You may install a Ram disk on your Windows PC to improve performance, maintenance, and privacy on the device.

Ram disks can best be described as memory-based drives that act just like any other hard drive on the system for the most part. You can install programs on RAM disks or use it to store temporary files.

These disks offer advantages over regular hard drives: memory is faster which means that operations will benefit from that. Memory is cleared automatically on shutdown so that any files that reside on the disk are removed automatically.

Tip: check out this overview of free RAM disk programs for Windows to find out which are available. I'll be using SoftPerfekt RAM Disk which you may download from third-party sites such as Majorgeeks.

You need a bit of memory to use a RAM disk as part of the RAM that is installed on the device is used exclusively by the RAM disk.

Installing the RAM Disk

The very first thing you need to do is install the RAM disk on your PC. Download and install SoftPerfekt Ram Disk and start the program afterward.

Setup is real simple:

  1. Click on then plus icon to create a new RAM Disk.
  2. Assign RAM to the disk. You need to enter the amount in Megabytes, e.g. 4096 for 4 Gigabytes.
  3. Select a drive letter for the disk, e.g. drive z:
  4. Change the file system to NTFS.
  5. Add root folders, e.g. Temp and Firefox, in the Create Folders field.
  6. Switch to advanced, and add a drive label.
  7. Select OK to complete the creation.

The RAM disk should be listed in Explorer just like any drive. You can interact with it normally; move files to it, create files and folders, or install applications to it.

Configuring Windows for use with the RAM Disk

Now that the RAM disk is created, you may want to configure Windows to make use of the disk. One thing you may want to consider doing is moving the temporary folders to the RAM Disk so that they are cleared automatically on restart.

  1. Use Windows-Pause to open the System Control Panel applet. If you don't have a Pause-key on your keyboard, tap on the Windows-key, type Control Panel, and select the result. Go to System and Security > System.
  2. Select Advanced system settings from the sidebar when the System applet appears.
  3. Select Environment Variables in the System Properties window.
  4. Locate the variables TEMP and TMP in the user variables and system variables fields.
  5. Double-click on each entry, and replace the default value (the temporary files path) with a path pointing to the RAM Disk, e.g. z:\temp

Configuring third-party programs for use with a RAM Disk

You may configure third-party programs to use the RAM disk as well if third-party programs let you move the cache directory.

You can check out this guide on moving the Firefox cache to a RAM disk, and may do the same for other applications that support setting custom directories.

While moving caching directories to the RAM disk is probably the number one purpose for using memory-based disks, it is useful in other ways as well. Here are three:

  1. You may move directories that process data to the RAM disk. If you convert video files, audio files or render something, you may want to consider moving the processing to the RAM disk to speed up the process.
  2. Want to test a program? Install it or put it on the RAM disk to do so. Installing leaves some traces of the file on the system, e.g. in installed programs, but the program itself is gone on the next reboot.
  3. Put games and other applications that benefit from faster loading times on the disk. Some RAM disks support the storing of permanent files on the disk which you need when you want to play games from the disk. Note that many games are quite large and that you need lots of RAM to move them in their entirety to the disk.

Closing Words

Creating and using a RAM disk is a simple process. While you need to install and configure the disk once, it runs automatically after the initial setup.