Windows 7 - Best format for ReadyBoost

Asked By FiOS Dave on 07-May-08 12:48 AM
I am using a 2GB SD card for ReadyBoost, and want to know
what is the best format to use for quickest operation.
I've tried FAT, FAT32, exFAT and NTFS, but don't see much
difference (except for available space!)
Thanks in advance,


JW replied on 07-May-08 09:12 AM

Ken Blake, MVP replied on 07-May-08 04:37 PM
On Wed, 7 May 2008 00:48:12 -0400, "FiOS Dave"

How much RAM do you have?

If you have 2GB or more of RAM, the little it might do for you is so
slight as to be almost unnoticeable.

And if you have less than 2GB of RAM, you would do much better to
spend your money on upgrading your RAM to 2GB than on buying a device
for ReadyBoost use.

So, in general, I recommend *against* using ReadyBoost.

Ken Blake, Microsoft MVP - Windows Desktop Experience
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FiOS Dave replied on 12-May-08 10:46 PM
Thanks for the answer(s).

I have 2GB of RAM in the system, and currently have the SD card formatted
as NTFS. Since I have no other need for the SD card, I will leave it as is.
I understand that there are a limited number of write cycles for flash,
and wonder if there is a way to keep track?! I guess when the flash card
fails, I will know that I have hit that limit...

JW replied on 12-May-08 11:09 PM
You should reformat  the Ready Boost drive to FAT32 since if  you do it will
hold a lot more actual data since less space is required for the FAT 32
directories than for the NTFS directories.
Bender replied on 14-May-08 05:34 AM
Microsoft has written Readyboost to write to the flash memory in such a way
as to even out the wear. Expect about 10 years of constant use before the
number of write cycles becomes limited. By then a replacement should be very
cheap, and probably not even needed as new technology makes Readyboost
technology obsolete (such as the newly discovered memresitor) .
Poutnik replied on 15-May-08 03:38 AM says...

I would not say it is work of Microsoft.

Whatever FileSystem is flash memory formatted for,
internally it uses its own specialized filesystem for flash devices
( there are such ones )
or at least modified version of common filesystem.

It contains integrated memory controller chip to manage it.

The purpose is to manage "wear leveling" to get all sectors tired in the
same/similar speed. Some areas have extra backups.

Without it e.g. FAT32 File allocation table area would get damaged soon.
rempuii7 replied on 08-Jul-08 06:01 AM
Bender;3733321 Wrote:

My Vista only accept FAT32 as fast enough,I could use NTFS if I wanted
to,but I had to tweak a bit,so I think FAT32 is the default format for
ReadyBoost,each has its own style of Format so the default would be the
best .
If you had time you can read my post 'USB Flash Drive',in a very fast
flash drive the copy and paste is faster with FAT format then NTFS,while
in a very slow fash drive NTFS is faster.

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RobinGB replied to FiOS Dave on 17-Mar-10 09:04 PM
Just an update to this thread for anyone reading this now that flash
cards over 4 GB are very common... I dont know if vista's readyboost has
been updated in line with Win7 but for Win 7 the readyboost cache can be
upto 256Gb, hence if your flash card is more than 4Gb you are recomended
to format it as NTFS. If you format it as FAT32 readyboost will only
ever suggest a 4Gb cache as the cache is a single file, and FAT32 limits
files to 4Gb in size. I changed my 8gb card from Fat32 to NTFS hence
increasing my readyboost cache from 4gb to 8gb on a duo core PC with 4Gb
of ram and the further improvement is very noticeable.