A RAMDrive (or RAM Drive, RAM unit) is a storage device made up of RAM memory , and it is a good way to take advantage of RAM memory modules that you have already discarded, such as old computers. In this article we are going to tell you what you should do to configure and start a RAMDrive under Windows operating system, we are going to tell you what performance it has and, of course, if it is something worth doing.
The first thing you should think about is, obviously, that RAM is volatile and therefore there is no point in using it as a storage device since what you save there will be lost the next time you turn off the computer. This is certainly the case, but it can be very useful as a cache memory, for storing temporary files or, for example, for the Windows paging file without going any further.
Configure a RAMDrive with ImDisk Toolkit
ImDisk Toolkit is an application to manage virtual drives, but it includes a utility that allows you to create RAM Drives, so this is what we are going to use to teach you how to configure your RAMDrive in Windows. Obviously, the first thing you should do is download the ImDisk Toolkit (it’s free) and install it on your system. Make sure that during the installation you select all the components.
Once installed you will have on your desktop a shortcut called “RamDisk Configuration”. Double click on it and adjust the size in the window that opens. We recommend a minimum of 4 GB, but the normal thing is that you use the total size of the RAMDrive you have (that is, if you have used 8 GB of RAM, then create it 8 GB).
Here you can also select which drive letter you want to associate with it, as well as the file system. You can also configure it to create a drive automatically every time you start the operating system, and bear in mind that you will lose all the data it contains every time you restart the computer. Click on OK when you have selected the parameters that suit you, and when doing so, a warning message about the shutdown options may appear. If so, click on the options that we mark.
In the options that appear (which you can access from Control Panel -> Power Options -> System Configuration) click on “Change the configuration currently not available”.
In our example above it does not give the option, but if you get the option to Activate and deactivate the Windows fast startup, you must deactivate it for this to work.
Quick Start in Windows speeds up the PC startup process by saving a system state between completely shutdown and hard drive hibernation. This happens when the PC writes the contents of the RAM to a hard disk or storage unit and, as you can guess, this could affect the capacity of the RAMDrive, so it should not be activated.
Also, disabling this option will allow ImDisk to save the data from RAM on a storage drive (in the same way as Windows Fast Boot does) in an image file to reload each time you boot. Of course, keep in mind that this will slow down the system shutdown a bit.
What performance does it have? Is it worth doing?
Obviously, RAM is much faster than any SSD or hard drive, including the latest generation PCIe 4.0. Here is a comparison between a SATA 3 SSD and a RAMDisk created with DDR3 memory.
As you can see the difference in performance is overwhelming. Now, is it something worthwhile? As is obvious, a RAMDrive will always have quite little capacity, so it is not that you are going to be able to use it as mass storage. However, it may have some utility as a Windows paging file because access will be almost immediate, as well as cache memory or for temporary files.
We, honestly, would tell you that it is not worth much precisely because of this low capacity, and in reality it does not provide such a notable increase in performance that it is worth complicating your life mounting and configuring it.