traditional hard drives.  This caching applies to all disk content, not just the page file or system DLLs.

To start off buy a USB flash drive from NewEgg.  Here are two suggestions:

8GB Patriot Xporter
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220252
$23

16GB Patriot Xporter
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820220253
$44

Microsoft recommends the amount of flash memory for ReadyBoost acceleration be one to three times the amount of random access memory (RAM) in your computer.  Be sure to get a very fast drive.  The Patriot is 200x and comes highly recommended for ReadyBoost applications.

When you get the drive attach it to a USB port out of the way (back of computer) and format it with NTFS.  If you use FAT32 you will hit a 4GB size limit since the cache file size is limited to 4GB by FAT32.  Windows 7 can also use multiple drives for ReadyBoost, Vista can only support one drive.  I always use the drive letter P: for Patriot.

After formatting right-click the drive and go to Properties.  Turn off indexing for the drive then go to the ReadyBoost tab.  Select the maximum amount of memory and choose "Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost."

Done.  Enjoy the performance boost!  You should notice improvements when running virtual machines, XP mode, Outlook and other memory hungry applications.


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