Boost Windows 7 Performance with the use of Solid State Technology - Part 2

Continuing from part one

From the moment you boot your computer, immediately after the BIOS screen, Super Fetch goes to work. Boot and startup files for the operating system are retrieved from the system cache, effectively speeding up the boot process. Startup programs load fast after the login screen when Windows enters its GUI, and many frequently used programs, and data are preloaded into RAM. Super Fetch works directly with the windows “Page File”, in order to help determine what data to cache and when it should be loaded into RAM. Instead of paging to virtual memory (the page file), Super Fetch may instead send that data to its cache. Super Fetch takes into consideration several other aspects of a computing session to help determine what data should be cached and used, such as the date and time that data was accessed, how often that data was accessed, and for how long.

It also takes into account system services that are running in the background in which data from those sessions could also be cached for faster retrieval. By itself, Super Fetch doesn’t support much of a performance boost, but when coupled with solid state technology you can expect exponential increases in system performance. Without solid state technology, the Super Fetch Cache is located directly on the hard disk drive itself and shows very little performance boost. With solid state technology, Super Fetch stores cached data directly on solid state media, and this is where the performance boost comes in, since hard drives are infact mechanical devices that suffer from latency issues, while as solid state technology has no moving parts, effectively avoiding latency issues (hence “Solid State”).

Ready Boost:

Uses Solid State Technology in order to boost windows performance. It is a component of the sysmain feature of Windows Vista and 7. Ready Boost Works directly with Super Fetch and the page file, in order to cache frequently used data to a solid state medium, such as a Secure Digital Card (SD), USB Flash Drive, Compact Flash, Memory Stick, PCI Express disks and controllers, as well as some PC card implementations. Super Fetch must be enabled in order to use Ready Boost (from start menu, click run, and type “services.msc” into the dialog box to find the settings panel for Super Fetch). In Windows 7 you can have up to 8 Ready Boost caches for individual operating systems and PC’s. Each cache can be up to 32GB each and can consist of ready boost caches that can also work in tandem with Ready Drive (hybrid solid state hard disk drives) in order to boost performance. If you have a solid state device that is more than 4GB that you want to use for Ready Boost, you will need to format it with NTFS of Ex-Fat file systems. Many flash drives and SD cards on the market today are formatted with the FAT32 file system, and they can only be formatted to a 4GB partition, hence 232 = approximately 4 billion, in this case its 4 billion Bytes. We at pctechauthority recommend the Ex-FAT file system, since it has lower overhead than NTFS, and allows for larger partition sizes. You can have up to 8 Ready Boost caches in Windows 7, and each cache can be up to 32GB. If you want to use solid state media that is more than 4GB for Ready Boost then you will need to format using the NTFS or exFAT file systems.

Here we are going to show you how to create a Ready Boost cache using any solid state media (USB drive, SD card, etc). In our example we will be using an 8GB High Performance Samsung SD card, with data read/write ratios of 24MB/s read, and 16MB/s write. First we need to plugin in our SD card, then we need to find out its drive letter. In the case of our SD card, our drive letter was j, you need to know this or you won’t be able to format using the command prompt. To find your drive letter and identify your device, just click start, and click computer, then locate your device in the list.

The easiest way to format your SD card or USB flash drive: from an elevated command prompt type: format E:/FS:NTFS Make sure to select the correct drive letter assigned to your device, if you don't then you may format the wrong drive! Click start, computer, and locate your device and its corresponding drive letter will be shown. You can format with whichever file system you choose, however, exfat will be the fastest performing and you can format drives larger than 4GB, unlike fat32 formatted devices. Ex: format E:/fs:exfat This formats the drive to the exfat file system in which you will now be able to use the entire drives 8GB to 32GB for the ready boost cache.

Another way to format your device:
open your command prompt by clicking start and typing CMD in the search box and pressing enter, or by clicking start, all programs, accessories, and command prompt. At the command prompt type disk part, press enter, then type list disk, now select the appropriate disk from the choices, they are labeled 0 123, etc. You can match the size of the solid state device to the numbered device by going to: computer, and right clicking on any drive, selecting properties, then hardware, selecting your disk from the list, clicking properties, volumes, and then populate, to get information from that particular disk including its full data size in GB.

Now enter the appropriate disk number by typing “select disk 1” or whatever disk number you are referring too, without the quotes. Then type clean and hit enter, now type “create partition primary” (again without the quotes) and then press enter. Now type “format fs:exfat”( or whichever file system type you choose, such as NTFS or FAT32) again without the quotes. Wait for the drive to finish formatting. Once your formatting is completed, remove the solid state media and re-insert it back into the PC. When the auto play box pops up, click “speed up my system” from the list of available choices. A graphical user interface will pop up with options for configuring Ready Boost as shown below.

windows autoplay box Ready Boost Properties Box windows command prompt