Introduction: Use Your USB Flash Drive As Virtual RAM

Picture of Use Your USB Flash Drive As Virtual RAM

Today I´m gonna show you how to use a usb thumb drive as a virtual RAM device for your pc.
The thumb drive I used is a 2 Gb from Kingston. The size should be less than 4 Gb.
When you look at the sreenshots below you have to consider that it is in German.
Step 1:
Rename your thumb drive  as "RAM DRIVE", so you can see that it is the one which is used as RAM.
Step 2:
Delete all the stuff one the pen drive. Look also after hidden once.

Step 1: Step 3

Picture of Step 3

Step 3:
Right click on "My Computer" --> Properties

Step 2: Step 4

Picture of Step 4

Step 4:
click on "Advanced" --> system output "Settings"

Step 3: Step 5

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Step 5:

click on "Advanced" -->  "Edit"

Step 4: Step 6

Picture of Step 6

Step 6:

Click on your thumb drive above  --> "user-defined size"  -->
you can see the size of your flash drive (in this case 1932 Mb)
calculate: size of flash drive - 5 Mb
in this case: 1932 - 5 = 1927
Now type this number in the first box. In the second box you type in the same number (see picture) -->
click "set" and "OK"

Step 5: Step 7

Picture of Step 7

Step 7:
Click "Apply", click not "Cancel" or  "OK".
After you have clicked "Apply", click "OK".
Restart your computer.

Don´t pull out your thumb drive after you made this settings, because it´s used as virtual RAM device. It may crash your computer if you pull out your thumb drive. I´m not responsible for thoose cases.

Step 6: Removing

Picture of Removing

If your computer didn´t get really faster or you have other reasons to remove the USB thumb drive than take the following steps:
Go to step 6 and choose your USB thumb drive, than click "no swapfile" --> "Set" -->"OK" --> "Apply"

It would be great when you vote for me at the "USB contest".

My homepage:


njmalhq (author)2017-07-30

Many people don't seem to understand what virtual RAM is. Virtual RAM only kicks in when real RAM isn't enough. Then those programs that aren't currently active (say you have the window minimized) will get removed from main real RAM, and placed in the Virtual RAM. When this happens your computer will start "swapping," and can slow things down because putting things into the hard drive is considerably slow. Once the swap has occurred though things go back to being their normal seeming self. Until you reactivate one of the inactive programs (say you maximize a previously minimized window), in which case the swapping will start again, and cause a temporary hickup.

The reason why putting the Virtual RAM (which is just an area of storage set aside for swapping things to) on flash medium may speed up the swapping cycle is because flash is a non-mechanical medium, and is (usually) much faster than a mechanical hard drive. The swapping "hickup" moment will last a lot less longer than with a hard drive.

Lots of people aren't seeing an increase in speed probably because they aren't actually using their real RAM to the max. If you want to experience the difference in speed, try running a RAM heavy program, something like Blender (with a big model loaded), or maybe even open up a lot of graphic heavy tabs in your browser. When your RAM usage is 80-90%, you'll start experiencing the grind of swapping. Test both with a hard drive virtual RAM, and on flash drive. Of course SSD will probably give you the best results.

NOTE: Your flash drive will probably die a lot quicker if used in this way.

JorgeF76 (author)2016-10-16

Creating extra page file. You can do on hard drive same! Win 95 supports page file. Nothing special.

njmalhq (author)JorgeF762017-07-29

Flash drives can (not always) be faster than hard drive.

waheedsamo (author)2017-01-29

Hey friends I have an other easy and amazing way to boost up your RAM with USB Find at below link

how to Use USB as a RAM

I hope you will like friends

sdhardie1 (author)2016-11-19

Do you need to redo all of these settings every time you plug in that thumb drive or does it remember it when you plug it in? (I'm on a laptop, for example, and need to remove thumb drives when I pack it up for travel.) Thanks!

EvanF29 (author)2016-10-02

will this work with a bigger flash drive like 284gigs

AkkaB (author)2016-08-29

Check my article too :)

EpicMinecrafter870 (author)2016-07-28

Try this with a 1tb external hard drive :O

EpicMinecrafter870 (author)2016-07-28

@ayeza that readyboost method is ineffective when it comes to trying to allocate it to a game sigh as minecraft

AyezaFunzone (author)2016-02-13

Hey friends I have an other easy and amazing way to boost up your RAM with USB Find at below link

how to Use USB as a RAM

I hope you will like friends

JohnnyValhalla (author)2016-02-01

Just a tip for those who are interested in using their USB flash drive as an extension to the virtual RAM of Microsoft Windows or to extend the virtual memory of the operating system. Using your USB flash drive to increase the amount of virtual RAM or virtual memory or pagefile to be specific is fine. But by doing this, you are also shortening the lifespan of your USB flash drive. Remember that USB flash drives have limited numbers of writes. In normal usage, it will take a long time for the writes to run out. But if the USB flash drive is used as RAM where millions of transfers are done each minute, it will definitely decrease the life of the flash drive.

