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Can You Use Flash Drives as RAM?

how to use flash drives as ram

If you notice that your computer or laptop is slowing down when you are working on digital art or playing a high graphics game, you should look to upgrade the RAM of your machine to enhance the performance.

RAM is a device’s second engine. Higher the RAM, the higher its performance. This is extremely important for users who want to play games with high graphics or execute high-end tasks like editing videos or images.

However, RAM is a costly component of a PC or a laptop, and high-performance RAM with the latest tech will set you back several dollars. But did you realize there’s a clever method to save this cost by just utilizing a USB drive as RAM on a Windows laptop or PC?

The tech world is moving forward fast with innovations. You can keep up by following the methods in this article to use a USB flash drive as RAM.

How to use a USB drive as RAM

It is simple to use a USB flash drive as RAM; all you need is a USB flash drive, and the crucial thing to remember is that a single file larger than 4 GB cannot be stored on a FAT32-formatted USB device. If you want to save data larger than 4GB on this USB flash drive, you must format it using the NTFS file system.

In this next section, we will look at two ways to use a USB device as RAM. Adhere to the standards listed below.

Virtual RAM Method

The first method is the Virtual RAM method. Virtual RAM, often known as virtual memory, is a built-in feature of the Windows PC. To begin, perform the instructions below:

  • Plug your USB flash drive into any available USB port.
  • After that, Right-click on the My Computer or This PC icon (depending on the OS).
  • Then, choose Properties from the drop-down menu.
  • Next, From the left side of the Properties box, select Advanced system settings as shown in the image below.
    advanced system settings
  • At the top of the System Properties window, select the Advanced option.
  • Underneath the Performance tab, click the Settings option.
  • At the Performance Options box, select the Advanced option once more.
    system properties performance settings
  • Under the Virtual memory area, click the Change button.
  • Then, Uncheck Manage the paging file size for all drives probably automatically, and then pick your USB stick from the device list displayed.
  • Under the Custom Size option, enter the value in MB. This number must be at least 200 MB smaller than the value displayed against available space.
    custom size
  • Finally, restart your computer or laptop. You will notice the effects of more RAM in demanding tasks.

Ready Boost Method

The second method is the ready boost method to use a USB flash drive as RAM. Follow the steps below:

Step 1: Format the USB Flash Drive

  • Attach the USB flash drive to your system.
  • Launch the File Explorer program on your PC.
  • Next, here on the left-hand side of the File Explorer window, click on “This PC.”
  • Then, right-click on the USB drive and choose Properties. Then, select “Format” to begin formatting the drive.
  • When the Format box displays, select the File system option.
  • Then, click “Start” to begin the formatting process. The formatting procedure will take some time to complete.
  • Once formatted, proceed to the Step 2 given below:

Step 2: Use ReadyBoost to increase the RAM

After formatting your USB drive, it’s time to ready boost your USB flash drive. Follow the below steps to do it.

  • To begin, press the Windows key and E key at the same time.
  • Next, to see all of your laptop’s discs, click on “This PC.”
  • When you find your USB device, right-click it and select “Properties.”
  • Just go to the “ReadyBoost” option in the Properties box.
  • Choose the “Use this device” option.
    readyboost use this device
  • You can now tweak the slider to increase or reduce the quantity of RAM (For example– the maximum limit for this computer is 4094 MB).
  • To save the changes, click “Apply” and then “OK.” And restart your PC.

That’s all there is to it! You’ve successfully upgraded the RAM on your laptop or PC. This will significantly accelerate the system and boost its performance.

Disconnect your USB Flash Drive

Remove the USB flash drive only after you’ve removed the Ready Boost settings. Because if you remove your USB drive and your system shuts down directly, it can corrupt your Windows because there are cache files in the flash drive, so do not eject the flash drive directly.

If you want not to use the flash drive as extra RAM, perform the following methods to eject your USB drive safely.

  • Launch File Explorer & navigate to “This PC.”
  • Then right-click on the flash drive.
  • Then, select “Properties.”
  • Then, select the “ReadyBoost” tab.
  • You must choose “Do not use this device” here, and ReadyBoost will not utilize this device.
  • To save these updated modifications, click “Apply” and then “OK.”
  • You can now remove the USB from your laptop or PC and use it as a standard drive on other PCs.


Generally, using a USB flash drive as RAM on Windows is simple. However, you must disconnect your flash drive carefully, or the device may be damaged. Create a system restore point from a safety standpoint as well.

Remember that you can only use a USB drive as RAM in Hard Disk Drive (HDD). If the above steps are not working in your system, then you have a Solid-State Drive (SSD) in your PC or Laptop, or you may have no more RAM capacity in your system.

About author

A finance major with a passion for all things tech, Uneeb loves to write about everything from hardware to games (his favorite genre being FPS). When not writing, he can be seen in his natural habitat reading, studying investments, or watching Formula 1.
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