Windows introduced a new technology in Windows version 7 to speed up your PC. It’s called Readyboost, and all you need is a sufficiently large and new USB flash drive. (Also known as a jump drive or thumb drive.)
You’ll need a free USB 2.0 or higher port, or a flashcard or SD card reader. (A USB 3.0 port is faster yet)
In 32-bit versions of Windows, you’re limited to a max of four Gigabytes of Readyboost. In 64-bit versions, you can go up to 32 Gigabytes, if your flash drive is that large and you’re using a compatibly formatting version, such as NTFS or exFAT.
Plug the empty drive into an open port, and wait for the PC to recognize it. Locate the removable drive in the list of your drives with Windows File Explorer. Right-click on the drive and then left-click on “properties.”
Once you have the drive properties window open, look for the “Readyboost” tab. This tab will allow you to configure the settings for Readyboost on the drive.
We at TCR prefer to use an empty drive and configure it as “dedicated to Readyboost.” Then just keep the flash drive with the laptop and plug it in when you turn the laptop on. Once the drive is configured, it will work whenever plugged in.
Machines with solid state drives (SSD’s) won’t be able to use Readyboost, because the SSD is already faster than a Readyboost-configured flash drive. Windows will tell you on the Readyboost tab of the drive properties if that’s the case.
What ready boost does to speed up your PC is similar to adding more RAM memory at a far lower cost.
RAM memory is super-fast for your computer’s main processing chip to move data to and from. RAM is where your computer puts what it is currently working on. Windows runs in RAM, and so do any open programs. Any files you open for editing also have the working copy loaded into RAM.
When the RAM gets full, a Windows computer will use empty space on the hard disk drive as “virtual RAM.” This allows the computer to keep working when RAM gets full. However, it is far slower for your computer to transfer information to and from the hard drive as compared to the RAM chips. This is when you would see the blue circles of waiting, or the spinning hour glass in older versions of Windows.
Readyboost acts similar to virtual RAM, except that it’s a lot faster than empty space on the hard disk. If you can’t afford new RAM chips, you probably can find a cheap 8GB flash drive just about anywhere.
Speed up your PC with Readyboost!
The following video shows Readyboost configuration on a Windows 7 environment: