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Increase the performance of your Windows 11 computer with ReadyBoost

Is the performance of your Windows 11 computer not up to par? Do you have a spare CF card, SD card, or USB flash drive? If so, then you may want to try to increase performance using ReadyBoost in Windows 11.

Increase the performance of your Windows 11 computer with ReadyBoost

ReadyBoost is a disk caching component of Windows that works as a cache between your system drive and the Random Access Memory (RAM). ReadyBoost increases the system's read time from the hard drive and improves your computer's performance.

Now ReadyBoost is meant to work with computers where the primary system drive is a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and is disabled on computers with a Solid State Drive (SSD) as a primary drive. So if your computer boots to an SSD, you will not be able to use ReadyBoost.

Typically, you want to dedicate whatever drive you decide to use to ReadyBoost; that way, you can set it up and let it go. SD cards work better for laptops as they usually do not extend out of the card slot as much as a USB drive.

Here are the requirements for ReadyBoost in Windows 11

  • Minimum free space per CF card / SD card / USB drive: 1 GB
  • Maximum free spade per CF card / SD card / USB drive: 32 GB
  • The maximum amount of ReadyBoost devices: 8
  • The maximum amount of ReadyBoost storage: 256 GB
  • Minimum transfer rate: 3.5 Mbit/s.
  • The flash drive/memory card format: NTFS
  • The recommended ratio between ReadyBoost and system memory is 1:1 to 2.5:1

How to set up ReadyBoost in Windows 11

To set up a device for use with ReadyBoost, you will need to access File Explorer.

  1. Open File Explorer using one of the following:
    • Left-click on the File Explorer icon (manilla folder) on the Taskbar.
    • Press the Windows logo key Windows logo + E at the same time.
    • Use the Power User menu by right-clicking on the Start Windows logo button and selecting File Explorer.
  2. In the left-side column, left-click on This PC.
  3. In the right-side column, right-click on the drive you want to use with ReadyBoost and select Properties.
  4. Left-click on the ReadyBoost tab.

At this point, File Explorer will test the device for compatibility.
ReadyBoost device check inside of Windows 11
If the device passes the test, you will be presented with the ReadyBoost options.
ReadyBoost device options inside of Windows 11
Here, you can choose between Do not use this device, Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost (recommended), or Use this device. Select the desired setting and left-click on Apply.
ReadyBoost configuring the cache inside of Windows 11
ReadyBoost will now configure your cache.

If you decide that ReadyBoost is not working for you, you can turn it off by going back into File Explorer and changing the device's ReadyBoost settings to Do not use.

Improve the performance of Windows Vista and Windows 7 with ReadyBoost

I am always looking for different ways to improve the performance of Windows. One of the methods is to use ReadyBoost that is built into Windows 7 and Windows Vista. ReadyBoost can speed up your computer by caching files that the system frequently accesses on USB flash drives and SD / CF memory cards.

Windows 7 and Windows Vista use an algorithm named Windows SuperFetch to determine which files should be stored in the cache. SuperFetch monitors files that users access (including system files, application files, and documents) and pre-loads those files into the ReadyBoost cache. Because the ReadyBoost cache stores a copy of the files, the flash drive can be removed at any point without affecting the computer; Windows will read the original files from the disk.

When to use ReadyBoost to improve performance

  • The computer has a slow hard disk drive. Computers with a primary hard disk Windows Experience Index (WEI) subscore lower than 4.0 will see the most significant improvements.
  • The flash storage provides fast, random, non-sequential reads. Sequential read speed is less critical.
  • The flash storage is connected by a fast bus. Typically, USB memory card readers are not sufficiently fast. However, connecting flash memory to an internal memory card reader might provide acceptable performance.

Requirements for USB flash drives, SD / CF memory cards

  • Capacity of at least 256 MB, with at least 64 kilobytes (KB) of free space.
  • At least a 2.5 MB/sec throughput for 4-KB random reads
  • At least a 1.75 MB/sec throughput for 1-MB random writes

You must reserve at least 256 MB. Larger caches can improve performance, but the ReadyBoost cache in Windows 7 cannot be greater than 4 GB on a FAT32 file system or greater than 32 GB on an NTFS file system. Windows Vista has a 4 GB limit on both file systems. So, if your USB flash drive or SD / CF memory card is larger than 4 GB, it will need to be formatted in NTFS to create a ReadyBoost cache larger than 4 GB.

How to turn ReadyBoost on or off

  1. Plug a USB flash drive or SD / CF memory card into your computer.

  2. Autoplay dialog box with Speed up my system selected
  3. In the Autoplay dialog box, under General options, click Speed up my system.

  4. Drive options for ReadyBoost
  5. In the Properties dialog box, click the ReadyBoost tab, and then do one of the following:
    • To turn ReadyBoost off, click Do not use this device.
    • To use the maximum available space on the flash drive or memory card for ReadyBoost, click Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost. Windows will leave any files already stored on the device, but it'll use the rest to boost your system speed.
  6. To use less than the maximum available space on the device for ReadyBoost, click Use this device, and then move the slider to choose the amount of available space on the device you want to use.
  7. Click OK.

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