How to Use ReadyBoost in Vista
This will show you how to use the ReadyBoost feature in Vista to help speed up your computer.
How to Use ReadyBoost in Vista

information   Information
Windows ReadyBoost can use storage space on some removable media devices, such as a USB 2.0 flash drive that uses fast memory, to speed up your computer by using it along with the hard drive for your virtual memory when RAM is used up. This will show you how to use the ReadyBoost feature in Vista to help speed up your computer.

For more information about ReadyBoost and USB flash drive requirements, see: Windows Help and How-to: ReadyBoost and the ReadyBoost section here: Windows Administration: Inside the Windows Vista Kernel: Part 2
Note   Note
The removable media device must contain at least 256 MB of space to work with Windows ReadyBoost. The recommended amount of space to use for Windows ReadyBoost acceleration is one to three times the amount of RAM installed in your computer.
Tip   Tip
Here are some tips about what to look for when purchasing a USB 2.0 flash drive you plan to use with Windows ReadyBoost:
  • Make sure there is at least one free USB 2.0 port on your computer where you can plug in the flash drive (preferably not on an external USB hub shared with other USB devices).
  • Look for a note from the manufacturer that the flash drive is Windows ReadyBoost Compatible. Not all manufacturers list this on their packaging.
  • If the flash drive is not labeled as compatible with Windows ReadyBoost, check its specifications to see if it is capable of reading and writing data fast enough. The speed requirements for Windows ReadyBoost are at least 2.5 MB per second throughput for 4 kilobyte (KB) random reads and 1.75 MB per second throughput for 512 KB random writes.
NOTE: A flash drive may appear to meet these requirements, but Windows Vista still may not detect the device as ReadyBoost-compatible if its rated speed measures sequential performance instead of random performance, and if performance is not consistently fast across the entire flash drive.

warning   Warning
ReadyBoost cannot beat the performance improvement of just adding more RAM though.

Here's How:
1. Plug a USB flash drive or other removable media device into your computer.​
NOTE: AutoPlay should now open. If not, see: How to Change AutoPlay Settings in Vista
2. Under General Options, click Speed up my system.​
NOTE: This will display the Properties dialog box for your flash drive or other removable media device.
3. Click on the ReadyBoost tab. (See screenshot below step 6)​
4. To Turn ReadyBoost Off
NOTE: If this is not already open, then open the Start Menu and click on Computer, right click on the drive used for ReadyBoost and click on Properties, and click on the ReadyBoost tab.​
A) Click Do not use this device.​
B) Go to step 6.​

5. To Turn ReadyBoost On
A) Click Use this device, and then move the slider to choose how much of the available space on your flash drive you want to reserve for boosting your system speed.​

6. Click on OK to apply.​

That's It,

Last edited by a moderator:
Shawn Brink


ReadyBoost can be useful or really can speed up system's performance,but if you only have the minimum requirements for ReadyBoost 230/250Mb I think.....likely there will be no difference,and can cause start up slow down because of the Universal Bus Driver (USB)...
But if you have a more that a Gig flash/sd/card,It's possible to have a faster performance in Vista
:rolleyes: I have to admit to some confusion here (like that's a special occasion).

I have 8GB of memory installed, and apparently the system hardly ever uses more than a couple GB of that (OK, I got it on sale, and empty sockets bother me. What can I say, I'm a Guy.) So, I take it that ReadyBoost isn't going to help me. Why would the OS use the slower USB port than use the RAM sitting idle on a 800MHz bus?

However, I did get a nice 4GB USB stick that is fast enough for Vista to let me use it as ReadyBoost, so I tried it out, and sure enough it is flashing like billy-ho. So, apparently Vista is actually using it? :sarc:

Any idea what gives here, or is this another MS mystery (where's Leonard Nimoy when you need him)?
Hi Hogtowner, Vista will make use of any memory you give it. However, with you having 8GB, I'm surprised it uses it that much.

