Utilizing ReadyBoost: Speeding Up Windows with External Storage Devices

In today’s fast-paced digital world, where time is of the essence, waiting for your computer to load applications or boot up can feel like an eternity. But fear not, because there’s a nifty little trick up Windows’ sleeve that can help alleviate those sluggish moments – it’s called ReadyBoost. So, what exactly is ReadyBoost, and how can you use it to turbocharge your Windows experience? Let’s dive in and find out!

What is ReadyBoost?

ReadyBoost is a feature built into Windows Vista and later versions, including Windows 7, 8, and 10. It allows you to use external storage devices, such as USB flash drives or SD cards, to speed up your system’s performance. Essentially, ReadyBoost acts as a secondary memory cache, utilizing the faster read and write speeds of flash storage to store frequently accessed data and system files.

How Does ReadyBoost Work?

When you plug in a compatible external storage device and enable ReadyBoost, Windows utilizes it as an additional cache alongside your computer’s primary RAM (Random Access Memory). This means that instead of relying solely on your computer’s RAM for data retrieval, Windows can also access frequently used files and data from the ReadyBoost cache, thereby reducing load times and improving overall system responsiveness.

1. Secondary Memory Cache

ReadyBoost serves as a secondary memory cache, complementing your computer’s primary RAM by leveraging the faster read and write speeds of external storage devices. This additional cache allows Windows to access frequently used data and system files more quickly, thereby enhancing overall system performance.

2. Data Access Optimization

By storing frequently accessed data in the ReadyBoost cache, Windows can optimize data retrieval, reducing load times for applications and files. This optimization leads to a smoother computing experience, with improved responsiveness and shorter wait times.

3. Plug-and-Play Integration

ReadyBoost seamlessly integrates with Windows Vista and later versions, offering users a straightforward plug-and-play experience. Simply insert a compatible external storage device and enable ReadyBoost through the system settings, without the need for complex configurations or setup processes.

4. Dynamic Data Caching

The ReadyBoost cache dynamically adjusts its contents based on usage patterns, ensuring that frequently accessed data remains readily available for quick retrieval. This dynamic caching mechanism optimizes performance by prioritizing the storage of relevant information.

5. File Prefetching

Windows pre-fetches frequently used files and applications into the ReadyBoost cache, anticipating user actions and proactively loading necessary data. By prefetching data, ReadyBoost minimizes wait times and enhances the user experience by providing swift access to frequently accessed content.

6. Automatic Cache Management

ReadyBoost automatically manages the contents of the cache, evicting less frequently accessed data to make room for new information as needed. This automatic management ensures efficient utilization of available storage space while maintaining optimal performance levels.

7. Smart Caching Algorithms

Windows employs intelligent caching algorithms to determine which data to store in the ReadyBoost cache. These algorithms analyze usage patterns and prioritize the caching of data that is most likely to be accessed frequently, maximizing the benefits of ReadyBoost.

8. Storage Device Compatibility

ReadyBoost supports a wide range of external storage devices, including USB flash drives and SD cards, as long as they meet the minimum performance requirements specified by Windows. This compatibility ensures that users can leverage ReadyBoost with their preferred storage solutions.

9. Efficient Resource Utilization

By offloading some data retrieval tasks to the ReadyBoost cache, Windows optimizes resource utilization and improves overall system efficiency. This efficient utilization of resources results in enhanced system performance and responsiveness, even on systems with limited RAM.

10. Transparent Operation

Once enabled, ReadyBoost operates transparently in the background, enhancing system performance without requiring any manual intervention from the user. This seamless operation allows users to enjoy the benefits of ReadyBoost without having to manage or monitor the cache manually.

Choosing the Right Storage Device

Not all external storage devices are created equal when it comes to ReadyBoost. To get the most out of this feature, it’s essential to use a storage device with fast read and write speeds. Look for USB flash drives or SD cards labeled as “ReadyBoost compatible” or with high-speed ratings to ensure optimal performance.

How to Enable ReadyBoost

Enabling ReadyBoost is a straightforward process:

  1. Insert your compatible external storage device into an available USB port or card reader on your computer.
  2. Open File Explorer and right-click on the external storage device.
  3. Select “Properties” from the context menu.
  4. Go to the “ReadyBoost” tab in the properties window.
  5. Choose the option to “Use this device” and adjust the amount of space you want to allocate for ReadyBoost. Windows will recommend an optimal size based on your device’s capacity.
  6. Click “Apply” and then “OK” to enable ReadyBoost.

Benefits of Using ReadyBoost

Now that you’ve enabled ReadyBoost, you can enjoy several benefits:

  • Faster Load Times: By caching frequently accessed data on the external storage device, ReadyBoost reduces the time it takes for applications to launch and files to open.
  • Improved System Responsiveness: With ReadyBoost, your computer can handle multiple tasks more efficiently, leading to smoother overall performance.
  • Extended Lifespan of SSDs: If you’re using a traditional hard drive (HDD) as your primary storage device, ReadyBoost can help reduce wear and tear by offloading some of the read and write operations to the faster flash storage.

Tips for Maximizing ReadyBoost Performance

To make the most out of ReadyBoost, keep these tips in mind:

  • Use High-Speed Storage: Opt for external storage devices with fast read and write speeds to ensure optimal performance.
  • Allocate Adequate Space: While Windows recommends an optimal size for ReadyBoost, feel free to experiment with different allocations to find the right balance between performance and available storage space.
  • Regularly Monitor Performance: Keep an eye on your system’s performance metrics to gauge the impact of ReadyBoost and make adjustments as needed.


ReadyBoost is a simple yet effective way to breathe new life into your Windows computer without breaking the bank on hardware upgrades. By harnessing the power of external storage devices, you can enjoy faster load times, improved system responsiveness, and a smoother overall computing experience. So why wait? Give ReadyBoost a try today and experience the difference for yourself!

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