Remember Moore's famous law? Of course, the past years have proven its actual failure, but the power of the computer technology we use is indeed increasing at a very fast pace.
Unfortunately, not all of us keep up with the progress. Someone "in the service" continues to have old computers, the power of which is far from being as significant as we would like. ReadyBoost can fix the situation somewhat. What it is? Our article is devoted to the consideration of this issue.
For the first time, Microsoft announced support for this technology immediately after the release of Windows Vista. This option was supposed to become a “killer feature”, but for several reasons this did not happen at once. Interest in technology has only returned in recent years. The fact is that modern software requires a lot of RAM for its normal operation, the limits of which are practically unlimited on 64-bit systems.
This is where ReadyBoost comes into play. What does it mean? The fact is that this option allows you to use a USB flash drive asa kind of substitute for RAM.
Ready Boost allows you to connect up to eight drives to your computer at the same time. Important! If you are going to use a removable disk in this role, it is not necessary to delete important information from it: all free space on it will be reserved for system purposes.
Removable disk specifications
Many users at one time "burned themselves" precisely on the fact that for the full operation of this option, not "anyhow" a flash drive is needed. Simply put, the device must have a decent speed, so a USB “whistle” bought at a nearby stall will probably not work.
Minimum reading speed - from 2.5 Mb/s, in blocks of 4 kb. At 1.75 Mb/s, the device should be able to write 512 kb blocks. The minimum amount of free space on a removable drive is at least 256 MB. Manufacturers recommend matching recommended drive sizes based on a simple 1:1 formula. Simply put, for 1 GB of "RAM" there should be an equal amount of a flash drive using ReadyBoost technology. What does it give?
In this case, Windows writes a file called ReadyBoost.sfcache to a removable drive, and the document is protected by encryption with an AES-128 key, so that even if the flash drive with your data is stolen or lost, no one can do anything.
Turn on ReadyBoost via "Autostart"
Connect the device to the computer, right-click on it, then selectitem "Speed up the system using Windows ReadyBoost".
The system in this case will automatically determine the amount of space used. If the amount of disk space is less than 256 MB, then you will not be able to use this function until you delete unnecessary files from the device.
Turn on by yourself
To do this, right-click on the connected Flash drive, and select "Properties" from the drop-down context menu. Go to the ReadyBoost tab, and then select the "Use this device" option. It should be noted that all these items will be active only if the flash drive itself supports ReadyBoost technology. How to enable technology using only a certain amount of flash drive?
To do this, you need to set the amount of disk space that will be used to speed up the system. Click on the "OK" button. Next, the system automatically configures the cache. Depending on the characteristics of the device, this process takes from 10 to 15 seconds. After that, the system connects the prepared device to work. The indicator of the success of all your actions is just the same file ReadyBoost.sfcache, which must necessarily appear on the disk you are using.
Don't forget to properly disable ReadyBoost. What does this mean?
Correct shutdown of technology
The removable disk that you use for these purposes must be connected to the computer. Right-click again on the desiredremovable drive, and then select the "Properties" item in the context menu. Select the ReadyBoost tab.
Before you remove ReadyBoost from your flash drive, select "Do not use this device". Click OK. Attention! In some cases, after disabling the option, the device issues a warning about a data read error. In this case, you need to click on the "Test device" button, which is in the dialog box that appears. As a rule, the system automatically corrects any existing errors, after which the disk can be used for data storage again.
Since it is rather dreary to remove ReadyBoost from a flash drive in this way, many people prefer to simply erase the disk cache file, as a result of which they often encounter numerous errors in the system. Don't do this!
Windows says drive cannot use Ready Boost
Important! If you see such a message, then it is better not to try to bypass this system limitation. In any case, you perform all further steps solely at your own peril and risk.
In order to make the wrong flash drive work, you will have to edit some registry keys. To do this, you must first connect a removable drive. After that, click on the "Start" button, look for the "Run" item in the drop-down menu, and then enter the RegEdit command there. A registry editor window will open, in which you need to find a branch of the form: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\EMDMgmt].
This is where all the parameters that are storedresponsible for the ability to use a flash drive as RAM. In particular, CacheSizeInMB shows how much disk space the option can "bite off" for the cache. If you plan to use a 2 GB flash drive, then enter the value 2048 in this field. Set CacheStatus to 1. In the DeviceStatus field, enter the number 2.
In DoRetestDevice, be sure to set the value 0, since this parameter is responsible for testing the speed of the disk (by default, it starts every time it is connected). This is especially important when it comes to ReadyBoost in Windows 7, as Windows Vista has less stringent requirements for the speed of the drive you are using.
ReadSpeedKBs and WriteSpeedKBs - these parameters need to pay special attention. In the corresponding fields, you can enter values that are slightly higher than the minimum recommended for ReadyBoost. We recommend setting ReadSpeedKBs to 3600 and 2500 to WriteSpeedKBs. Important! All numeric fields must be specified as Decimal. That's it, the basic setup is over.
What do you do when you no longer need a boost? We have already talked about how to remove ReadyBoost. All of the above recommendations are also valid for this case.
Other setup tips
Go to the ReadyBoost tab again: after your actions, all the changes for which you "shamanized" with the registry should be displayed there. If everything is in order, select the item "Use this device", then click on"OK".
Important: despite the modifications you made to the registry, the actual characteristics of your removable disk have not changed in any way. Roughly speaking, no matter how slow the flash drive was, it remained so, since miracles do not happen. Do not count on a real speedup of the system.
Therefore, do not use drives that are too slow, as the effect of them will be exactly the opposite: the speed of the OS will slow down due to Windows ReadyBoost, and you will be perplexed where the resources go.
Can a removable hard drive be used as a flash drive?
To answer this question, click on the device icon, then select "Properties". If the ReadyBoost option is active in it, then you can connect it.
Of course, you can try to connect a removable drive using the "workaround" we described above. But in this case, you need to clearly understand that you will not get any system acceleration as a result. In practice, professionals advise not to use removable hard drives at all, since their reading speed and random access to files are low. Simply put, you will only slow down the system.
ReadyBoost for Windows XP
If you carefully read all of the above, then you probably could have an idea on how to use this technology to breathe a second life into an old computer running Windows XP. Alas, dreams in this case are far from reality, since ReadyBoost for Windows XP is not officiallysupported.
Firstly, you will have to download a third-party utility that will add the above option to the system, since it was not there initially. Secondly, access to the disk will occur through a third-party program, and not through the functions of the system itself. This will inevitably lead to a decrease in the speed of work and the general uselessness of ReadyBoost for XP.
Important! The developers initially did not provide this functionality for the system, and even in SP3 its support was not implemented. Therefore, you should not try to increase productivity in this way, because you still won’t get a real effect. In short, ReadyBoost for Windows XP is a chimera whose effectiveness is a myth.
So what's the final verdict? In what cases is this technology really justified? Alas, but practice shows its actual uselessness. The fact is that a real performance increase can only be seen in such a system where a powerful processor is installed, but little RAM. Given the current cost of the latter, it is virtually impossible to find something like this in real conditions.
In addition, it is necessary to take into account the high performance of the flash drive required in this case. The cost may be such that it is easier to add RAM.