Any decent free Windows 7 RAMdisk software?

Cyrilix

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I'm looking for opinions on RAMdisk software with the following attributes:

-free
-stable
-compatible with Windows 7 64-bit

I've done a bit of googling, but haven't found anything really compelling. Do software that fit the above requirements exist, or am I simply too ahead of the times with 12 GB of RAM? Please recommend only if you've actually used the software.

Thanks.
 

Joe Average

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There was one I was using a few months ago, but for the life of me I just cannot remember the name of it currently. Tracked it down by searching Google for "windows 7 ramdisk" and reading through a lot of forum postings but I did find one. I think it was in a post at the OCZ forums, in the thread related to SSD hardware because one of the biggest performance tips for those types of drives is offloading all temp file activity to a RAMdisk.

Should be able to track down the specific RAMdisk software it was over there... was in beta at the time and free to use, not sure if that's the case now.

I'm currently trying to get SuperSpeed.com to allow me to do beta testing on their RamDisk Plus product's upgrade for Windows 7 compatibility but, they're basically stonewalling me so all I can do is wait. And to think of how many people have bought that product from my recommendations... sheesh. :D
 

Cyrilix

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There was one I was using a few months ago, but for the life of me I just cannot remember the name of it currently. Tracked it down by searching Google for "windows 7 ramdisk" and reading through a lot of forum postings but I did find one. I think it was in a post at the OCZ forums, in the thread related to SSD hardware because one of the biggest performance tips for those types of drives is offloading all temp file activity to a RAMdisk.

Should be able to track down the specific RAMdisk software it was over there... was in beta at the time and free to use, not sure if that's the case now.

I'm currently trying to get SuperSpeed.com to allow me to do beta testing on their RamDisk Plus product's upgrade for Windows 7 compatibility but, they're basically stonewalling me so all I can do is wait. And to think of how many people have bought that product from my recommendations... sheesh. :D
Hmm... SuperSpeed, yeah, I believe that one was like quite a load of cash. I can't do that. Well, if you ever remember, tell me.
 

Joe Average

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What, you can't hit the OCZ forums and search for "ramdisk windows 7" yourself?

And SuperSpeed's products are worth every penny, don't be a cheap ass... :D
 

Atech

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It's already there...it's called PreFecth, don't let the pretty graphs fool you, they don't showed chaced RAM ;)
 

Joe Average

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Superfetch still doesn't allow applications to cache their own datasets in RAM, whereas using a RAMdisk properly can, if you point the app's data folders/temp variables to the RAMdisk, and get a serious boost in performance because of it.

Also, Superfetch doesn't cache temporary data from the TEMP/TMP environment variables which are system wide; again, that's what a RAMdisk can be utilized for, with great success and massive boosts to system responsiveness.

Windows 7 is fantastic, but it ain't all that... :)
 

450

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We know about the performance increases, what I want to know is why doesn't Windows have a built-in option to create RAMdisks if they are so good?
 

Joe Average

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That lowest common denominator thing again... Windows is written with the average Joe (not me, I assure you) in mind, not everyone, so it's coded to work on the widest variety of hardware without leaning towards any particular focused usage (high perf machines). Microsoft is smart enough to know "Hey, if they want to max out performance, we need to provide a solid base OS they can rely on, after that, it's up to the end user."

Putting RAMdisk capability directly into Windows just means that many more support calls when some folks tinker with it and screw things up (which is probably 85% of the support calls in the first place).

Why add insult to injury? :D
 

450

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Good explanation Joe Average. I sometimes forget that Windows isn't just used by enthusiasts, and it has 90%+ market share.
 

Joe Average

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That's why enthusiasts always resort to more focused third party applications to get the real work done - the OS isn't supposed to do such things anyway. It's supposed to be transparent with a few goodies to get you by, not everything under the sun.

My word, imagine what the EU would try to do to Microsoft if that happened... ;)
 

OpenBook

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I thought this thread needed a definite conclusion. The answer is "yes".

