Friday, April 18, 2008

Usage of USB drive to boost Vista with ReadyBoost

Why are you keeping your USB flash drive idle? You can utilize your USB Flash drive / Pen drive to boost performance of windows Vista system.

Recently I tried windows vista ReadyBoost feature and I noticed that it improves system performance noticeably. The system becomes more responsive and appears to be a faster then earlier one.

How to do it?
Very simple. Just plug in the USB flash drive. Windows will detect it and prompt you for various “What to do” options. In this list , at the end you will see a ReadyBoost option. Select it. Assign at least 512 MB disk for ReadyBoost. That’s all. Now your Flash drive is ReadyBoost drive too. You can see ReadyBoost.sfcache, a hidden file on it.

How it works?
It is all about Sequential Vs Random Access game.
Remember, USB drives are slower in reading large data if it is placed Sequentially, but it is very fast when the data need to be read Randomly in small chunks. Windows Vista ReadyBoost feature takes advantage of this fact only

Normally, when you open a Applications or large files, windows uses its RAM and hard disk to open a files. For most of the data reading Windows largely rely on Swap file, which is sequential and slower.
Come ReadyBoost drive in picture. Vista’s ReadyBoost mechanism first and foremost caches the frequent tasks like Application opening, data file access, DLL loading etc. It keeps build a database of such activities and location on hard disk. After passing some time, when you try to open the same application or data file, ReadyBoost first recognizes this operation. Then it jump to the location of data and then allows requests of large sequential reading to be fulfilled by the HDD.Here it bypass the role of Hard disk in identification of location of data. That’s all!
You can argue now, “what so special in it? It can be achieved by placing more RAM, which will also do the same trick and that too much faster!!!
Right! But remember every time it is not feasible to place extra RAM in system and here only ReadyBoost shines. It is true especially when you are using laptops, in which addition of RAM is costlier, less feasible.
So if you 2GB or more USB 2.0 Compliant flash drive, and most of the time it is idle, better use it as ReadyBoost drive. Make full use of your investment.
IMP Note: Many people argue that frequent use of USB Flash drive reduces its life as flash drives have a finite number of writes that it can support, but don’t worry. Consider the following facts:
1.USB drives comes with 5-year replacement warranty. If anything goes wrong you can get replacement.
2.You may not continue with the same USB drive in next 3 years, which you are possessing now. Increase in data holding capacity of USB drives day by day and faster hardware may force you to dump your existing USB drive. Hence make full use of it, before it become obsolete..
3. Microsoft claims even with ReadyBoost, USB drive last for 10 years.
The use of USB flash drive, reduces the hard disk spins, hence more greener computing.
So don’t Hesitate: be ready to use ReadyBoost
Links :

On Wikipedia : URI:

On PC World: PC World - ReadyBoost Flash Drives Lack Significant Boost

Happy Ready Boosting

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