Computer memory has become cheaper in recent time and it is not that rare anymore that home PCs have 16 Gigabyte or even more Gigabytes of RAM installed.
That's a lot of Ram which may be put to good use depending on what you do on the PC. If you do real-time editing for example, you may benefit from the amount of RAM, but if you only do light Office work, you may not.
A RamDisk takes some of the memory of the computer and makes it available as a virtual hard drive. You can install programs on it, move temporary file locations to the RamDisk or run other operations on it to speed them up. Some programs benefit a lot if they are loaded from a virtual disk; startup may be way faster, and certain operations may also be quicker thanks to the faster performance of the RAM compared to that of hard drives.
Most RamDisk programs are static when it comes to size. You set up a new RamDisk by selecting the Megabytes or Gigabytes that you want it to use, and that is about that. The Ram used is then limited to use in the RamDisk and not available for other operations.
ImDisk Toolkit changes that. The free Open Source tool provides you with options to allocate memory dynamically instead.
What this means is that it will only use about as much memory as the RamDisk requires in any given state, regardless of the actual size limit that you have specified during creation.
So, a 1 Gigabyte RamDisk may only use 10 Megabyte of system memory if only that space is currently occupied on the RamDisk.
Note: ImDisk requires the Microsoft .Net Framework 4.0.
Setup of the RamDisk is easy. Once you have installed ImDisk on your computer, you start the RamDisk configuration wizard from the start menu.
Here you select the total size of the disk in Kilobyte, Megabyte or Gigabyte, and other parameters such as the drive letter that you want it to use, or the file system.
If you check the "Allocate Memory Dynamically" option, memory will be allocated dynamically based on use. A click on ok creates the RamDisk.
You can monitor Ram usages using the Windows Task Manager for example. While basic, it will highlight that Ram usage goes up when you move data into the dynamic Ram disk, and down again when it gets deleted or moved out.
One interesting option that ImDisk makes available is the option to save the contents of the RamDisk to your hard drive or another connected storage location.
Since data in Ram is only available for as long as the computer is running, it is no longer available after you reboot it. Saving an image of the RamDisk to the PC ensures that you can load it up again in future sessions.
If you want to use a RamDisk on your system but do not like the idea of reserving the memory that you assign to it all the time, you may find the dynamic memory allocation option useful that ImDisk ships with.
The program is more versatile than that though. It can also mount lots of image file formats, including iso, bin, vhd, vdi, dmg, dsi and raw formats.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.