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Microsoft's XP RAM Disk Driver

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  • Grumpy

    I'm trying to use Microsoft's XP RAM disk driver, but Microsoft doesn't appear to have documented it in XP's help, Knowledge base, or TechNet.  So you didn't know Microsoft supplied a RAM disk driver with XP?  Go to Control Panel, Add Hardware:

    1) click next
    2) select "Yes", click next
    3) scroll to the bottom, select "Add a new hardware device", click next
    4) select "Install the hardware from list", click next
    5) select "Show all devices", click next
    6) scroll down the "Manufacturer" list and select "Microsoft"
    7) scroll down the "Model" list and select "Microsoft Ram Disk Controller"
    8) click next and it should install

    I'm assuming that you also need to install the "Microsoft Ram Disk Device (volume)" after you install the controller.  This probably lets you have multiple RAM disks, but this is just a theory.  I'm surprised that Microsoft doesn't bother to document their own driver that ship with their OS.  After I installed both of these devices, nothing shows up in the Control Panel or on the property pages for the devices in Device Manager.  So I'm not sure how to configure what drive letter I wish to use or the size of the RAM disk.

    Does anyone out there know about these devices, how they are configured and any limitations?  Please don't tell me to use this or that third party RAM disk application.  I'm specifically interested in find out information about Microsoft's device driver.

    Hey Microsoft, if you are listening, how about a KB or HowTo article on this one.  You could also put this on one of your Administrator certification tests and probably stump everyone taking it...

    Grumpy.

  • Manip2

    Do some searches for RAM Disks for Windows 2000. Because it has been around a while a lot of the best tutorials/information was writen for Windows 2K and that is what everyone uses.

  • fooby

    I googled a sec and found this http://www.arsoft-online.de/products/product.php?id=1 AR RAM Disk "The AR RAM Disk is a freeware driver for Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP. You can use this driver to create an additional drive in the physical memory of your machine. This drive can be used for storing temporary files, which can increase your system performance." Looks like it should do the trick

  • Manip2

    Can you imagine storing the entire OS on such a drive Big Smile

    I mean you could have Linux boot up, create the partition and then load XP .. XP would run super-speed, maybe 200% normal.

  • Tom Servo

    I want a solid-state disk as boot drive! Smiley

  • Manip2

    If you did, you could move your prefetch onto it and then your system would load super-fast.

  • lwmaus

    Several weeks ago I 'stumbled' across the 'Windows Ram Disk Contoller' and 'Windows Ram Disk Device (volume)'. I had just installed XP SP2 (on XP Pro) and was curious if somehow the Ram Disk was part of the SP2 transmittal as I had never 'noticed' them before.

    I then Googled the quoted items and found your post here on Channel9.

    I add my voice to question why a description of this capability doesnt appear (easily or otherwise) in the massive Microsoft literature. Can anybody out there shed any light on these two drivers and how to configure them for use by applications ?

    I have used some of the freeware/shareware ramdisks 'floating' around the internet but am loathe to 'trust' them much.

    Larry Martin

  • Kedavix

    I found these two sources that provide useful information on how to configure the sample Windows RAMDisk driver. Try the first link first because it seems the most simple instructions:

    http://www.picobay.com/projects/2006/06/how-to-make-windows-xp-ram-disk-drive.html

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/257405


  • AndyC

    The RAM disk is intended for special case scenarios (embedded devices, WinPE) when writeable disk is needed but difficult / expensive to provide.

    It's not going to improve your system performance. If anything it will degrade it as it is nowhere near as efficient as the Windows cache manager.

  • Sven Groot

    Wow, a three year old thread revived. I think that may be a record for C9. Tongue Out

  • pcgeek86
  • megsuma

    Sven Groot said:
    Wow, a three year old thread revived. I think that may be a record for C9. Tongue Out
    Actually, let us necrobump this again! Thats another year of dead thread coming back - I recently read an article on Hack A Day about installing a ramdisk to speed up a co-worker's browsing (in OSX) and decided to look into it for XP and this is where I ended up.  Thanks for the info, be it a little old, hopefully it will provide me with a fun little foray into ram disks in the XPs.

