10 Feb ReadyBoost speeding up your day
Slightly off topic from Levelone towers today, but probably of use to Windows PC users (desktop & laptop) who are experiencing slow program running or sluggish web browsing with multiple tabs open.
We have a desktop and a laptop in our office, but most of our programming and design work is undertaken on an Acer Aspire 5732Z laptop Running Windows 7 Home Premium, which was purchased 3 years ago, powered by a Pentium Dual Core processor (T4300 @2.1GHz) with 4GB of RAM and a 64-bit Operating System and a 500GB storage drive. Storage is at about 420GB, so the system is getting close to max storage capacity. On any given day we can have 10 Google web tabs open with Adobe Photoshop, FireWorks and InDesign programs all open and running simultaneously, so as you can imagine our laptop is under a hefty payload, with file saves and browsing appearing very sluggish at times. Normally we would just look to a RAM upgrade from 4GB to say 8GB, but this was not possible as the Laptop is maxed out at 4GB of DDR2 memory with only 2 slots. What to do?
We are no techies….. our domain is normally software programming and digital design, but we were keen to investigate further and try to improve our overall system speed. The laptop is in good health – Fragmentation is performed at least once a week, Disk Clean Up performed at least once every two weeks with System Error Checking performed at least once every two weeks also. After each of these basic maintenance processes has been run we can see a small enhancement in performance but nothing major, usually reverting back to previous system speed after a few days – ie sluggish. You may say, why don’t you just purchase a new laptop or even, get a MAC! Trouble is we have about twenty-plus major software packages on our current machine critical to business processes, re-installation may prove pragmatic when we try and install on a new machine and cannot locate some of the licence agreements.
After some investigations on a weekend we come across Windows ReadyBoost discussed on some forums, but also appearing on the Windows / Microsoft website. ReadyBoost can speed up your machine utilising storage space on most USB flash drives and flash memory cards. When you plug a ReadyBoost-compatible storage device into your machine, the AutoPlay dialog box offers you the option to speed up your computer using ReadyBoost. If you select this option, you can choose how much memory on the device to use for this purpose.
When you set up a device to work with ReadyBoost, Windows shows you how much space it recommends you allow it to use for optimal performance. For ReadyBoost to effectively speed up your computer, the flash drive or memory card should have at least 1GB of available space. If your device doesn’t have enough available space for ReadyBoost, you’ll see a message telling you to free some space on the device if you want to use it to speed up your system.
The recommended amount of memory to use for Windows ReadyBoost acceleration is one to three times the amount of RAM installed in your machine. For instance, if your machine has 512MB of RAM and you plug in a 4GB USB flash drive, setting aside from 512MB to 1.5 GB of that drive will offer the best performance boost. The minimum size for any USB flash drive to work with Windows ReadyBoost is 256 MB.
Guess what – it works amazingly well. We are just in the early stages of experimentation – we inserted a 4GB USB flash drive assigning 2GB over to ReadyBoost and the differences are quite simply phenomenal, with all multi-program operations and multiple tabbed browsing showing significant speed improvements. From our short readings ReadyBoost can run on Vista, Windows 7 & Windows 8.
It is important to say that USB Flash Drives will degrade over a finite number of memory writes, not just in ReadyBoost, but through regular usage, so do not store critical documents or files on one device, it is sound practice to have a few back-ups in place. At this stage we have to point out that we do not work for Microsoft & Bill Gates is not our long lost cousin, we are merely reacting to and providing a reasonably simplistic fix to a common problem, not just for developers but also friends who complain of slow system operational speeds, and we better drop a disclaimer on here to say all of the above information – if applied to your own system resulting in a critical failure to your machine, please do not hold Levelone accountable.
We would be interested to hear your thoughts on the subject. Some really useful links on the subject can be found below.