How to Use a Flash Drive as RAM

By Lucinda Watrous

If your computer seems slow, and you have already gone through making sure there are no viruses, spyware or adware on the system, it may be because your system needs more RAM. RAM is the short-term memory of the computer. It works with the processor to multi-task. RAM can easily be added to your system if you are not already at maximum capacity for your motherboard, and you have available slots. However, RAM can get expensive, and even after you max out your motherboard you may need more. Using a flash drive as RAM is a quick, easy and cheaper way to increase system memory.

Step 1

Insert your flash drive into a USB port. If you have auto-play enabled, there should be an option in the menu that appears that says, "Speed Up My System" that will allow you to enable ReadyBoost.

Step 2

Click the "ReadyBoost" tab.

Step 3

To use the entire flash drive to increase RAM, click "Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost."

Step 4

To use less than the entire flash drive for ReadyBoost, click "Use this device" and move the slider to the amount of space you would like to use.

Step 5

Click "OK."

Step 6

Right click the drive letter, and choose properties.

Step 7

Look for the ReadyBoost Tab, and select it.

Step 8

Look for the option to enable the flash drive as RAM, and allocate the amount of space on the drive you wish to use as RAM. Remember, most systems max out at 4GB RAM. So if you have a drive larger than that, or 2GB RAM already, you need to remember this limitation so as to prevent damage to your system.

Tips & Warnings

  • ReadyBoost is only available in Windows Vista and Windows 7.
  • You should be running a minimum of 512MB of built-in RAM before using ReadyBoost.
  • Flash Memory will help your RAM, but it is not the same type of memory as RAM, and can be expected to run a little slower.
  • Do not rely on this to be your memory upgrade long because it cannot take the place of real RAM; you should upgrade to real RAM sticks as soon as possible, or upgrade your motherboard if you can no longer upgrade your RAM.
  • ReadyBoost does not effect the data on your flash drive.
  • For ReadyBoost to work effectively, you should have at least 1GB of available space on your flash drive.
  • If you are not seeing the option to use readyboost, your flash drive does not meet the minimum read rate/data transfer speed to be used as RAM. When it comes to choosing a flash drive to use as RAM, look at the specifications before you purchase it to see if it is ReadyBoost compatible.