A RAMDisk acts as a virtual drive on your system. It allows you to create directories, copy files to and from it, etc.... However , the data is not written onto a hard disk, but remains purely stored into a particular part of the physical RAM memory. Hard disks have mechanical parts that are needed to seek to a particular position on the magnetic storage media and to read/write data. This makes them relative lazy. A RAMDisk does not need to seek , and by this , it can read and write the same data to upon 30-60 times faster than a hard disk ! However, the data stored in RAM is "volatile" i.e. it disappears when you cut off the power to the RAM memory, in other words, if you turn off your system. This applies to the content of the RAMDisk too !
A ramdisk can perfectly be used for :
- web content of web servers.
- temporary index files and tables of database servers ( MS-SQL-Server , MySQL , ...).
- temporary files ( TEMP and TMP environment variable ) and "Temporary Internet Files".
- the scratch disk for Adobe (R) Photoshop (R).
- installed programs (1)
. The startup time of programs may decrease drastically !
- audio and video playback / capture / editing. The exFAT filesystem works faster than NTFS and also supports files larger than 4 GB.
- creation and playback of slide shows.
- the printer spool folder.
- data that has to be written to CD , to prevent underrun during the burn process.
- as storage of the "ReadyBoost" cache on Vista.
- all kinds of data that may be lost ( or MUST be lost for security reasons ) at shutdown or as temporary scratch for general purpose.
- Hyper-V and VMWare virtualisation files ( .vhd
/ .vmdk ).
The software may be installed directly to the ramdisk , or an existing installation may be remapped using a "junction" ( with means of , for example , linkd.exe
) to a copy on the ramdisk. In both cases , the content of the ramdisk must reload automatically at boot time from an image file , or by means of a backup program.
These are only a few examples. There will certainly be many more tasks for which a ramdisk can be used, depending on people's "inventivity" .
Version overview :
Detailled description of the these versions can be found via RAMDisk Versions
on the left pane.
: This version can be obtained as "single user" license.
Free & Unsupported
: This version is fully free , provided with source code , but has very restricted capabilities.
The Enterprise 'Full'
is available for the 32-bit and 64-bit Windows OS versions. The maximum obtainable RAMDisk size depends on the available physical amount of RAM that the OS allows to allocate within its own addressable RAM space.
The 32 bit versions of XP , Vista and Windows 7 / 8 do not allow the RAMDisk to allocate memory above a particular 3.x GB boundery. A RAMDisk should not use this so called "unmanaged memory" above that boundery for reasons that are described here