I disabled the Readyboost Service since I have 8GB's of ram, and don't have a use for Readyboost. I can always reenable the Readyboost Service, should I need Readyboost again at some point.
Yeah, I disabled the ReadyBoost service also. I did not see the need to have an extra process running taking up resoures that I wasn't using either.
I tried Readyboost before I got 8GB's of ram, and my 4GB Crucial Memory stick, though it's supposed be Vista compliant, had nothing but problems, it wasn't stable and it didn't seem like Readyboost was running, to Vista having to run chkdsk on it, on one reboot. After that mess, I just disabled Readyboost, and use it as a normal USB memory stick.
I agree, with memory prices a lot cheaper now, it only makes sense to add RAM instead of using ReadyBoost. The performance gain is just much better that way instead.
I'am currently using the ReadyBoost on Vista...

But, 1 thing,

My Laptop become 2 times SLOWER!

I thought it suppose to boost, not slow down?
Hi Eldron,

ReadyBoost with a USB flash drive will always be slower than justing adding more RAM. It also depends on the rated speed of the USB flash drive. The faster the better.

Hope this helps,
My autoplay not working, plug in any usb and no flash screen
Hello Nigel,

The USB flash drive that you have may not be compatible for using it with ReadyBoost. See the added Tips box at the top of the tutorial to help see if it is.

I have found out that ReadyBoost only works for people that only have 512MB to 2GB of Ram installed. People that have 3GB of ram or more really don't need ReadyBoost for Vista 32 / Vista x64
Personally I think Readyboost is a joke and your only limited 2GB Max on a Readyboost drive. Readyboost is the ideal notebook user that has less then 3 GB ram With Memory prices dropping its really pointless to even use this Feature when you can just add more memory at the same price as a USB Flash Drive
Hi Equation,

I agree ...

It is correct that people that have more than 4 GB of RAM will probably never actually use the space in ReadyBoost, but it depends on how much you run at one time too. If you have a lot open, then you might use some of it. If you are able to add more RAM, then that would be the best option for better performance though. ReadyBoost is really for those that have under 4 GB of RAM or cannot add more RAM.
It seems to be some confusion about what readyboost does and why use a flash drive. The point of using a flash drive is to put the system cache on it and improve the speed of reading from the cache.

With that said, unless you have a flash drive that is readyboost able, the service can be turned off in my opinion.

It has nothing to do with the amount of physical RAM installed on your system.

ReadyBoost - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia :

'Using ReadyBoost-capable flash memory (NAND memory devices) for caching allows Windows Vista to service random disk reads with performance that is typically 80-100 times faster than random reads from traditional hard drives.'

'Microsoft has stated that a 2:1 compression ratio is typical, so that a 4 GB cache could contain upwards of 8 GB of data.'

I use a 4gb usb stick, and see some improvement in performance.

Few days ago I was running Windows Vista 32bit but updated to the X64 bit version and found out how much better and more stable it really was. The sad thing is I can't use ready boost since I have 3GB of ram installed but that’s good though. More resources saved :D!
Also found out how much more memory addressing is way better then 32bit Kernel

Brink Thank you for having a good forum. this place is awesome its Heaven for me
One thing completely omitted in that wiki link above, ReadyBoot,

Windows Vista uses the same boot-time prefetching as Windows XP did if the system has less than 512MB of memory, but if the system has 700MB or more of RAM, it uses an in-RAM cache to optimize the boot process. The size of the cache depends on the total RAM available, but is large enough to create a reasonable cache and yet allow the system the memory it needs to boot smoothly.
After every boot, the ReadyBoost service (the same service that implements the ReadyBoost feature just described) uses idle CPU time to calculate a boot-time caching plan for the next boot. It analyzes file trace information from the five previous boots and identifies which files were accessed and where they are located on disk. It stores the processed traces in %SystemRoot%\Prefetch\Readyboot as .fx files and saves the caching plan under HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Ecache\Parameters in REG_BINARY values named for internal disk volumes they refer to.
Windows Administration: Inside the Windows Vista Kernel: Part 2
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The information you get here, its priceless !!!

I am trying use READYBOOST with SD MMC slot and two cards .. one is LEXAR SDHC 8Gb at 60x and the other is SANDISK SD ULTRA 4Gb at 15?/sec.

When I tried the former, I got message "wrong type" and was not able to take option "use to increase speed", and also the option "dont test again" came up checked.

I exited, pulled card, put in SanDisk card. This time got no option to use READYBOOST, and card came up with 0 free bytes, 0 empty bytes ..

Machine is an HP notebook: Pav dv2-1118nr with 64b athlon neo processor and running vista premium 64b

What is going on .. pls help