Longhorn032 (author)2016-01-21

U ca do all of this without usbflash. Just follow the procedure and just replace old page for virtual memory, which is already on your hdd. For example I don't remember the exact size, but I left it to 4gb. Which is more of enough because my physical ram is 2gb, so if all tasks are copied to the page, another 2gb will be free. On the other side, u can use this usbflash to create ReadyBoost. U'LL need at least 4gb drive if u using Windows 7. Format it under NTFS. In properties tap readyboost. Check third option and move slider completely to the right end. Press apply. Then check second option and press apply again. Now all space will be filled with single file. Rename it as local disk and if doesn't have letter, give it one. Be sure u put this drive on the back side of the pc. Be warned! This usbflash is assigned as Syaytem Drive and is already part of Windows. Do not remove it!!! RedyBoost will increase significantly performance if the pc have 2 or less gb!!! Otherwise you won't see any difference.

lucasprojects made it! (author)2016-01-13

Can't read pictures. But I found this article on how to do it:

All you need is a flash drive like this.

br82morrow (author)2015-12-30

omg so niiiiiiiice.

pliska (author)2015-12-12

readyboost is not RAM, readyboost improves hard drive activities

GracianG (author)2015-11-02

shall i remove the flash drive off the computer

AnshulT2 (author)2015-11-02

Is it equivalent to ssd ram?

IsaacE5 (author)2015-10-24


Samuel Sylvester (author)2015-10-15

Is there a MAC equivalent to this Instructable ?

Qtater (author)2014-03-18

I'm going to use 1.5 TB external hard drive for this on my HP envy with 6 GB of current RAM is this safe for my HP please reply if you do you will be considered a friend

cacj131 (author)Qtater2015-06-15

lol probably not

waheed.hussain.377 (author)2015-04-16

Use this link to Know easily how to Convert USB into RAM at


scar3dont_f3ar (author)2015-02-24

hey guys just a little tip, ntfs partitions can be used so you don't waste a usb port, just create a 2500 mb partition and give it ntfs file system and you can use it!

peter.b.rutkiewicz (author)2015-01-19

There is a step that is being forgotten. If you want Windows XP to stop using your "C:" hard drive for the swap file, you have to remove its swap file by clicking on that hard drive inside the screen where you choose your hard drive swap file size and on the "C:" drive, you choose "NO" virtual memory. Now Windows XP will be forced to use the USB Flash Drive for a swap file. Its access is faster than the hard drive, particularly since it doesn't have to "search" like a spinning hard drive does (although the reader is generally positioned right on the area where the swap file was placed). If you have a very fast hard drive such as 7200rpm Seagate Barracuda, 7200rpm WD Black Series, or 10,000rpm WD Velociraptor , the difference would be very subtle if at all. If you have 2 GB of RAM and your computer does not operate with a lot of programs open, occupying much of that 2GB, it is entirely possible that the swap file (virtual memory file) never gets accessed. If you have one of the new SSD drives, you should already know that is where your Windows XP swap file should be placed. Also, if you want to see a speed improvement, increase ram up to 4 GB and replace your hard drive with a larger cached (32MB to 64MB) and DUAL CHANNEL PROCESSING HARD DRIVE(read and write at the same time!) such as the aforementioned WD drives. It will breathe new life into your old computer and all the maintenance routines will go much, much faster. The inherent speed in even a 1.4Ghz processor is dramatically slowed by low memory levels and a huge majority of slow accessing hard drives. Get a better quality hard drive (cost a few $$ more but its your time you waste) for faster overall experience or an SSD (should take only a 60GB) to run just your operating system and a cold boot up will be under 10 seconds to a usable desk top. And get at least 2 GB of ram, 4 GB is even better for a gamer. Otherwise, your CPU is working with slow resources (ram and disk) and that is why your computer is slow. A modern 3.0 Ghz CPU is 50 times faster than the original 60Mhz Pentium chip.

