How to Speed up Windows 7 With ReadyBoost

Get a 'boost' of temporary RAM to help Windows work more efficiently

What to Know

  • Plug in a flash or hard drive. Select Speed up my system from pop-up menu.
  • Next, click Use this device to set the amount of space used.
  • To turn off ReadyBoost, right-click the drive letter > left-click Properties at the bottom.

This article explains how to speed up Windows 7 with ReadyBoost, a little-known technology that uses free space on a flash drive (also known as a thumb or USB drive) to augment system memory. ReadyBoost is also available in Windows 8, 8.1, and 10.

As of January 2020, Microsoft no longer supports Windows 7. We recommend upgrading to Windows 10 to continue receiving security updates and technical support.

ReadyBoost is a great way to make your computer faster and more efficient by increasing the amount of RAM, or temporary memory, your computer can access. These are the steps you need to take to set up your computer to use ReadyBoost:

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Get a Flash Drive or External Drive


First, you need a drive—either a flash drive or external hard drive. The drive should have at least 1 GB of free space and preferably, two to four times the amount of RAM in your system. So, if your computer uses 1 GB of built-in RAM, a hard drive with 2 GB to 4 GB of free space is ideal. When you plug in the drive, one of two things will happen. The most likely event is that the AutoPlay menu will appear when Windows recognizes the new hard drive. The option you want is the one at the bottom that says Speed up my system—click it.

If AutoPlay doesn't come up, find your flash drive. Right-click on the name of the drive then click Open AutoPlay. Click the Speed up my system item.

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Find AutoPlay

AutoPlay button

Right-click the drive you're using for ReadyBoost then click Open AutoPlay.

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ReadyBoost Options

ReadyBoost tab

Clicking Speed up my system brings you to the ReadyBoost tab of the drive's Properties menu. Here you'll find three options. Do not use this device is for turning off ReadyBoost. The middle radio button says Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost. This one will use all available space on the drive for RAM. It calculates the total amount available and tells you how much it is. You can't adjust the slider with this option.

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Configure ReadyBoost Space

ReadyBoost Space Requirements

The bottom option, Use this device, allows you to set the amount of space used, through either the slider or the up-and-down arrows. To leave free space left on the drive, set the amount lower than the total free space on your drive. After clicking OK or Apply at the bottom of the window, you'll get a popup informing you that ReadyBoost is configuring your cache. After a few moments, you can use your computer and should see a speed increase from ReadyBoost.

To specify how much of your drive space to dedicate to ReadyBoost, click the bottom button and input an amount.

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Turn off ReadyBoost


Once a drive is set up with ReadyBoost, it won't release the drive space until it's turned off. Even if you take that drive and plug it into another computer, you won't have the free space you carved out for ReadyBoost. To turn it off, find the flash or external hard drive. Right-click the drive letter and left-click Properties at the bottom.

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Find Drive Properties to Turn off ReadyBoost

ReadyBoost Tab

Click the Do not use this device radio button from the ReadyBoost menu. That option frees space on your drive again.

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