  • zxcasd

    megsuma said:
    Sven Groot said:
    *snip*
    Actually, let us necrobump this again! Thats another year of dead thread coming back - I recently read an article on Hack A Day about installing a ramdisk to speed up a co-worker's browsing (in OSX) and decided to look into it for XP and this is where I ended up.  Thanks for the info, be it a little old, hopefully it will provide me with a fun little foray into ram disks in the XPs.

    Another necrobump for you - I was playing with TweakXP for the first time in years to modify some obscure parameters, and ran across the RAMdisk setting, did some searching for fun as I wasn't aware that Windows had ever included a factory-supported RAMdisk, and found myself here. 

  • mrclive

    I had to necrobump this.  It was important.

  • Shining Arcanine

    AndyC said:
    The RAM disk is intended for special case scenarios (embedded devices, WinPE) when writeable disk is needed but difficult / expensive to provide.

    It's not going to improve your system performance. If anything it will degrade it as it is nowhere near as efficient as the Windows cache manager.

    It depends on how much RAM you have. If you have say 2TB of RAM, it should make things faster, although copying the file system to it and then doing redirection might be an issue.

     

    Could antivirus APIs be used in a program to detect changes to the disk while it copies things to the RAM drive? Could a junction point be used afterward to do redirection? When you want to shut down the system, could the changes be merged back into the filesystem without causing problems as it is done? These questions probably need to be answered before doing this kind of thing.

  • AndyC

    Shining Arcanine said:
    AndyC said:
    *snip*

    It depends on how much RAM you have. If you have say 2TB of RAM, it should make things faster, although copying the file system to it and then doing redirection might be an issue.

     

    Could antivirus APIs be used in a program to detect changes to the disk while it copies things to the RAM drive? Could a junction point be used afterward to do redirection? When you want to shut down the system, could the changes be merged back into the filesystem without causing problems as it is done? These questions probably need to be answered before doing this kind of thing.

    No, it won't ever be faster. All you do is remove RAM from the amount of usable memory and introduce unnecessary copying between one bit of RAM (the ramdisk) and another (the filesystem cache). This never works out quicker. Ever.

     

    The reason the ramdisk exists is to fake storage when it doesn't exist. In an embedded system, for example, the OS might be permenantly stored in a ROM, but you might need to run an application that expects to be able to write temporary files to disk. That's when you use a ramdisk. It's nothing to do with improving performance.

  • ZippyV

    Just use the InPrivate navigation.

  • teslaBytes

    Beam me up Scottie!  I'm engaging the Ram-Drive.  Here is the Scenario:

    My System: ASUS P7P55 WS Supercomputer; which comes with a nifty UNIX Style Hardware CMOS level OS that can boot, they also release the source code,  Booting to the UNIX shell is about 2 sec, and has it's code on the hardware, and a USB drive.  So here is the bridge to build:

    Load the UNIX bootstrapper

    The Unix Shell finds the Win OS Boot Strapper on the USB drive and Ramdrives it

    After modifying the sourcer code for the UNIX Shell, add a new Hyper-V Load of the Windows OS.

    Click on the Load Windows Os icon

    Windows Boot traps just like usual but from a ramdrive. (My case just 8Gb.)

    __________________

    Gets tricky here

    __________________

    To keep the Win OS alive after bootstrapping, relocate the pointer(S) to the System volume from Memory to The loaded OS, and unload all boot strappers, and update the USB device with any bootstrapping updates for future loading or quick short cut:

    Wite a device driver that replaces the System Sleep and Hybernate to copy the hybernation image to the USB drive, and then 'Wake' from USB storage.  Luke-skywalker-warm boot

     

    There are many other feaseable ideas, my current work is using the Video memory of GPU's to really load things faster, and replace much of the OS processing time by preprocessing it on GPU's and then sending the Stuff CSCI chips are made of to the CPU and just process the preprocessed streams of data from the GPU's.  (This work is a few years in the making, and about a year off)

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