Windows Vista ReadyBoost Problem

Filed under: Windows Vista 

USB interface cardWindows Vista has a lot of nice new features that make working with the computer easier and more fun. Apart from the graphical changes there are quite a few technical improvements. One of those improvements is ReadyBoost, it is actually still supported in Windows 7.

This feature uses high speed data transfers over the USB bus to allow a USB stick to be used as a system file cache. ReadyBoost is basically a disk caching mechanism, which is intended to boost system performance. But it will also speed up your USB device.

Unfortunately ReadyBoost will not work for all USB devices. If you have a problem with ReadyBoost in Vista or Windows 7, it is most likely a compatibility problem with your USB device. Devices that add extra USB ports can also be a problem. In some cases it can be fixed by a driver, but this will not always work.

First of all keep in mind the requirements for USB sticks to work with ReadyBoost:

  • At least 256 MB, with at least 64 KB of free space
  • At least a 2.5 MB/s throughput for 4 KB random reads
  • At least a 1.75 MB/s throughput for 1 MB random writes

So what if nothing works? Well you can still try to get the device to work using some registry tweaks. Follow these steps:

  1. First, remove the USB device from the computer.
  2. From the Windows Start menu, select Run. In the Run box, type regedit and click OK.
  3. In the Registry Editor, locate the following key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\EMDMgmt
  4. Open the key and select the name of the USB device that causes problems.
    ReadyBoost registry edit
  5. In the right-had panel select the entry with the name: DeviceStatus. Right-click the entry, and select Modify from the popup menu. Type a value of 2 and click OK.
  6. Next, right-click the entry with the name: ReadSpeedKBs. Again select Modify in the popup menu. Now type a value of 1000 and click OK.
  7. Repeat the previous step for the entry with the name: WriteSpeeKBs. Again use a value of 1000.
  8. Close the Registry Editor. Select Exit from the File menu.
  9. Lastly, connect the USB device again.

This windows Vista tweak will force Vista to use the ReadyBoost feature on your USB device, even if the USB device did not pass the required tests.

You can now right-click the USB drive and in the popup menu select Properties. Then select the ReadyBoost tab and click the Test Again button.

Force readyboost test


19 Comments to “Windows Vista ReadyBoost Problem”

  1. Roger says:

    Jonathon, good bit of info however I have a very different issue with Readyboost on Vista. I bought a 4GB Gizmo drive specifically for the purpose of using it as Readyboost. Since then I have upgraded the main PC memory. Now the Gizmo USB device isn’t recognised by the system when it is pugged in, and this is the same on other PC’s. I’m not convinced that the device is broken, but I do think it may have been reserved for Readyboost only and I can’t find a way to format it.

    Any help greatly appreciated.

  2. Anthony says:

    Roger, weird problem indeed. Since your device is not recognized on other systems, it is indeed likely something on the device itself.
    Only thing I know of that possibly explains such a problem is U3 launcher software on the stick. Not sure if the Gizmo has this as well, but Sandisk devices do. You probably need to find a U3 remover tool for the Crucial devices if there is such a launcher on it, as it can prevent ReadyBoost to work.
    Your memory expansion should not be the problem. More memory could reduce the speed impact resulting from the ReadyBoost device, but not the working as a whole.

    Hope you manage to fix it.

  3. Roger says:

    Thanks for the information Anthony. I know that the Gizmo drive does have the drivers on it as part of the device. So I’ll look into this as a potential issue.

  4. Gavin Moulds says:

    I had the same problem initially. Vista would not allow me to use ready boost for any of my several memory sticks. Since then I have re-installed and the same thing happened. The device does not have the required performance characterstics…….

    I followed your advice to the letter and edited the registry. It made no difference whatsoever.

  5. Anthony says:

    @Gavin – that is strange. I tested some old USB keys again to make sure, but it really works.
    Two things to try:
    1) make sure the device is set to not be re-tested in the drive ReadyBoost properties. Otherwise Vista will reset the speed to the actual measured speed.
    2) increase the 1000, for example 10000. It’s simply about convincing the system to accept the speed.

  6. Chris says:

    It really worked for me! After done this I selected te ‘retry’ (or something like that) button for readyboost and it finaly recognized that it can be used for readyboost. Thank you!

  7. Evan says:

    Worked like a charm, even with the Gizmo drive plugged in! You rock! :D

  8. Grant says:

    Worked perfectly used 10000 instead of 1000

  9. Mohamd says:

    frist i was careless about this soulation but when i tried it, amazing really like charm
    now it worked, much thanks

  10. antonio says:

    where is “ReadSpeedKBs”
    i cant find that

  11. Anthony says:

    @antonio – I have added a screen shot of the registry edit, hope that helps.

  12. Reiska says:

    What if Windows recognizes the USB drive normally, lets me choose ReadyBoost for it and set the amount of memory used for this, and even takes up the set amount of memory from the drive but has no effect whatsoever on the system otherwise?

  13. Anthony says:

    @Reiska – If you cannot notice any difference in your system’s performance in any scenario, then you can obviously do with it. Keep in mind that fast, modern computers will not benefit from ReadyBoost that much. It is merely on older systems, where minimum requirements for Vista are just met, that you will see the biggest impact of ReadyBoost.

  14. Reiska says:

    Okay, I apparently also had something else clogging up my system as well. I just ran a disk Error-Check on both my drives and now the system seems to run fine. Only I was initially surprised as I couldn’t see the ReadyBoost used anywhere, in the Task Manager as Physical Space or anywhere in the Resource Monitor. (as opposed to: now it shows up in Resource monitor, in the Disk section as the ReadyBoost.sfcahce file is actively being used.) Previously about all of the processes shown in the Resource monitor showed response times between 1000 – 8000 ms, but now they’re back to more normal values (only the readyboost.sfcache shows sbout 160 ms, all other processes below 20 ms.) Thanks anyway :)

  15. Can ReadyBoost make Vista effectively use more RAM than that version of Vista was designed to allow? All three of my machines already have as much installed memory as their motherboards allow, which is also as much as their Windows Vista Home Premium versions allow (4 GB on the 32-bit machine; 8 GB on the two 64-bit machines).

  16. Anthony says:

    @Robert Miles – To my knowledge ReadyBoost can only be used to create a disk cache from your USB stick. So effectively you are already using more (flash) memory to speed up the system, but it will not change the Vista memory limits or the mobo RAM limits.
    Besides, as you correctly state, that is a motherboard limit. With the right 64-bit Vista version you can already address 128 GB of RAM if your mobo allows.

  17. Ronnie says:

    Using a Cruzer Flash Drive. Did your steps above but when I right click on the Flash Drive and properties I do NOT get a Ready Boost tab!
    Yes I am 2.0 USB ports, vista and autorun is on.

  18. Anthony says:

    @Ronnie – The Cruzers are fast enough, so that should definitely work. And the ReadyBoost tab should always be there, even if the device is not fast enough.
    Check if the ReadyBoost service is running (services.msc). If not try starting it. I have seen cases where it did not start as a result of registry corruption. If it does not start in your case, start an admin command prompt and try “SFC /SCANNOW” first.

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