I’m ready for a boost

This week I went out to Harris Technology and got myself a 2GB USB Key. It was a good price so I couldn't resist.

My intention was to get it plugged into my Windows Vista system and see what ReadyBoost could do for me.

I plugged it in and got the "Speed Up My System" option

AutoPlay dialog box displayed when a valid USB Key is inserted into a machine running Windows Vista

But after I selected that option, the device failed the test (said the device was too slow) and I didn't get my boost.

What The?  I thought I bought a high speed USB device.

I went looking on the web for some information

I found Tom Archer's blog, in which he had a few posts on ReadyBoost - ReadyBoost - Using Your USB Key to Speed Up Windows Vista and ReadyBoost Q&A 

Q: What perf do you need on your device?
A: 2.5MB/sec throughput for 4K random reads and 1.75MB/sec throughput for 512K random writes

Q: My device says 12MB/sec (or 133x or something else) on the package but windows says that it isn't fast enough to use as a ReadyBoost device... why?
A: Two possible reasons:

  1. The numbers measure sequential performance and we measure random. We've seen devices that have great sequential perf, but horrible random
  2. The performance isn't consistantly fast across the entire device. Some devices have 128M of lightning fast flash and the rest of the device is really slow. This is fine for some applications but not ReadyBoost.

Hmm - informative but doesn't solve my problem.

Then I spotted the article, USB Flash Memory for Windows Vista ReadyBoost in which they road test a number of USB Flash Memory keys.

The tests didnt include the one I had, but they did test one which I considered buying, Sandisk Cruzer Titanium, and it passed the test. It's speed specs are 15MB/s read speed and 9MB/s write speed.  The one I got has the specs of 10MByte/s read speed and 5Mbytes/s write speed. It seems like it would be fast enought, but my system rejected it. (from Sandisk's comparison page)

Did I buy a dude? Maybe for ReadyBoost. On the plus side, It's still handy have a 2GB USB Flash Drive.

[ Current Listening to : Mind's Eye by Wolfmother from Wolfmother ]

Comments (10)
  1. I bought an Imation 2GB for the same reason. I was hopping, and according to the performance figures i could find, it should work, however it fails the tests.

    At one stage I was told that only 512mb devices would be supported (pre RC1), but i would be surprised if that was still the case.

    I don’t think  yours is a dud, just superfetch being crazy.

  2. Eric Lam says:

    Hmmm… I just bought a 1Gb USB 2.0 key from the Microsoft Store (eCompany). It doesn’t say which brand it is. 🙁

    Hopefully SuperFetch will work.

  3. tester says:

    readyboost = super dud

    yeah, like the average punter is really going to start fiddling with usb devices in case one might actually work.

    come guys. the ms evangelists can’t even make it work

  4. James says:


    Just because "the average user" won’t use a feature doesn’t mean it should be cut. Also, in this case, it’s not working probably due to USB devices not being labelled with technical specifications well enough.

    That said, I can’t really imagine the performance gains (if any) from the ReadyBoost idea being good enough to make me want to plug my USB drive in before using a computer. I’m not really clear on how this is supposed to work, though.

    Wouldn’t caching something in RAM always be better than caching it on a USB drive?

  5. The Flash drive is supposed to partially replace the hard disk. That way you get better random access speeds when loading data that has been REMOVED from RAM. Or just when loading data into RAM.

  6. tester says:

    Sorry James, but in my opinion ReadyBoost sounds like one of the most ludicrous ideas Microsoft has comeup with so far. I think you even make this point your self by questioning how the speed up is supposed to work.

    There is a reason why Intel is trying to increase the size of L1 and L2 cache. It’s because caching to hard drive just isn’t fast enough to see real speed gains. How Microsoft thinks caching to other devices such as USB memory sticks will bring valuable speed gains is beyond me.

    Please someone proof me wrong but until then I stick with my statement that this is vaporware. Just another pointless feature to make people upgrade to an OS which shouldn’t have been done properly in first place with WinXP or perhaps a feature which has been heavily subsidised by companies like Sanddisk to sell more accessories.

  7. tester says:


    So are you saying that the ReadyBoost caching mechanism works like something between content cached in RAM and the Swapfile on the hard drive?

    I don’t know, I still can’t imagine the performance increase being that dramatic. In my opinion wouldn’t it easier to simply recommend end users to get more RAM for their next computer? To me there seems to be a lot of confusion around this feature. It still seems that not even the Microsoft Evangelists can work out what how this works and what the point is?

    Is this Microsofts attempt to have an OS with Linux like features? Features where you have to be the ultimate geek to a) understand the feature and b)actually make it work.

  8. PL says:

    You do realize youa re talking about a system that has not yet been released and is in RC state ??

    A couple of builds ago hardly any feature worked as expected.

    I have no doubt that more USB devices will work when it is released and it’s stupid to go and buy keys today to use for this, especially since there will be harddrives with flash memory and this will be the primary readyboost usage and not individual USB sticks.

  9. frankarr says:

    hey pl

    thanks for the kind words.

    yup, i know it’s still beta, but thanks for the reminder.

    i’m not complaining, i like my 2gb usb memory stick.

  10. Anonymous says:

    As I do each month , let’s look back on BlogBeat for my top 20 posts for the month of October . October

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