ReadyBoost in Vista is a neat feature. It allows you to expand your system’s memory by plugging in flash media. It uses the flash media for some of the Windows paging file making access to it faster. Well, faster than accessing your computer’s hard drive. The best improvments can be seen with systems that have 2GB of RAM or less. Also, it works great on laptops that generally have slower hard drives than desktops. I have a small laptop that needed a speed boost but I didn’t want to use a bulky USB flash drive. I wanted to use an SD card in my laptop’s built in card reader. I bought an SD card that met the speed requirements of ReadyBoost and inserted it. Vista told me that the media had failed it’s tests. I thought maybe the bottleneck was the capabilities of the card reader so I downloaded a utility to test it. The utility reported that the speed of the card and the reader was plenty fast for use with ReadyBoost. I wasn’t too surprised to see that another built-in feature of Vista didn’t work correctly. If you have the same issue, here’s how you can make ReadyBoost work with your media.
First, make sure your SD card is a genuine card from the manufacturer. There are a lot of counterfits out there on the web, so buy from a reputable company like TigerDirect. Make sure your card meets the minium requirements for ReadyBoost which can be found here. If the manufacturer reports that the media should perform fast enough to meet the requirements, insert the card. If Vista reports that the media fails the tests, check the box that says “Do not test this device the next time it’s inserted.” Now run a flash media testing software that you can download freely from here: Check Flash on Softpedia. The software will tell you the actual read and write speed of your media. Use the “use temporary file” and “write and read test” options. These options won’t require you to reformat the media. If your media is fast enough to work with ReadyBoost, you’ll have to edit the registry to make it work. First, remove the card and then open the registry editor. – Disclaimer – Mess with the registry at your own risk. It’s not my fault if you “brick” your computer. You can open the registry editor by clicking the Start orb, click All Programs, click Accessories, then click the command prompt. Enter “regedit” without the quotes in the box and hit enter. This will bring up the registry editing console. Navigate to HKLM (local machine), Software, Microsoft, Windows NT, Current Version, EMDMgmt, and find a funny looking key, usually at the top of the list. In this key change the following values; Change “device status” to 2. Change “ReadSpeedKBs” to the read speed reported by the evaluation tool. Be sure to enter a decimal value, not a HEX one. Change the “WriteSpeedKBs” to the write speed reported by the evaluation tool. Again, use a decimal entry. Remember, it’s asking for KBs, not MBs. Re-insert the card and allocate the amount of memory you want ReadyBoost to use. A good value to enter is 1-3 times the amount of RAM you have on your system. I saw a great improvment in the speed of my little laptop from this tweak and my system remains stable.