Also, in XP, if you have Data Execution Prevention, make sure you check it just for Windows programs and services and not DEP for ALL software. This will open up your PAE memory access and data will flow freely. Let your anti-virus hunt for the viruses...don't slow your system down by interfering with the use of memory by inhibiting programs from using memory freely. If you have a recent CPU with video processing on the CPU, keep in mind that it can take up to 2GB of ram to manage full video at 1920X1080 so you'll need 4GB for a faster running machine. Knowledge is power...many computers being sold are poorly configured and should never be bought and some manufacturers and assemblers assemble components that are not compatible matched with drivers and software that doesn't work. Insufficient RAM, slow hard drives, BIOS with artificially imposed limits that make the computer obsolete from day one, DVD/RW substitution without changing the drivers are common mistakes: "let the customer sort it out". Most people return a computer that gives them trouble to do a more expensive one! They should all work right from day one.

abhijeet.patra.161 (author)2014-12-17

I used sony 4 gb micro vault, but there is no effect on speed of my pc :(

Ashr1 (author)2014-12-15

This method only increases your virtual memory, you cant use it as a ram. Computer uses your hard drive for virtual memory by default and there is a big difference between virtual memory and ram, long story short it wont make your PC faster.

kevin.corbat.1 (author)2014-11-22

i did all of these according to these instructions, i dont notice it being any faster, and according to control panel i still only have 2gb ram when i should now be at 4, anyone have any idea what's going on there?

skyhawk1953 (author)2014-10-20

i think any usb stick will do if you fully blank it and format it. but then you have to dedicate it to this project only. It becomes iffy as a transport stick

nojtuag (author)2012-02-27

3 questions:

1. So if 200GB is converted to rams; it would be about 199.9GBRAM because it's subjected by 5mb? I know I'm not gonna use up that much, but just pretend if it does hold that much.

2. Compare the performances against the real rams...

3. Can the virtual ram gets full without using it as a partition harddrive?

benj3 (author)nojtuag2014-10-02

cant u see that it only holds up 2 gb and not more than that!!!

MoritzB (author)nojtuag2012-03-02

1. It would be 199995 MB (200GB= 200.000MB --> - 5MB). But I don´t know if this works.
2. Try it out.
3. I think if you use a 2gb drive it can get full but not 200gb.


KailasP (author)2014-09-19

Operating system Window 8 Pro
Processor Intel(R) Core(TM)i5-457OS CPU @ 2.90GZ
Install Meomory(RAM) 4.00 GB(3.80 Usable)
System Type 64 bit Operating system,x64-based processor

How come my usb which is a Kingston 4 gb doesn't show up under the select drive thing

only my C drive and data drives show up

KailasP (author)2014-09-19

How come my usb which is a Kingston 4 gb doesn't show up under the select drive thing

only my C drive and data drives show up

Financeguy (author)2014-03-22

Looking forward to putting on my brand new USBracelet from Mandarin Technologies

Qtater (author)2014-03-18

and my HP is on windows 8

lardjisj (author)2014-01-12

How come my usb which is a Kingston 4 gb doesn't show up under the select drive thing

only my C drive and data drives show up

kkbhanot (author)2013-10-09

Nice info mate. I need this. I work full time from home and needed my computer fast even though I have 8 GB ram. I don't play games but I use some software.

jacobclinester (author)2013-02-28

why not just use windows ready boost in windows 7 but for xp this would be great.

dodo91 (author)2012-06-13

The problem for most people is a lot of flash drives aren't compatible to do this. I don't know why they aren't. I've tried 5 drives so far, and only one would work.

nojtuag (author)2012-03-23

happen if your computer only support 4GBrams? If you add virtual rams on it; does it incr the ram as well?

zico0 (author)2012-03-08

ok now ive done everything as u said but when i check on my ram i still get the readin 1gb ???????????? . .
. .
. .  what should i do ?

MoritzB (author)zico02012-03-09

Hi zico0,
you have missunderstood something.
This instructable doesn´t enlarge you pc-ram with the storage of an usb thumb drive, but the virtual ram of your pc. This is something different.
Because of that, you computer has still 1gb of hardware ram, but more gb of virtual ram.

muberblob (author)2012-01-16

Hey can anyone tell me why it should be less than 4gb? If so thanks a million!

Flobot-74 (author)2010-06-26

You can take the drive out after you turn the computer off correct? Also, can you put other files onto the drive after you do this?

MoritzB (author)Flobot-742010-06-27

When you use your usb thumb drive as a virtual ram device you shouldn´t put files on the drive.

CaptainMcClellan (author)MoritzB2011-12-31

Good Morrow speakers of English, Guten Tag Herr Moritz! To Flobot and Moritz: Yeah, you can actually, just partition off 2GB for use as virtual ram and then the rest for standard FAT32 file storage. There are How-to's on how to do this, so please refer to those as it would take me making my own to explain it all. Oh, and if you do this you can use the flash drive as a flash drive while also using it as Virtual Memory. As always and to every one, I wish you well with your endeavours. (I nearly slipped up and said "good luck" again... luck is bad, don't trust it.)

MoritzB (author)CaptainMcClellan2012-01-01

Thank you for your knowledge.

Grooby (author)Flobot-742010-06-26

You can't put extra files on the drive if you use the whole drive as virtual memory. but if you only use part of the drive you can.

Flobot-74 (author)Grooby2010-06-27

But you can still remove it after it's turned off?

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