Saturday, August 16, 2008

Speed up your system with Windows Vista Readyboost

Windows Vista Readyboost icon
What is Windows Vista ReadyBoost and what is Windows Vista SuperFetch?
Microsoft introduces, using Windows, these new techniques, which have to speed up your computer which is used for daily usage.

How do these technologies work?
Do you really get a super system when you extend the memory using a USB stick?
The memory in computers increased dramatically since a few years ago.
This is logical because there is nothing what makes a computer more stable and faster than extra memory. Microsoft wants to use that new memory maximum and equipped Windows Vista with a few techniques which have to take care of this.

The memory manager of Windows Vista can change the grouping of the memory any time, which decreases the chance of overloading a part of the memory. Microsoft calls this 'dynamic kernel address space'.

The possibility to assign memory dynamically is also used to decide which data have to be loaded into the memory and which data is mend for the virtual memory.
Previous versions of Windows did not make any difference between data which is used much and which is used less. Windows Vista does it on another way.

SuperFetch doesn't look at the data which is unused the longest, but it predicts which data will be needed as first again and keeps this data stored in the memory.
If there will be any free space in the RAM-memory then SuperFetch will fill these spaces with the data of which it predicts it will be needed as first again.

How does SuperFetch work?
To see how SuperFetch works you start the 'Task manager' directly after starting up Windows Vista.

  • You start the Task manager by pressing Ctrl + Shift + Esc.
  • Then you click on the 'Performance Tab'.
  • You will see how the amount of available physical memory decreases, while the amount in the cache Increases.

SuperFetch uses the memory on a smart way and puts the data already in the memory of which it predicts it will be needed soon.

Windows Vista Task Manager

A second technique to speed up Windows Vista is Windows Vista ReadyBoost, this is an addition to SuperFetch.
It uses a USB stick to create an extra cache of data which is used a lot.
This Windows Vista Readyboost technique uses the USB stick as an extra cache between the processor and the hard disk. Because the memory on a USB stick is static, (and therefore it keeps its data when the computer is shut down) this cache is directly available again when the computer boots up.

Not every USB stick is compatible for this technique. The stick has to have a minimum of 256 MB free space and an average reading speed of 4 KB en 1,75 MB/sec at writing activities of 512 KB.Only the USB sticks which fulfill the these conditions, may call themselves 'Enhanced for ReadyBoost'.

When you plug in a 'ReadyBoost Ready' USB stick, the 'AutoPlay' screen appears.

Windows Vista Readyboost Menu

New in this screen is the option 'Speed up my system with ReadyBoost'.
If there is enough free space on the USB stick then Windows Vista reserves memory with a maximum of three-times the RAM-memory in the computer for this technique.
Except USB sticks it also supports flash cards like, SD cards, MMC cards, MS Pro cards etc.

The service behind this technique is called 'emdmgmt.dll' which is located in the 'WindowsSystem32' folder.
This service runs as a part of a 'service host proces' (svhost).
As soon as a new USB stick is detected, emdmgmt.dll scans the USB stick and does a benchmark.
If the results are sufficient then Windows Vista will offer to use the USB stick to speed up your system and creates the file 'ReadyBoost.sfcache'.
This is the cache of this technique. The managing for this cache will be done by the caching-service 'ecache.sys', which can be found in the folder 'WindowsSystem32drivers'.

It is just one of the techniques which Microsoft has developed to speed up Windows Vista.
This technique is very useful to speed up for example notebooks which cannot be upgraded with some extra memory or when it is a bit too expensive to upgrade the notebook.
You simply plug in your USB stick and use Windows Vista ReadyBoost to speed up your notebook.

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