There are a couple but the best (IMO) is DataRAM. It's a professional product but the free version allows you to make a 4GB RamDisk outside of a corporate environment. The version they sell is a server product.

I have used the free version and it is easy to set up! No long list of hacks to get it working. The site even says "Windows 7 supported". I have tested the x64 version and I like it. I find that FireFox starts up a lot faster once you've moved the temp files.

No time limit and not crippled. I can't see a need for more than 4GB of RamDisk right now but maybe that will change.

Download from here:
http://memory.dataram.com/products-and-services/software/ramdisk
 

OpenBook

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I had trouble with setting the FF cache in 7 x64. I used the same method in Vista with no problems. I was able to watch the files populate on the drive while surfing. One thing not mentioned by the digital life article is that FF needs two slashes to denote a slash in the path, as to not confuse with other uses of slash. Ex: "R:\\temp"

I tried one slash and two, then I typed "about:cache" and found that FF was only holding temp files in memory anyways. Not using a disk cache. Maybe this is new in FF 3.5.6 when you select "Never remember history" in the settings.
 

OpenBook

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Any portable app that can run on a thumb drive could also run 100% from the RAMDisk. This makes the program load faster and if it stores any files in it's own directory then those would operate better too. You could write some scripts that copy a program in to the RAMDrive and run it from there (isn't that what happens when you run a program anyway?) The main difference is that it would never change from the copied image unless your script copied the changes back.

Any program that has a "scratch file" like photo editing or video editing could benefit from not being on disk, if it will fit in your memory.

I heard of a nerd that copied the data directory from his WoW folder in to his RAMDrive and made a symbolic link in the original directory to fool it in to accessing the RAM version. This eliminates loading times in between maps.

Seen here:
http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=4665324965&sid=1
 
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Got all this speed, what can I put on it other than portable firefox? That isn't even any faster than standard Firefox with superfetch, IMO.
 
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By the way i am using CleanMem By PcWinTech.com

It frees up my computer memory at set intervals. I can leave my pc on forever and the performance doesn't degrade. This is the best program i ever installed :D
 

CrimsonKnight13

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By the way i am using CleanMem By PcWinTech.com

It frees up my computer memory at set intervals. I can leave my pc on forever and the performance doesn't degrade. This is the best program i ever installed :D
Thanks for providing the insight. I checked out a review of it & I'll have to try this out.

Source: http://tinyhacker.com/hacks/cleanmem/

Even though this isn't a RAM disk app, it still helps with memory management.
 
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This is a bit of a noob question. I'm trying to squeeze the max out of a laptop my company gives me - it's a Lenovo T500 with a Core2 Duo P8600, 32 bit Win7 and 4Gb RAM installed. Windows shows 2.46Gb usable.

So, 2.46 usable, fair enough 500Mb is probably taken by the graphics, some other hardware or whatever. The geoffchappell.com link says 32bit Windows is crippled to 3Gb max but why can't the Dataram RAM disk use the missing 1Gb? The docs say it can use memory above 4Gb that Windows can't address, so I would have thought the missing 1Gb would do too.

can anyone offer an explanation?

Edit: It seems SuperSpeed can do it if you pay them: http://www.superspeed.com/desktop/ramdisk.php, and finally here's a free one http://www.romexsoftware.com/en-us/vsuite-ramdisk/index.html.
 
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bigdogchris

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Datarams ramdisk used to be free .... used to be ....

Another option is to go into the BIOS and lower the memory being used by the GPU. 64MB is enough with some breathing room if your just browsing the web and using AERO theme. This is what I would do.

I'm not really seeing how a ramdisk is going to help your situation anyways.
 
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Datarams RAM disk still is free, up to 4Gb. Above that you have to pay. On PCs with 4GB RAM running 32bit Win7 there's a memory 'hole' at least between 3.2GB and 4GB, usually referred to as 'OS Invisible physical memory', that's unused by Windows. This would be ideal for temporary files while compiling.

