What is ReadyBoost and SuperFetch? How to use in Windows
ReadyBoost is a component of the operating system that first appeared in Windows Vista. Its goal is to promote a system service SuperFetch to accelerate the performance of the operating system through the use of fast USB flash drive, allowing to reduce the number of read operations and write to the hard disk. If you want to learn more about what SuperFetch and ReadyBoost are and how they work together, be sure to read this article.
Note: This article applies to Windows 7, Windows 8 and 8.1. The use of these technologies is the same in all three operating systems. However, the screenshots for the article was done in Windows 8.1.
How does SuperFetch?
SuperFetch is one of the services of memory management in Windows, which, when the system has enough RAM, decides which data is to be transferred from RAM to the hard drive so as not to slow your system down. This service also stores information about what files and applications the user accesses most frequently, and ensures that the necessary information was in RAM, not on your hard drive. SuperFetch also improves download time, pre-loading only those files and applications that the user accesses most often after switching on the system. It is also worth noting that the SuperFetch has a low priority I/o on the hard disk, so the service does not slow down other applications using the same storage device.
How does ReadyBoost?
In order to work SuperFetch was more efficient, the computer can be connected fast flash memory in addition to the slower hard disk installed in the system. I say «quick» because not every flash drive is compatible with ReadyBoost – only those that meet the required characteristics. However, speed is relative, as the flash memory for faster access time, while hard drives are faster when reading sequential data. Small files SuperFetch stores on flash memory, and large files written to the hard disk, ideally in consecutive sectors of the disk.
ReadyBoost makes a difference in performance on systems with low RAM, but it uses a flash memory as additional RAM, and the faster storage device. The reason why the job ReadyBoost invisible on systems with large amount of memory is that main memory is very rarely completely filled, so the disk access happens not too often. Knowing this, you can understand why ReadyBoost is not enabled on computers with solid-state drives (SSD): this technology cannot improve the performance when using fast storage devices.
Limitation of ReadyBoost
ReadyBoost can use any type of flash memory (USB, SD card, CompactFlash) that has a read speed of at least 2.5 MB/s and write speed of 1.75 MB/s.
In Windows 7 and later versions of the operating system ReadyBoost can use up to 8 USB flash drives with a capacity of at least 256 MB and up to 32 GB each. Thus, ReadyBoost can use a 256 GB.
How to enable ReadyBoost in Windows
Insert the flash drive you want to use for ReadyBoost, and open the folder «computer» (in Windows 8 and 8.1) or «Computer» if you have Windows 7.
In the section «Devices and drives» locate the connected flash drive and click the right mouse button to open the context menu. At the very bottom of the menu choose «Properties».
As a result, you will open the Properties window where you can change many settings related to this drive. To get to the necessary settings, click on the tab «ReadyBoost».
If the flash drive was connected to the computer for the first time, the operating system will check its performance for use with ReadyBoost.
If the drive is not compatible with ReadyBoost, will appear on the screen message reason the device can’t work with ReadyBoost. If you find that the test results are not correct, you will be able to check the flash drive again.
In addition, if your computer is very fast, it is very likely that you will see a message stating that the ReadyBoost is not enabled because the computer has sufficient performance, ReadyBoost is unlikely to provide additional benefit.
If the flash drive is compatible and your computer can benefit from using ReadyBoost you will have access to three parameters.
The default is checked option «do Not use this device». Not difficult to guess, this option is used to disable the use of ReadyBoost.
To enable ReadyBoost, you can choose:
«To provide this device to ReadyBoost» – all the remaining capacity flash drive will be filled with cached files.
«Use this device» – in this case, using the slider, you can choose how much memory you can use ReadyBoost on that device. Keep in mind that you can’t always use all the memory on the device for ReadyBoost, because there are flash drives that contain both slow and fast memory. Thus, ReadyBoost will only use the fastest part of the device.
Once you make your selection and click OK, ReadyBoost will configure the cache.
Now your drive use ReadyBoost. If you open the flash drive, you will see the ReadyBoost file in which the compressed cached files. Know that you can still use the flash drive for its intended purpose, if you have enough free space.
If you remove the device during its use ReadyBoost, nothing bad will happen. The worst that can happen is that the system may start to work slower. But when you insert the flash drive again, ReadyBoost will automatically continue to use it.
ReadyBoost was useful during the time Windows Vista when not everyone owned a computer with a RAM of 1 GB. Today even the most budget cars, the 4 GB of RAM has become the norm, so ReadyBoost won’t have a huge value on these systems. However, if you are using an old computer, try to enable ReadyBoost and maybe it will start working a little faster.