The following guide provides you with an overview of the best free RAM Disk programs for devices running Microsoft's Windows operating system.
A RAM Disk, also called RAM Drive or RAMDisk, works in many regards just like a hard drive. The core difference is that it is a virtual hard drive that uses RAM for storage. With it come notable differences born out of that: a RAM Disk is faster than hard drives, and the storage space that it offers is only available during the session unless the software supports the saving and loading of disk images.
These traits make RAM Disks ideal for a lot of purposes. You may use it as fast, temporary storage for temporary data. Move the browser cache to the RAM Disk, and never have to worry again about it filling up valuable disk space (as it is only available during that session).
You may even install applications or games on the RAM Disk to benefit from faster loading times and less performance related issues while playing those games or using those apps. Another option is to move files that you want to process to the RAM Disk to speed that up.
The best free RAM Disk programs for Windows
Requirements are simple: the programs must be offered as a free version, and they must be compatible with at least Windows 7 or newer versions of Windows.
AMD Radeon RAMDisk is not limited to devices equipped with AMD Radeon hardware. Anyone can download and install the program, and use it to create a single RAM Disk with up to 4 Gigabytes of space. The limit is raised to 6 Gigabyte on systems with AMD Radeon Memory.
The program is compatible with all versions of Windows starting with Windows Vista, and supports the saving and loading of the RAM image on start or shut down for persistent storage.
The program is created by DataRAM, a company known for its RAM Disk products. The program displays an ad for the commercial versions of AMD Radeon RAMDisk on start.
Check out our full review of AMD Radeon RAMDisk here.
The resembles to AMD Radeon RAMDisk is obvious. It is more limited than AMD's version, as you may only create RAM disks up to a size of 1023 Megabytes using it.
Changes may be saved on shutdown, and you may select to load the saved image on start. The program lacks features that AMD's version offers, such as selecting a drive letter for the disk.
Check out our review of Dataram RAMDisk Software here.
Gavotte RAMDisk supports the creation of a single RAMDisk on Windows machines -- XP or newer as well as Server 2003 and 2008 -- with no size limitation. The interface is basic but functional. Install and remove the RAM Disk, configure its size, drive letter and media type, and use the load or save image buttons for persistent storage.
The program has not been updated in a while though, and does not support Windows 8 or Windows 10 officially.
One of the interesting features of ImDisk is that you may use it to create dynamic RAM Disks. Instead of specifying a size during setup, you may check the "allocate memory dynamically" option to have it changed on the fly.
The program does not limit the size of the RAM Disk, and you may use it to create multiple disks. It supports the loading and saving of images for persistent storage options.
ImDisk Toolkit offers more than just the creation of a RAM Disk. You may use the program to mount image files as well.
Designed primarily to mount virtual disk images, OSFMount comes with capabilities to create RAM Disks as well.
Actually, it offers two options here. First, you may load a disk image file in RAM, or create an empty RAM drive instead.
OSFMount supports the creation of multiple RAM drives, and does not limit the size of them. You may select drive letters during setup as well, and may set them to read-only. Data can be saved to image files so that you can load it in the future again.
Softperfect RAM Disk is no longer available on the Softperfect website. You may still download it from portals such as Major Geeks though.
The program ticks all the right boxes. It does not limit the RAM that you may use to create RAM disks, and you may create as many as you have free drive letters for.
It supports the saving of images so that data persists across sessions, a lot of command line switches, file system selection for each RAM disk, and an option to launch programs when RAM disks load.
StarWind requires you to create an account on the website before the download link of the company's RAM Disk software is sent to the email account you used to register the account.
The program may be used to create multiple RAM Disks that are not size limited. It offers basic functionality besides that however: you cannot assign drive letters to disks, and there is no option to save and load disk images as well.
RAM Disk comparison
|Name||Max Size||# of disks||Compatibility||Load/Save||Other|
|AMD Radeon RAMDISK||4GB (6GB*)||1||Vista+||yes||created by Dataram|
|Gavotte RAMDisk||limited by RAM||1||Windows XP+||yes|
|ImDisk Toolkit||limited by RAM||limited by drive letters||Windows XP+||yes||dynamic RAM Disk, requires Microsoft .NET|
|OSFMount||limited by RAM||limited by drive letters||Windows XP+||yes||load disk image to RAM, extend size|
|Softperfect RAM Disk||limited by RAM||limited by drive letters||Windows XP+||yes||select file system, launch programs on load, wipe on unmount, command line switches, abandoned|
|StarWind RAM Disk||limited by RAM||limited by drive letters||Windows XP+||no||registration before download|
* 6GB with AMD Radeon Memory
Other RAM Disk programs
The following programs are not listed in the main section above for one reason or the other. They may still prove useful to you in some situations:
- Bond Disk -- The program supports a maximum size of 640 Megabyte. The main purpose of the program is however not the creation of a RAMdisk, but storage for files that hold valuable information. Additionally, it has last been updated in 2010. Read our review of Bond Disk here.
- Gizmo Drive -- Gizmo drive is part of Gizmo Central, and cannot be downloaded separately. The program's main purpose is the mounting of disk images or encrypted hard drive images. One of the features that it supports however is the creation of RAM drives. You may use it to create multiple RAMDisks that are not limited in size. Program has not been updated since 2011.
- VSuite Ramdisk Free Edition -- Last updated in 2010, the program is only available as a 32-bit version. It supports a size of up to 4 Gigabytes, and multiple RAMDisks. Also, supports the saving and loading of data on system boot and shut down.
The overview and description of each program is certainly helpful in determining the best suitable program for your use cases. I suggest you check out Raymond's RAM Disk Software benchmark to find out how many of these programs perform.
If you want to know more about RAM Disks in general, check out the Wikipedia article on RAM drives.
On a personal note, I have used SoftPerfect RAM Disk for the past years (the latest free version), and cannot be happier with it. It offers great functionality, and the downside that it is no longer maintained does not bother me as it works fine and without issues.
Now You: Do you use a RAM Disk on your system?