ReadyBoost no longer a Vista-only feature: eBoostr 1.0

MDO Ltd. announces the release of eBoostr, a complete replacement for Microsoft ReadyBoost technology for Windows XP. Upgrade the performance of your PC without upgrading its components. Get ReadyBoost-like technology in Windows XP. Overcome ReadyBoost limitations and use up to four inexpensive flash devices to speed up your system. Add more speed to your PC without upgrading! If you could improve the performance of your computer by upgrading just one item, that would be memory. Adding more RAM speeds up Windows and applications, allowing the system to access the hard disk less often. This is especially true for older PCs with 256 or 512 MB of RAM, and laptop computers with slow hard drives.

Upgrading computer components can be costly, and is not always possible. Buying and plugging a USB flash memory stick, on the other hand, is neither expensive nor complicated. That is why Microsoft developed a new technology called ReadyBoost. ReadyBoost uses flash memory plugged into a computer to enhance operating system responsiveness, decrease loading time, and improve computer performance. Unfortunately, Microsoft ReadyBoost is only available in Windows Vista. Since the day Microsoft announced its ReadyBoost technology for Windows Vista, the company made it clear that no ReadyBoost upgrade will be released to support Windows XP and older operating systems.

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Why should it not work? Using a flash disk to cache frequently used small files and/or to automatically backup critical files is something I've wanted to see done for ages. Kind of "lazy RAID". MS finally did it in vista, and now there's eboostr.

I tried eboostr and it works, my email prog loads thousands of small files which aren't cached in RAM after a boot or after using a lot of memory, takes 38 seconds to open. Reduced to 23 seconds using eboostr and a fairly dodgy USB flash disk. Also general PC responsiveness can be greatly improved when the hard drive is busy being thrahsed by something.

Next job is to get a fast CF card or 2 (20MB/s cheap these days) and hook it up to a spare IDE port. I tried yesterday with an adapter someone loaned me a while ago, but I couldn't get it to recognise as an IDE disk.

My only worry is that this is a core OS function and it is critically important that it not break the data, so I hope the developer has that covered (imagine if the cache feeds you an old version of a file, or the wrong file). But I haven't seen any problems at all. They're not far off getting my money.

Hello all,

I am the developer of eBoostr and I want to make a few comments.

First of all I want to claim that it really works. You can get up to 300% speed increase on applications loading on a laptop or other computer with short memory and slow hard drives.

Second is that speed increase ratio strongly depends on the speed of the USB stick. As far as I know most ReadyBoost reviewers test it with different amount of RAM, but almost nobody test it against the speed of a flash memory.

Even a computer with a lot of RAM will get significant bonus. I have several configurations with 1-2 GB and got application start up time less by 20-50%. It saves just a few minutes at everyday use, but it will save you a day at year timeline.

As for adding more RAM – there are few concerns:

-- DDR1 is expensive now

-- sometimes you are not able to increase memory (no free slots for example)

-- and finally (probably most important) Windows does not use system memory cache at an optimal way. For example, after some antivirus background work it will be filled with unneeded files you are not going to use. eBoostr caches only the most frequently used files and the cache contents is always up to date.

more real memory is always better than any alternative and this would only be useful for those who have minimal memory(under 512MB)anything above might not do so well,if only superfetch could be created for xp(which is a vista only feature)

Ok after testing the demo version a couple of times I found no significant improvement in boot speed. Since how the program works is not documented, I can only guess that it acts as a boot time device driver that preloads something from the cache on the USB during the boot. I also observed that the LED on the USB drive was not on until XP startup screen (the logo + progress bar, which usually lasts from 15-30 secs) disappears. This suggests that the driver loaded pretty late. Clearly its effectiveness is limited, if any.

Overall I see a few seconds speed-up of boot time, which is a fraction of the normal time (30 sec if you have a fast PC and clean installation, or 45-60 sec for an average home/office user). I'm not going to spend $30 to save 10 secs of my time, considering that I reboot my PC once or twice a week.

I'm using this and it actually seems to improve XP's cache use. Applications do not load significantly faster, but they are more responsive.

This article is written more like a spam advertisement than a real news story. And I see why, its source is the company that created it.

i run windows XP with 4 GB of ram (DDR 2 - 800 MHz) in dual channel mode. I do not believe that I need this software. lol . but i do need something other than /PAE to allow me to use 4. GB of ram in XP 32 bit rather than 3.5 GB.

any suggestions? the /PAE switch only helped me get up from 3.25 GB availability in XP to 3.5 GB. but not the full 4 GB. so 512 MB are lost somewhere.

This is a limitation of the x86 memory space. Some of your ram is being used by your bios/hardware devices, especially if you have PCI Express... the ONLY way you are going to see over 3.5GB is to go to a 64bit OS.

lnxpro said,
i run windows XP with 4 GB of ram (DDR 2 - 800 MHz) in dual channel mode. I do not believe that I need this software. lol . but i do need something other than /PAE to allow me to use 4. GB of ram in XP 32 bit rather than 3.5 GB.

any suggestions? the /PAE switch only helped me get up from 3.25 GB availability in XP to 3.5 GB. but not the full 4 GB. so 512 MB are lost somewhere.

I always wondered if that really worked or not. I guess it sort of works. I'll have to enable this when I upgrade.

I run XP on 512MB (also dual booted with Ubuntu) . I don't have any plans on getting more RAM because DDR RAM is expensive.

However, you'd be surprised at how well this machine runs. At startup, RAM idles at 150MB usage (this is with antivirus) and about 18 or 19 processes. At typical use, I never go above 350MB of RAM usage.

