You see there is one major Difference between RAM and a Flash Drive. They are built differently, for different purposes. They store information differently. RAM uses volatile memory, which requires power to maintain stored information.In other words, the information the computer stores on RAM is lost once you switch off the computer. Flash Drives on the other hand, like your Hard Drive, is non-volatile storage. What ever information you send to a Flash Drive is recorded so that you can access it later.
There is also another Memory for computer called Virtual Memory. Now you must have seen a temporary file stored on your computer, as you are working with a Word file or Excel sheet. Your computer stores the inactive part of the file you are working on and saves it temporarily on your Hard Drive so that your RAM can be freed up. This is exactly what Virtual Memory does. Virtual Memory uses your Hard Drive and gives an application the "impression that it has contiguous working memory (an address space), while in fact it may be physically fragmented and may even overflow on to disk storage."
Windows Vista takes it a step further. It enables you to use a new technology - ReadyBoost. ReadyBoost works using flash drives. Using ready boost, you can convert your Flash Drive into a cache. I am sure you have heard about cache, on your web browser. It is a place where the browser stores previous responses from a web server. In other words, things like cookies, pictures etc are stored on you Browser Cache so that the browser need not fetch it again as you move from one page to another when you are browsing.
- Make sure that your USB Drive is 1 GB or more.
- Plug it into your computer.
- Scan it and fix it when your Vista prompts you to do so.
- Go to My Computer.
- Right click on the USB Drive Icon and go to Properties.
- If your Flash Drive can be a ReadyBoost, the second last tab on your Properties Window will read so. [Some old Flash Drives may not be able to handle ReadyBoost]
- Click on the ReadyBoost Tab on Property Window
- Select "Use this device"
- Allocate Flash Drive space or in other words, tell your computer how much space it can use from your Flash Drive.
- Click OK
- Restart your computer and feel the difference
Please note that the space allocated for ReadyBoost on your Flash Drive cannot be used for other storage. In other words you can not save your files if you have converted the whole Flash Drive space into ReadyBoost. The trick is to use only half of your Flash drive as ReadyBoost and the other half for storing important files.