Windows Vista has a special feature called ReadyBoost that has been overlooked by many people. It offers a quick and easy opportunity for someone to add more memory to their computer without physically installing RAM. All you have to do is insert a removable Flash drive into your computer that is running Windows Vista and it will prompt you in the AutoRun dialog box to use the drive with ReadyBoost.

Here is what Microsoft says about the feature:

Windows ReadyBoost lets users use a removable flash memory device, such as a USB thumb drive, to improve system performance without opening the box. Windows ReadyBoost can improve system performance because it can retrieve data kept on the flash memory more quickly than it can retrieve data kept on the hard disk, decreasing the time you need to wait for your PC to respond.

Windows ReadyBoost technology is reliable and provides protection of the data stored on your device. You can remove the memory device at any time without any loss of data or negative impact to the system; however, if you remove the device, your performance returns to the level you experienced without the device. Additionally, data on the removable memory device is encrypted to help prevent inappropriate access to data when the device is removed.

So how much of a difference could a simple Flash drive or memory card make? I didn’t think it could be much and it never even crossed my mind to try it out. This morning I was on Google Video, however, and came across someone who did decide to use it with a 512MB SD card and the results were quite impressive:

Unfortunately my Flash drive does not work with ReadyBoost because Vista says that the performance of the drive is too slow. I’m not sure if it would really make that much of a difference on my laptop anyways because I have 1.5GB of RAM and I hardly use half of that at any one given time. To get the significant speed improvement like the person in the video received I would guess that they started with 512MB of RAM which is the minimum for Vista.

Sometimes I am just utterly blind. In the beginning of the movie it says that the person started with 1GB of RAM which is even more impressive that the ReadyBoost made such a difference.