How to Set Up and Use a RAM Disk in Windows

A RAM disk is a hard drive made up of your computer’s RAM. It can’t save data permanently, but it’s incredibly fast. If you want to try it out, you can create a RAM disk with free software and without a single computer upgrade. This article will walk through how you can set up and use a RAM disk on Windows 10.

Using ImDisk Toolkit

ImDisk Toolkit is an application for managing virtual drives. It also includes a utility that allows the creation of RAM drives.

1. Download ImDisk from Sourceforge.net.

2. Install the application. Be sure to include all the components during the installation.

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3. Double-click on the desktop icon labeled “RamDisk Configuration.”

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4. Adjust the disk size in the box at the top of the window. We recommend at least 4 gigabytes of storage to get a feel of how the disk works.

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5. Click “OK” at the bottom of the window. This will create your RAM disk, which is just a virtual disk that’s assigned to your computer’s RAM. The process happens transparently, so there’s nothing you need to do.

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6. If you get a warning about shutdown settings, click on the “Shutdown Settings” button.

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Then unlock the settings pane with your administrator password.

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Finally, uncheck the check box next to “Turn on fast startup (recommended),” and click “Save Changes” at the bottom of the window.

Fast Startup speeds up the process of turning on your computer by saving a system state between completely off and hibernation to your hard drive. This happens when the computer writes the contents of your RAM to a stable hard drive. As you might guess, this could mess with your RAM disk’s ability to preserve and track its data.

With Fast Startup off, boots might take slightly longer, but it’s doubtful that you’ll notice much.

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Disabling fast startup will satisfy the warning window, but let’s consider why. This will also allow ImDisk to save your RAM disk’s data to an image file when you shut down your computer. If you don’t, the contents of your RAM disk will be erased completely every time, with no saved image storage. It would also disable the RAM disk’s ability to load the previous content. Basically, the drive would act a lot more like RAM and a lot less like a disk. Depending on your use case, that might be disappointing or unusable.

6. Your RAM disk is now ready for use. You can access and use it just like any normal hard drive, except exponentially faster. And we mean exponentially. Whereas an SSD might offer 300 to 500 MB when reading from the  disk, a RAM disk can offer more than 5000 MB, even on mediocre memory sticks.

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Conclusion

The big question about RAM disks is actually “so what?” As fast as the drives are, what are they good for? You can’t boot off the drive, and you can’t save information to them permanently.

RAM disks are most popular and powerful in applications where data writing and reading is important, but data integrity is not. You might see RAM disks used as scratch disks, where programs can perform and save calculations for on-the-fly video rendering and effects playback. They could also be used in statistical modeling or any other system that would require tons of data at high speeds to be effective.

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One comment

  1. This is misleading: “you can’t save information to them permanently.”
    You can mount it as a drive (R:\) or folder mount. When finished you can save the drive as an image for later use.
    Not only can you back it up into an image but I tested d/l steam game and I got maximum downloads speeds.
    I wondered & I thought obviously there is no bottleneck like SATA so it can write instantaneously so my d/l (download’s) were quicker b/c the TCP/IP protocol works by windowing(#A1). I reached 55MB/s prior was 30MB/s & then the download finished prior to reaching maximum transmission speeds. I have gigabit internet, so this beneficial for big downloads.

    Example:
    Took only 2Min to d/l CS:GO at 55.1MB/s FOR 8.4GB on Steam!

    I was able to then save the game as an image, which I could just load back into memory. This would eliminate the need for NVMe if you have a lot of memory. Granted, this is unlikely for most, so to give you some credit it wouldn’t be beneficial if you only have 8-16GB ram while a game is 8GB or more. I have 32GB of memory as of now & I also played Berserk which is about 18GB. I made the Ram drive 20GB. When I was done I saved it as an image. Then after shutting down I turned the Ram drive on & loaded the image back w/ no issues. Game play is smooth as butter. This would be beneficial for folks who play w/ a lot of mods or games that take a while to load. Certainly, most folks can get away an SSD or NVMe but the option is there :)

    #A1
    Note:The window buffer increases every time that packet transmits successfully & then requests for more; like a bigger cup each time. More info: https://www.quora.com/What-is-windowing-in-TCP-IP

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