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A Microsoft employee translating Microsoft technology into plain English

SuperFetch, ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive: some new feature names for you

SuperFetch, ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive: some new feature names for you

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 Although feature names aren't the most exciting thing to talk about, I do like to get them right if I can (although I'm still getting my mind around the 2007 Microsoft Office System). 

Anyhow, we've just finalised the names of some Vista features - the three that form part of the performance-enhancing aspects. I've mentioned SuperFetch before and you may have come across features codenamed EMD and Piton. 

Well they now have official names as follows: 

Windows SuperFetch™ is a memory management innovation in Windows Vista that helps make your PC consistently responsive by tracking what applications are used most on a given machine and intelligently preloading these applications into memory.

Or in other words, your apps load faster.


Windows ReadyBoost™ (formerly code-named “EMD”) makes PCs running genuine Windows Vista more responsive by using flash memory on a USB drive, SD Card, Compact Flash, or other memory form factor to boost system performance.  

Or in other words, if you plug in a USB memory stick your machine may run faster. 


Windows ReadyDrive™ (formerly code-named “Piton”)  enables Windows Vista PCs equipped with a hybrid hard drive to boot up faster, resume from hibernate in less time, and preserve battery power.  Hybrid hard drives are a new type of hard disk, which integrate non-volatile flash memory with a traditional hard drive.

Or in other words, your machine may start up almost instantly.


So now you can impress friends and family at parties with phrases like "yeah, I'm getting a hybrid hard drive to make sure I can take advantage of Windows ReadyDrive - you know, the feature that was codenamed Piton". Oh yes.

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  • Cool, but when will the hybrid drives become available and how much higher price tag will be there on them? ;)
  • Hope superfetch can be turned off
  • Sounds like a good idea to me. I do just use the same apps over and over, so if Windows sticks them into memory ready to go...
  • sounds nice if no one else is at your station with your passwordall your stuff preloads
  • Thanks for the comments. Some thoughts:
    - Will hybrid-drive machines have a higher price tag? I don't know, but I'm sure OEMs will be doing some deals. I know that I want this feature no matter what, and I think quite a few people will probably agree (and others won't of course, but that's the nice thing about choice).
    - Can superfetch be turned off? Good question, I'll find out. I would suspect yes.
    - Preloading apps concern: Not sure I quite get it, but SuperFetch isn't going to compromise your security, it's a pretty smart feature imho
  • SuperFetch does not make your applications load faster,  it just loads them sooner.
  • I'm confused.  Most thumb drives are substantially slower than modern hard drives, which are slower than main memory.  How is ReadyBoost going make systems faster again?
  • Re load faster vs load sooner: I think you're splitting hairs to be honest, the bottom line is the time from when you indicate you want to use an application to when it's available will be less, however you want to describe that.

    Re "thumb drives" vs hard drives: essentially ReadyBoost  offers the ability to upgrade the system's memory even if there are no physical memory slots. The user can still remove the memory key at any moment without affecting system stability. To prevent security issues, the information is encrypted on the key to prevent data leaks.
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  • Matt Ayers, the Product Manager for these features, has kindly provided some fuller (and more accurate) answers to the questions posed in the comments above:

    - ReadyBoost encrypts all data in its cache with AES-128. No real security worries if someone makes off with your UFD.

    -       Superfetch can make apps launch faster. By placing frequently used disk pages into unused memory, some of your frequently used apps will be launched ‘warm’ out of memory instead of cold off of disk. It really does speed up the launch of frequently used apps.

    -       We’re not using ReadyBoost as memory but rather as a cache for things that would otherwise come off of disk (frequently used data, memory pages, etc)

    -       Carl had a question about speed. Perf in this case depends on the data involved. HDDs are faster than flash for large sequential operations. For small, random reads (like pulling a 4k page off of disk), HDDs need to seek and that takes about 8-10ms. Flash can service a 4k I/O in under a millisecond. We use ReadyBoost to service these small random guys.

    Thanks Matt!
  • All in all - those technologies are really great since disk drives are still dog slow compared to RAM. I really hope that the day I put 4GB of memory in my PC, all everyday software I need will be always ready to launch from it. ;)
  • Sounds like something I could get used to as well :-)
  • Is there any difference between:
    (a) HD + Flash Card + ReadyBoost
    (b) HHD + ReadyDrive

    Seems (a) is easier to upgrade as Flash continues to get cheaper, but does it have the same capabilities as (b)?

    Also, I wonder what Vista will do with:
    (c) HDD + ReadyDrive + Flash Card + ReadyBoost
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