Windows 7 - Readyboost FAT, FAT32 or NTFS?

Asked By Andy Pritchard on 17-Mar-07 05:08 AM
Hi All

I'm currently using a 2gig pen drive which is formatted using the FAT file
system, the question is: is this the best file system to use or would
NTFS/FAT32 be quicker for the drive/readyboost?


Richard Urban replied on 17-Mar-07 05:38 AM
If it currently works without any problem, leave it as it is. You will gain
nothing by changing it.



Richard Urban MVP
Microsoft Windows Shell/User
Andy Pritchard replied on 17-Mar-07 06:49 AM
Even though FAT uses 32k blocks ?

MICHAEL replied on 17-Mar-07 07:54 AM
I tend to agree with Richard on this- if it's working
leave it alone.

I will add some things that I've found.  I have been
using Vista since June when Beta2 came out.  When
I first started messing around with ReadyBoost I found
that it can be a bit tricky at times to get it to work and
keep it working.  Some flash drives don't seem to work
the first time that you put them in, but if you format the
device and test it again, it does.  Putting the device in
another USB slot might get it to pass testing.  Not plugging
it into a USB hub may get it working.  Going into Device Manager
and checking under the tab "Policies" for 'Optimize for Performance'
of your USB device may get it to work.  Sometimes clicking
users get their sticks to work right away with no problems, and
it may be because they are simply using a better/faster USB
flash drive.

Also, every so often, when I put my computer to sleep or even
on some reboots, ReadyBoost would not be working upon
restarting.  I would then pull it out and stick it back in, only to
be told my USB stick didn't have enough room.  The ReadyBoost
file was on there but not being used.  A quick format would get it
working again.  I then tried formatting it with NTFS, since then I
have not had any problems with it not working after awaking from

Some say FAT and FAT32 are a bit faster than NTFS on small drives.
NTFS is more solid, robust, and more stable than FAT or FAT32.
Some say NTFS *may* wear-out a USB flash drive quicker than FAT.
I don't know.

I do know this, if you have 1GB and over of RAM, you are likely not
notice any performance increase when using ReadyBoost- I really
think the feature is a bit over-hyped.  I have 2GB of RAM on this laptop,
and the only time I have ever noticed ReadyBoost giving me a boost,
is when I am using a virtual machine.  YMMV, of course.

Anyway, if ReadyBoost is working as is, I'd leave it alone until it
gives you a problem.  If it does, try formatting it to NTFS.

Take care,

Andy Pritchard replied on 17-Mar-07 10:17 AM
Thanks for the info, I will leave as FAT and enable 'Optimize for
Performance' on the drive

Synapse Syndrome replied on 18-Mar-07 07:57 AM
I keep mine formatted as FAT, so that I can use the flash drive with Macs.

MICHAEL replied on 18-Mar-07 08:01 AM

Do you think there might be some noticeable difference in
performance of ReadyBoost using FAT vs. NTFS? Or, because
ReadyBoost is really one large file, it doesn't matter?  I know I
can't tell.  Like I've said before, with 2Gb of RAM, the only time
it seems ReadyBoost may help, is when I'm running a virtual
machine.  Although, since formatting my ReadyBoost flash drive
to NTFS, the problems I had with it not working after coming out
of sleep or on some reboots, has gone away.  It actually took me
awhile to even notice ReadyBoost wasn't working after Sleep.  There
are no error messages and if you were to look in "Services" it would
say ReadyBoost was started.  I'd go to check the ReadyBoost tab of
the drive and it would say there wasn't enough room. I started paying
more attention, and about 50% of the time, ReadyBoost would not be
working after Sleep.  Formatted it to NTFS over a month ago, and that
problem has gone away.

Thanks for the info.

Synapse Syndrome replied on 18-Mar-07 08:13 AM
I have 2GB of RAM and a 2GB flash drive.  The flash drive takes the memory
WEI score on my computer up from 5.6 to 5.7.  As WEI is a benchmarking
thing, it seems that it does make a speed difference.

Richard Urban replied on 18-Mar-07 08:57 AM
I also have not noticed much difference. I have 2 gig of RAM and a 2 gig
readyboost drive. It does seem to make a difference when using VirtualPC



Richard Urban MVP
Microsoft Windows Shell/User
DevilsPGD replied on 20-Mar-07 01:13 PM
In message <> "cquirke (MVP

First off, there is no guarantee that the flash component cannot be
disabled or bypassed.

Second, buying a new hard drive isn't exactly a big deal, nor is
restoring from a recent backup, vs all the other things that can go
Insert something clever here.
rempuii7 replied on 08-Jul-08 04:48 AM
DevilsPGD;2681444 Wrote:

Please see my post USB Flash Drive,and you will see that the in a fast
flash drive the FAT is fastest,followed by FAT32 then last NTFS
In a slow flash drive with little flash NTFS is the fastest followed by
FAT16 and FAT32.

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