VSuite Ramdisk shows that there is 1468MB of such memory now I've changed the machine's BIOS to use the hardware graphics, not shared RAM. Unfortunately VSuite is only a trial version for Win7 and BSODs with any attempt to use this hidden memory. I've uninstalled that and got SuperSpeed's RamDisk v11.1.301.0 installed and it appears to use this lost memory with no problems. I have, after one BSOD and a reconfiguration of the disk, a 950Mb RAM disk that appears not to have been taken from Windows controlled memory. Now if only it were free and I could use it on a corporate laptop without hours of bureaucracy for the $60 license.
 
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bigdogchris

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Toms just put up an article about 32 bit windows and using a ramdisk to gain access to the lost memory ... what timing huh? They recommend Gavotte ram disk. I read elsewhere it's free and there's no size limitations.

Also talks about large amounts of memory and disabling the page file, etc. Basically they said don't disable the page file unless you have 12GB of ram.
 
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Xefier

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To repeat an earlier post, does anyone have any suggestions of what we could use a RAMDisk for to increase performance in Win 7 x64 or reduce wear on our HDs?

So far I see use for pointing temp folders to the RAMDisk, such as:
- Firefox temporary files
- Photoshop temporary files
- BitTorrent downloads
 

bigdogchris

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To repeat an earlier post, does anyone have any suggestions of what we could use a RAMDisk for to increase performance in Win 7 x64 or reduce wear on our HDs?

So far I see use for pointing temp folders to the RAMDisk, such as:
- Firefox temporary files
- Photoshop temporary files
- BitTorrent downloads
Your Windows .temp and .tmp directory on a ramdisk has been shown to really increase performance. Also the page file.

I actually might bight on the 8-12GB ram idea and throwing the PF and temp directory on it for my next build.
 

Xefier

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Your Windows .temp and .tmp directory on a ramdisk has been shown to really increase performance. Also the page file.

I actually might bight on the 8-12GB ram idea and throwing the PF and temp directory on it for my next build.
How would one have Windows point its .temp and .tmp directories/files to a RAMDisk? Wouldn't windows need to be installed on the RAMDisk, which obviously doesn't seem feasible.

I have 12GB of RAM in my build so I disabled my PF with no errors yet (no need for swap if my apps / windows doesn't need to write to virtual space).
 

bigdogchris

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How would one have Windows point its .temp and .tmp directories/files to a RAMDisk? Wouldn't windows need to be installed on the RAMDisk, which obviously doesn't seem feasible.

I have 12GB of RAM in my build so I disabled my PF with no errors yet (no need for swap if my apps / windows doesn't need to write to virtual space).
On Vista/7, type in "View Advanced System Settings", then go into environmental variables setting. Delete the two existing entries and add your own for those two extensions.
 

bigdogchris

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I'm not able to get gavotte working on my system. I just get a 'failed' error when clicking Install Ramdisk.

Win 7 Pro x64
 

Joe Average

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Interesting product, that Gavotte thing. Haven't tested it but, for me there's no reason to since RamDisk Plus already does that for x86 Windows and can access that > 3GB RAM already. But neat thing to see, I suppose.

bigdogchris:

You're running Windows 7 x64, why would you be using that software at all since you have access to all the RAM already?

If you are just looking for a RAMdisk for x64, the Dataram one is what I'd recommend, it's solid, dependable, and it's free for RAMdisks up to 4GB in size. Only thing I dislike about it is not being able to choose the drive letter manually; it defaults to the first "logical" drive letter - I always use R: for my RAMdisks.

But, for a free product, it works great and the driver they use is tuned fairly well - it provides nearly the same bandwidth that the RamDisk Plus one does. If you're really interested in seeing RAMdisk performance, CrystalDiskMark is the best "drive" benchmark for that purpose (in my opinion, of course). The one in AIDA64 is quite useful as well since it tests even more block sizes.
 

bigdogchris

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Because I'm eventually looking at building a system with around 16GB of ram. Since it's on an SSD, I want to move the page file and system temp files over to a 4-8GB ram disk.
 
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