How to Use a Flash Drive to Boost Performance Using Ready Boost Technology

by Alan Sembera, Demand Media Google

You can speed up a slower computer system using nothing more than a regular thumb-sized flash drive. Microsoft's ReadyBoost technology enables you to designate the flash drive as extra memory, which can result in significant performance boosts on computers with limited RAM or slow hard drives. ReadyBoost is built into Windows, so you won't need to install any extra software.

Step 1

Plug the flash drive into your Windows computer.

Step 2

Press "Windows-E" to open the Windows file browser, and then right-click the flash drive icon and select "Properties." Select the "ReadyBoost" tab in the Properties window.

Step 3

Select "Dedicate This Device to ReadyBoost" to use the entire free space on the drive (up to 256GB) for ReadyBoost. To use only part of the free space, select "Use This Device" and then adjust the slider to set the amount.

Step 4

Click "OK" to save the settings.

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  • Windows immediately reserves the space by creating an empty cache file named ReadyBoost.sfcache on the flash drive. It store files in this space on an as-needed basis. If you still have free space on the flash drive, you can store your own files in the space without interfering with ReadyBoost.
  • You can remove the flash drive at any time without danger of losing your work; as the files on the flash drive are only copies of files from your hard drive.
  • If you don't see the ReadyBoost tab in your flash drive's Properties window, it can mean one of two things: Either your flash drive isn't fast enough to support ReadyBoost, or your computer uses an SSD drive that won't benefit from ReadyBoost because it already uses flash technology.


  • Information in this article applies to Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7 and Windows Vista. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions.

About the Author

Alan Sembera began writing for local newspapers in Texas and Louisiana. His professional career includes stints as a computer tech, information editor and income tax preparer. Sembera now writes full time about business and technology. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Texas A&M; University.

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