I do play some older games, and I'm sure it stresses out the RAM then, but the games run well. I also occasionally run Windows 2000 and 98 on VMWare, and this laptop handles it well. Basically, I know how to keep my machine working to the best of its ability for XP.

Does anyone remember those memory programs from the 90's that would "compress" your ram?
This ready boost (to a different extent) reminds me of the same thing.
VERY little performance boost, if any. As with those memory compression programs, REAL ram is
a better option.

naap51stang said,
Does anyone remember those memory programs from the 90's that would "compress" your ram?
This ready boost (to a different extent) reminds me of the same thing.
VERY little performance boost, if any. As with those memory compression programs, REAL ram is
a better option.

Oh yeah, I remember using those RAM optimization programs.... Once used, your system felt even choppier than before... (To me, anyway)

there is a difference tho, with readyboost there is more actual memory being used... much cheaper memory than RAM , but memory nonetheless...
and yeah, i eboostr compared to readyboost is almost like RAID vs a single hard drive?? lots of slow usb keys instead of a single fast one...

yeah i remember them... i still have one on a floppy disc called "Magna Ram" lol... yeah it dont really work to well even back in the day... and it's like you said... real ram is ALOT better than those types of programs.

naap51stang said,
As with those memory compression programs, REAL ram is
a better option.

Currently thats true. Let's remember that a USB stick still has to run at 480mbps (USB 2.0). RAM is a lot faster.

ThaCrip said,
yeah i remember them... i still have one on a floppy disc called "Magna Ram" lol... yeah it dont really work to well even back in the day... and it's like you said... real ram is ALOT better than those types of programs.

Was that part of the QEMM suite? Ahh, heady days of tweaking to have all DOS devices, keyboard drivers, etc. loaded high leaving yourself 635KB out of 640KB base RAM to play with...

ReadyBoot

Windows Vista uses the same boot-time prefetching as Windows XP did if the system has less than 512MB of memory, but if the system has 700MB or more of RAM, it uses an in-RAM cache to optimize the boot process. The size of the cache depends on the total RAM available, but is large enough to create a reasonable cache and yet allow the system the memory it needs to boot smoothly.

After every boot, the ReadyBoost service (the same service that implements the ReadyBoost feature just described) uses idle CPU time to calculate a boot-time caching plan for the next boot. It analyzes file trace information from the five previous boots and identifies which files were accessed and where they are located on disk. It stores the processed traces in %SystemRoot%PrefetchReadyboot as .fx files and saves the caching plan under HKLMSystemCurrentControlSetServicesEcacheParameters in REG_BINARY values named for internal disk volumes they refer to.

The cache is implemented by the same device driver that implements ReadyBoost caching (Ecache.sys), but the cache's population is guided by the ReadyBoost service as the system boots. While the boot cache is compressed like the ReadyBoost cache, another difference between ReadyBoost and ReadyBoot cache management is that while in ReadyBoot mode, other than the ReadyBoost service's updates, the cache doesn't change to reflect data that's read or written during the boot.

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/technetma...03/VistaKernel/

Even if you have 4 GB of RAM in Vista, ReadyBoost should be left running. Why? ReadyBoot is tied to the ReadyBoost service and does improve boot times when enabled.

ManMountain said,
Even if you have 4 GB of RAM in Vista, ReadyBoost should be left running. Why? ReadyBoot is tied to the ReadyBoost service and does improve boot times when enabled.

o really? i disable that and notice no difference, i would like to see an information about that.

In the testing I've done, disabling ReadyBoost (and thus ReadyBoot) has no effect on the period of time between the MBR loading and the point where your desktop wallpaper appears, and lessens the disk thrashing thereafter. It's a dud feature. SuperFetch, on the other hand, is surprisingly effective if you have sufficient RAM to toss at it (2GB+).

Besides, you ought to be using Hibernate anyways; Shut Down has no purpose any more.

There was a professional review done on how much you really gain from Readyboost. And it was concluded that you have to have 512mb of RAM or less to actually see any noticable jump in performance when adding for example a 1GB USB key. Adding a 1GB key to a computer that already has 1GB of RAM or more you only say maybe a few point increase.

Dont forget that the review/test was done under Windows Vista, which has better cache management. Vista makes better use of your excess/idle RAM, and therfore ReadyBoost technology under Vista for PCs having ample amounts of RAM provides no significant performance improvements.

Let's say your laptop already has the maximum amount of RAM it's intended to hold. Can something like this still speed your computer up even more?

Doubtful. It's been shown that readyboost works best when there is 512MB or less memory on the computer. Otherwise, it's not really worth it.

@ chaos_disorder and Slimy:

In Vista, ReadyBoost isn't of much use for PCs having greater than 512 MB because Vista uses a good deal of your RAM for caching data. Also, the more RAM you add, the better it is, since more data can be cached in advance.
Since Speed(RAM) >> Speed(Flash), you won't find any performance increase on Vista PCs having ample amount of memory.

In XP, the memory management isn't as efficient as Vista. Therefore, there exists a point in your PC, beyond which, adding more RAM doesn't automatically mean better performance. Thus all that excess RAM you have in your XP machine usually goes to waste, untill it is needed by some memory hogging app.

Therefore, XP benefits more from ReadyBoost technology than Vista does, and it would deliver no matter how much RAM is installed in the PC.

--

On a side note, I've been beta testing eBooster for a few months now, and found that it does really work - regardless of the amount of RAM you have on your PC.


(Although, if you have 1 GB of RAM or more on your XP machine, it's better to just create a RamDisk and install your frequently used apps into it )