Readyboost FAT, FAT32 or NTFS?

Discussion in 'Windows Vista General Discussion' started by Andy Pritchard, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. 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?

    Andy Pritchard, Mar 17, 2007
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  2. 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
    Richard Urban, Mar 17, 2007
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  3. Even though FAT uses 32k blocks ?


    Andy Pritchard, Mar 17, 2007
  4. Andy Pritchard

    MICHAEL Guest

    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
    "Test Again" a few times will get it working. Of course, many
    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,

    MICHAEL, Mar 17, 2007
  5. Thanks for the info, I will leave as FAT and enable 'Optimize for
    Performance' on the drive

    Andy Pritchard, Mar 17, 2007
  6. Andy Pritchard

    DevilsPGD Guest

    In message <e#> "MICHAEL"
    Other way around, FAT (FAT16 especially) places the first copy of the
    FAT in a relatively static location, where as with NTFS the file system
    structures are scattered around the drive.

    Makes zero difference for ReadyBoost though, as Readyboost isn't
    manipulating the allocation tables except when initially creating the
    ReadyBoost file.
    DevilsPGD, Mar 18, 2007
  7. Andy Pritchard

    MICHAEL Guest

    These are the types of things I have read about.
    Although, like you said, it shouldn't be a problem
    with Readyboost. The first link actually gives some
    good info on the read and write speeds of FAT16
    and FAT32, too.
    Many have cited that NTFS' journaling will increase wear on flash memory, which has a limited
    number of write cycles before it can no longer be used, but given that that limit is generally
    about 1,000,000 erase/write cycles, simply using NTFS is not going to make a huge dent in the
    life span of these drives. You will more than likely upgrade to a larger drive by the time you
    hit that limit.
    The main problem with formatting flash drives using NTFS is that the features of this format
    also produce much more wear and tear on the flash drive which will cause it to wear out much
    NTFS is a journaling files system and, as such, reads and writes to files much more often than
    other file systems like FAT and FAT32. This is because disk transactions are logged separately
    on the disk as they occur.

    One potential negative of using NTFS on your flash drive is the additional data writes that are
    necessary. NTFS is a journaling file system, which means that disk transactions are logged
    separately on the disk as they occur. This adds up to a considerable amount of extra disk
    activity, which could mean wearing out your USB drive faster in the long run.
    But actually NTFS isn't suitable for flash medias because as journaling file system it has some
    overhead that wears out flash memory. But Windows XP optimizes and bundles write accesses to
    pen drives only when they are NTFS formatted, so I see NTFS as the right choice.
    Furthermore NTFS stores small files together with the file information so they are written into
    the same flash block which is the best that can happen.
    A drawback with NTFS and flash medias is that NTFS saves the access time when you read a file,
    so a simple read access causes flash wear out. In fact it is not as dramatically because
    Windows writes the data not immediately onto the media.
    MICHAEL, Mar 18, 2007
  8. Some seem to worry that when formatted as fat that the 64k sectors (in a 2
    gig USB drive) will cause a problem with small files wasting a lot of space.
    There aren't any small files. There is one large file that can take up most,
    if not all, of the drive. I would surmise that writes to within this file
    are similar to the way a data base functions. At any rate, the fat vs. NTFS
    controversy doesn't really apply here.



    Richard Urban MVP
    Microsoft Windows Shell/User
    Richard Urban, Mar 18, 2007

  9. I keep mine formatted as FAT, so that I can use the flash drive with Macs.

    Synapse Syndrome, Mar 18, 2007
  10. Andy Pritchard

    MICHAEL Guest


    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.

    MICHAEL, Mar 18, 2007

  11. 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.

    Synapse Syndrome, Mar 18, 2007
  12. 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
    Richard Urban, Mar 18, 2007
  13. On Sat, 17 Mar 2007 11:49:28 -0000, "Andy Pritchard"
    Could be. I suspect ReadyBoost virtualizes the contents of the file
    so that the file system is no longer relevant.

    Also, FAT32 will use page-friendly 4k clusters on any USB stick under
    8G in size, so that's not a problem even if it were a problem :)

    Saws are too hard to use.
    Be easier to use!
    cquirke (MVP Windows shell/user), Mar 20, 2007
  14. I'm far more concerned about this in the context of hybrid hard
    drives, where flash memory is built into the hard drive.

    When this embedded flash dies, so does the HD... and we'll only know
    whether that's a problem when it's several years too late.

    Saws are too hard to use.
    Be easier to use!
    cquirke (MVP Windows shell/user), Mar 20, 2007
  15. Andy Pritchard

    DevilsPGD Guest

    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
    DevilsPGD, Mar 20, 2007
  16. Andy Pritchard

    rempuii7 Guest

    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.
    rempuii7, Jul 8, 2008
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