While Adrenaline Vault was down, I undertook a minor experiment in memory upgrades: Readyboost. For those unfamilair with Readyboost, you can tell Vista to turn part of your flashdrive into an extension of the PC’s own memory. Because flashdrives access their memory faster than a hardrive, telling Windows to turn a couple of gigbytes of your flashdrive into extra memory has the potential to speed up your PC.
In my case, I am not suffering any real shortage of memory; however, I had received an 8 gigbyte flashdrive as a gift. Now, since I don’t make a habit of toting 2 or 3 movies with me everywhere I go, I end up with plenty of empty space. Just for fun, I figured I would asee if I could get better performance out of my PC when running memory intensive games, such as LOTRO: Mines of Moria. I spent about a 3 weeks consistently using Readyboost, and in the tradition of Fight Club, I came up with a few rules.
Rule #1: You do not unplug the flashdrive without telling Vista to stop the device.
Rule #2: You do not unplug the flashdrive without telling Vista to stop the device!
When it comes to rules 1 and 2, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to stop the device before taking it out of the USB port and running off. While it should be obvious to my IT readers, for those who are wondering why, let me list some of the bad things that happened when I forgot/got lazy and just pulled it out: blue screens of death, background applications like AVG crashing (having your anti-virus software crap out without you knowing it is a bad thing), and Windows Update getting confused. However, it’s not just a problem while the computer is on. The rules also apply if you order your computer to hibernate or sleep. If you remove the flashdrive while the computer is asleep/hibernating, it will have a heartattack upon waking up, which in one case included a corrupted registry and required a restore from a restore point a few days prior. It’s almost like the computer wakes up to find that is has been lobotomized; the only way it could be worse is if you removed memory sticks while it hiberated.
Rule #3: If your computer is sick, fix its problems before bothering with Readyboost.
As for sick computers and Readyboost, this should also be a no-brainer; however, given the impact on performance that comes from bloatware and bad drivers/windows settings, it is worth reiterating to my readers that a 4 gigabyte increase in memory can’t fix any of these problems. Windows, and most applications, whether viruses, spyware, or video games, will try to use all available memory. Clean your system up before using Readyboost.
Rule#4: If it is your first time using Readyboost, be prepared for a 1 to 2 minute setup time if you dedicate large amounts of flashdrive memory to Readyboost.
Readyboost isn’t magic. If you tell Vista to take over 4 gigabytes of a flashdrive. it’s going to write and organize 4 gigabytes of data. It’s also worth mentioning that you will sometimes be asked to run Scandisk to reclaim stray bits of data.
Rule#5: If you need to transport large files, even if you have plenty of room, stop Readyboost and reclaim the diskspace.
Readyboost uses the fast access portion of the flashdrive’s memory. If you want to quickly put large files on it, you might as well shut down Readyboost.
Rule#6: If you are always taking your flashdrive places, it’s probably better to not bother with Readyboost or buy a separate flashdrive just for memory purposes.
You’re going to forget to shut it down one day, or you are going to unplug it accidentally when trying to unplug another device, or you are going to get carried away.