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Tip: How to use “ReadyBoost” on Windows XP

August 9th, 2007 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

Many XP users are desperate to use a feature like Vista Readyboost on XP. It seems in some cases that people hate to wait for a program to be released; which is a shame considering how the best things in life comes with patience. However, for those of you who can’t wait for programmers to release a simple application, you can use Windows XP unspoken Readyboost Feature.

NOTE: Before reading the info below, be aware that even though it may appear simple, most people don’t know how to activate this feature properly. As a result to the aforementioned, many don’t achieve the expected results -> [For these users, I advice you to be patient and to wait for programmers to do their jobs]-> ALSO, BE SURE YOU HAVE A READYBOOST COMPATIBLE FLASK DRIVE, otherwise, you won’t see any difference in Window performance (even though you can use this feature on any flask drive).

Right click on My Computer, go to Properties, and then navigate to the Advanced or Performance tab.
After you have reached this point, follow the images below.

Once you have reached the screen above, select your flask drive, and add it to your virtual memory (paging size is up to you).

*It is recommend making a partition just for file swaping (if using a hard drive instead of a flask drive), so that system fragmentation won’t force the swap file to fragment as well.

*As investigated by Morara*: The max amount of swap per drive is 4GB, but you can put more by spreading it out across multiple drives. As far as size, a general rule of thumb is to use twice your RAM until you break 2GB on a desktop (CAD workstations and servers might require more), then use an amount equal to your RAM.


UPDATE: Use the above information at your own risk. It is not a supported configuration and it could cause system instability. But do post back here if any of you who are trying this and let us know if it works for you.

Posted in Windows XP | 5 Comments »

This entry was posted on Thursday, August 9th, 2007 at 9:31 am and is filed under Windows XP. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

5 Responses

  1. Andy Parkes Says:

    Interesting theory

    Readyboost is slightly more than just a page file on flash drive

    From Technet Magazine July:
    “When ReadyBoost sees random reads that can be satisfied from the cache, it services them from there, but because hard disks have
    better sequential read access than flash memory, it lets reads that are part of sequential access patterns go directly to the disk even if the data is in the cache.”

    Readyboost is smart enough to know when the cache on flash drive is faster to use than the cache on the hard disk and vice versa

    This wouldn’t happen with your tip as your merely moving the cache onto the flash drive

  2. SanderBerkouwer Says:

    There’s a trick ReadyBoost has up its sleeve that helps to protect your USB media against wear effects. These effects are related to the fact that flash memory can only be written a couple of million times. Windows XP and previous versions of Windows that support a paging file don’t expect flash media for page file storage. (they expect hard disk storage that can be written too almost indefinitely) This means your flash disk will wear out (and stop working) fast when you use the information on this page. Because you will actually place the page file on the flash disk instead of a cache (like ReadyBoost’s supposed to do) you won’t experience a sudden death effect. Your machine will start showing stop errors first… With the current pricelevels for flash media it is an option to just use the information. When you just replace the USB stick often you won’t experience problems.

    There’s a trick Windows 2000/XP has up its sleeve as well that allows you to add more than 4095 MB of paging file data on a volume or partition. Microsoft KnowledgeBase article 237740 explains how you can make multiple paging files on a single volume or partition. This makes the information on this page useful, since ReadyBoost has a maximum of 4 GB (at the moment)

  3. Jabez Gan Says:

    thanks for the feedback guys. I’ll be adding a disclaimer above.

    If anybody has any performance graph/comparison (or willing to do a comparison) between Vista’s ReadyBoost and the above XP’s FakeBoost, please let me know. 🙂

  4. suc Says:

    this tip is technically wrong! Readyboost is NOT possible on Windows XP.

  5. Matt Sealey Says:

    This tip is crap.

    Windows XP will refuse to run swap off a disk it knows to be removable. It will create the page file (or not) but it will never, ever page anything to it.

    This policy is enforced at a very deep level. So, you are just wasting space on your flash drive for a file called pagefile.sys but not getting any benefit out of it.