Use a Ramdisk to speed up Applications - gHacks Tech News

Use a Ramdisk to speed up Applications

Many modern computers have one, two or even more gigabytes of ram installed that can be put to good use by the system and applications running on it, but also by something that is called a Ramdisk. A Ramdisk is like a hard drive but instead of using physical space, it uses memory.

A Ramdisk can be used like every other hard drive: you can copy applications and files to it and start them from there if the program allows that. It is for instance possible to move portable applications like Firefox, Thunderbird or Audacity to the Ramdisk. Why you would want to do that? Ram is faster than hard drives, so that programs will start up faster and run better as well. Plus, when you restart your PC, the information is gone and there is no trace on it that files or programs were executed on it.

Ramdisks are also ideal for storing temporary data; you can set the Windows temp folder location there for instance or the browser's web cache. All that data is removed automatically when you restart the computer, so that you don't have to do so manually anymore.

Tip: check out these Ramdisk software reviews as well:

AR Ramdisk

One convenient way to setup a Ramdisk is to use the software AR Ramdisk which is easy to setup and work with. Just install AR Ramdisk and start configuring the settings afterwards. Assign a drive letter to the Ramdisk and choose a size for it. I would not suggest to select more than a quarter of your Ram but you can experiment with the settings if you like. Leave all other settings as they are, and restart your computer afterwards. You should see a new drive letter after the restart, now copy files or applications to the Ramdisk and start them from there.

You will see a noticeable speed increase when running applications from the Ramdisk. A good website to get some portable applications is the portable apps website which has downloads for programs like Firefox, Thunderbird and many others.

It is also possible to use the Ramdisk for temp files of Windows. To do that you need to move the Temp directory from the default location to the Ramdisk. To change the default location go to Control Panel -> System -> Advanced -> Environment Variables and change the Windows temp dir to the Ramdisk.


It should be noted that all data that is stored on the Ramdisk will be lost if you restart the computer. Remember that the files reside in system Ram. This is great for temp files which means that you do not have to delete the temp files by yourself. It can also be used to set the disk cache of Firefox to the Ramdisk which would mean that it would be automatically cleared during shutdown.

Update: The program appears to be incompatible with newer versions of Windows or 64-bit versions of Windows. I tried installing it on a 64-bit copy of Windows 7 and it refused to install on that system. Use the Dataram Ramdisk instead in this case which offers a similar feature set.

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    1. kp said on April 18, 2007 at 11:24 pm

      very nice indeed
      2 questions however …
      1. how do u uninstall it later on
      2. could u elaborate more on how exactly to use ramdisk for the windows temp directory

    2. ngadutrafik said on April 19, 2007 at 6:31 am

      It reminds me to an oldies way on my Win 3.1.1 pc.

    3. Martin said on April 19, 2007 at 7:50 am

      1. kp you run the setup again and have the option to change the settings or uninstall the ramdisk.
      2. what do you need to know exactly ?

    4. gnome said on April 19, 2007 at 11:35 am

      A RAMdisk! Wow, haven’t used them since the days of the Amiga. Fantastic.

    5. greg said on November 3, 2007 at 5:13 am

      Can anyone please give a step by step on how to change Firefox Cookie and Temp Location to my desired location on a RamDisk from C:\ to R:\ ?


    6. Stuee said on March 2, 2008 at 4:32 pm

      All the above is true, however, users should be aware that moving the Windows temp folder to ramdisk can be problematic: Some software installers use the temp folder to store files that can only be installed after a reboot, and as the ramdisk is wiped during a reboot these files would then not be available and your install will fail.

      Just a word of warning :-)

    7. John Phoenix said on May 13, 2009 at 2:26 am

      Much of this information is old and out of date. If you want a ramdisk to be able to save your data at shutdown so you wont lose it, there are many good choices out there like ramdisk plus 9, from SuperSpeed a commercial product or Gavotte Ramdisk is FREE and can be found here:

      These are just two examples. Search Google and you will find many more paid and free ramdisk tools.

      Windows has a limitation that will not let you use more than 3 to 3.25 gigs of ram. If you have 4 gigs of ram or higher, both of these have the ability to use that 1 gig of ram windows xp 32 OS cannot see.. This is the way to over come that limitation.

      You can then use the previously unused ram for your ramdisk and still keep all of the ram for windows you had to start with.

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