Tutorial Thursday

Microsoft’s newest operating system, Windows Vista, offers a really unique feature called ReadyBoost. The goal of it is to use a USB drive or memory card to increase the amount of memory that your system has to use. The results of adding a memory card or flash drive to Vista for memory usage can actually be quite astonishing.

One of the main problems is that you typically need a high-speed device because Microsoft wants to make sure that you get the most out of ReadyBoost. None of the memory cards or USB drives that I have laying around actually met the requirements for ReadyBoost, and every time I tried to use it I would receive this warning: “This device does not have the required performance characteristics for use in speeding up your system.”


Have no fear though, because you can use almost any USB drive or memory card with ReadyBoost! Although you may not receive optimal performance from it if the card doesn’t meet Vista’s standards.

Here’s how you can enable ReadyBoost on Vista for any memory card or USB drive:

  1. Insert your USB Drive and choose the ReadyBoost option when prompted. If you’re not prompted you can always go into Windows Explorer, right-click on the device, and choose Properties.
  2. Check the box that says Stop retesting this device when I plug it in. Press Ok.
  3. Now you’ll need to open up the Windows Registry, which can be done by opening up the Start Menu and typing regedit. If you get prompted by the User Account Control just select the option to Continue.
    Note: I realize that editing the registry might be something you’re weary about doing, but if you stick to the instructions you won’t have any problems.
  4. Browse the tree on the left side of the Registry Editor making your way through the “folders”: HKLM (Local Machine) -> SOFTWARE -> Microsoft -> Windows NT -> CurrentVersion -> EMDMgmt

    One of the keys listed should be your USB Drive. Find it and click on that item (the names might look a little weird but you can probably recognize your drive).

  5. Double-click on the Device Status entry on the right side and change the value to 2. Press OK.
  6. Change both the ReadSpeedKBs and WriteSpeedKBs to 1000 by double-clicking on each of their names. Press OK.
  7. Now open up Windows Explorer, right-click on your device, and choose the Properties option. You should now see the option to Use this device, and once you pick that you can choose how much memory can be used by ReadyBoost:

That’s all there is to it! The reason why this works is because we’re telling Vista a small little lie. We’re saying that the device is actually faster at reading and writing than it actually is, which means that in the long run we may not see all of the benefits that ReadyBoost actually offers. At least you are able to play around with it and be your own judge whether it improves the performance of your PC!

Source: Windows Vista Magazine