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Vista ReadyBoost or SnailBoost?

June 1st, 2006 by Dennis Fraederich [MCP]

Yesterday I got my 2GB USB thumbdrive from my hardware supplier back. I had to send it back because the first one broke up two days after the purchase. And now what could I do with Vista Beta 2 and an 2GB thumbdrive? Right! Benchmark the Vista ReadyBoost feature. So let’s go!

Technical information: The ReadyBoost feature uses USB thumbdrives greater than 256MB to swap system files on them to boost-up the boot sequence. Remember the following as a simple rule to boost-up a system:

– less system memory  + much memory on usb thumbdrive = ++ more speed-up on boot sequence


But that’s a theory only, what does the practice tell? I will investigate it now.

But that’s a theory only, what does the practice tell? I will investigate it now.I have used the following laptop system for our benchmark tests:

Windows Vista Beta 2, Ultimate, Build 5384.4, german
Laptop make: Asus A6000Va
CPU: 1,7GHz Pentium M (Centrino), Dothan core
GFX: ATI Mobility Radeon X700
RAM: 1024MB Memory from Transcend (2x 512MB)
HDD: 80GB Harddisk from Samsung 5400rpm
Thumbdrive: 2GB from ExtremeMemory

I did three different test runs with my thumbdrive. The first run was without any thumbdrive connected to the laptop, the second run with a FAT32 formatted thumdrive and the last run with a NTFS formatted thumbdrive, each one with a recommended swap file by Vista. Before I began to benchmark I have defragmented the harddisk and the USB thumbdrive. A test is measured from pressing the power-on button till the Vista login screen is reached. Each test run was repeated three times to have a good average value.

Test run #1
(without thumbdrive):

  • Average boot time: 1:10m ~ 70s

Test run #2 (FAT32 formatted, 1840MB ReadyBoost swap file):

  • Average boot time: 1:13m ~ 73s

Test run #3 (NTFS formatted, 1840MB ReadyBoost swap file):

  • Average boot time: 1:05m ~ 65s


Diagram: Results

So like you can see the results are very disappointing! Maybe we have to wait for the next build to see if something will change and improve the Vista ReadyBoost feature.


Dennis Fraederich [MCP], a Microsoft Betatester
Contact via Email / WLM: mcgiga[at]

Posted in Windows Vista | 10 Comments »

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 1st, 2006 at 4:29 pm and is filed under Windows Vista. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

10 Responses

  1. Andre Nogueira Says:

    I highly doubt the thumbdrive is used during the login procedure. Before it can be used it has to be detected and mounted, and that doesn’t happen until midway through the startup process. It doesn’t even make sense that Vista uses more than 100% of the available RAM while booting – if it did, what RAM would be left for applications to run?
    I don’t think ReadyBoost is meant to improve the startup times, but rather the usage of the OS (ie when you’re actually working). But maybe I understood it wrong..?

  2. Sidebar Geek Says:

    I’d like to point out from what I’ve been told, you don’t actually get the ReadyBoost feature until you are successfully booted in to Windows Vista so therefore if you’re thinking ReadyBoost is going to give you faster boot time I don’t think that’s going to happen.

    Also: Having 1gig of RAM already and adding 2 gigs via USB 2.0 you’re not going to see a huge difference either way.

    I’ve had nothing but pleasant experiences with ReadyBoost. I have a system that has 512MB of RAM and the second I plug in an extra 512 – the performance improvements can be felt. But with my PC with large amounts of memory (1-2gigs) using ReadyBoost isn’t that noticable.

  3. Patrick S Says:

    Still a cool post Dennis 😀

  4. Boober McDoober Says:

    Ok, if you have a gig doing minor things you wont see anything. If your drive is doing lots of work this is when you see the performance. Where usually your computer would freeze you have more response.

  5. Chris LeMay Says:

    I think you may be confusing the features ReadyDrive and ReadyBoost.
    Using a hybrid drive along with the ReadyDrive feature is what will speed up boot times as well as waking the PC up from hibernation.
    ReadyBoost is for a performance boost while using applications once the PC is booting up, and has nothing to do with boot times.

  6. Matt Ayers Says:


    Thanks for the interest in ReadyBoost; it’s exiting to see such thorough feedback on beta versions of the OS. I’m the PM who owns the feature and wanted to give a bit more info about the ReadyBoost feature.

    Although ReadyBoost offers several benefits, accelerating boot is not one of them. We rebuild the cache after every state transition. Andre (first comment) is correct when he says that the benefits appear after the system has finished booting. At that point, the USB (or SD card or CF card or other flash source) caches small, frequently used pages to create a more consistently responsive OS. The configuration of 1GB RAM + 2GB ReadyBoost cache should show real benefits (it’s what I’m currently running).

    I’ve put together a small Q & A, here:

    Hope that this helps & thanks again for your early interest & beta testing of Windows Vista and especially ReadyBoost.

  7. Anonymous Coward Says:

    So, you’re an MCP but you have no idea how this works and essentially posted a flawed article/feature review.

  8. Patrick S Says:

    Anonymous Coward hmmph… Dennis may be a MCP but he is a MCP for WINDOWS XP. There are no MCP certifications for Vista yet duhh!! 😎

  9. Luis Ferreira Says:

    Hello. When Readyboost is enabled I noticed that my computer freezes some miliseconds each second. Does anybody detected this problem?

  10. scotty Says:

    I installed Vista Business RTM and got a 4gb memory stick pro duo which which Ready boost worked on. Then I goof around with vista a lot and went to reformat my laptop for school and get all the vista drivers on and all the incompatible programs off be for class started. I can no longer start ready boost on the memorystick at all. I even tried to reformatt and I still cant get it. I have tried to reinstall vista twice with no luck.