Windows Vista includes a number of tools that you can use to pinpoint performance bottlenecks. Some of these, such as the System Health Report, the Windows Experience Index, and the Reliability Monitor, provide static snapshots showing the resources available to your system and where those resources might not be adequate to your needs. Others, such as the venerable Windows Task Manager, the new Resource Overview, and Performance Monitor (an improved version of the tool known in Windows XP as System Monitor), let you track a variety of performance metrics in real time.

In addition to these snapshot and monitoring utilities, Windows Vista incorporates the following forms of performance-enhancing technology: SuperFetch, ReadyBoost, ReadyDrive

All three of these are designed to reduce the amount of time your system spends engaged in performance degrading disk IO. SuperFetch is a memory management technology that observes your computer usage patterns over extended stretches of time (noting the programs you run and the days and times you typically run them) and adjusts caching behavior to accommodate your own particularities. ReadyBoost uses external memory devices (such as USB 2.0 flash disks) to cache disk content of all kinds, reducing the need for time consuming hard disk access. And ReadyDrive is technology that supports the use of hybrid hard disk drives drives that incorporate nonvolatile flash memory (NVRAM) as well as conventional rotating disk media. Hybrid drives are particularly useful for extending battery life on portable computers, because they reduce the need for drive spin. More »

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One of the better Windows Vista features I’ve seen is ReadyBoost. Despite contrary misinformation you will read on other sites, this does not add more memory to your system. The flash memory used is nowhere as fast as RAM, but it is sometimes faster than hard drives. Readyboost works by caching your pagefile on the drive. It does not replace the pagefile, it is just a cache. A faster than hard drive but slower than RAM cache. But this speed can make a difference, especially consider the slowness of many peoples hard drives.

How do I use it?: More »