A ramdisk is a disk created by using a portion of your system RAM (random access memory). The benefit of using a ramdisk is that it is much faster in performance than a regular hard disk. Consequently, it can be used for programs that require fast data processing like computer games, program compilers, graphics work etc. The free software Dataram RAMDisk allows you to create a ramdisk easily through a graphical user interface.
The Dataram RAMDisk is available to be downloaded in form of a setup installer. It is designed using Microsoft .NET framework version 4.0, so you must install .NET 4.0 redistributable on your system before you can use it. After the installation, you can launch the Dataram RamDisk Configuration Utility from the Start Menu or from the Search Charm.
Under the settings, you can choose the size of the ramdisk and set the partition type. The maximum size of the ramdisk can be 512 megabytes less than your RAM size. For example, if you have 2GB RAM, then the maximum size of ramdisk that you can create is around 1536 MB. You can choose the partition to be either FAT, FAT32 or create an unpartitioned ramdisk (you have to format it using Windows format utility). You can also choose the boot sector of the ramdisk but this feature is not used for the normal disk use. After selecting the disk size and partition type, you can click on the Start RAMDisk button to start the ramdisk. You may see a warning from the Windows about installation of a driver. This driver is necessary for the ramdisk to work.
The newly created ramdisk would appear in your computer just like another hard disk partition. You can copy files to it or use for special purpose like saving graphics work when working with Adobe products. This ramdisk is faster than any other of your hard disks. Programs run from this ramdisk are very quick in response and file reading/writing is done in a fraction of second. If you want to stop using the ramdisk, then you can click on the Stop RAMDisk button in the RamDisk Configuration Utility.
However, this ramdisk is volatile just like other contents in your system RAM – the contents get destroyed as soon as you shut down Windows. To work around this problem, Dataram RAMDisk gives you options to save the contents of the ramdisk when Windows logs off and load the saved contents as you sign-on to Windows. You can set these options in Load/Save section of the Dataram RAMDisk Configuration Utility.
The Load/Save section also allows you to set a label to the ramdisk. You can set an auto-save interval after which the contents are automatically saved to a file. The minimum time for auto-saving is 300 seconds (5 minutes). If you create a large ramdisk, then you should not enable the auto-save feature as it would be writing a large amount of data over and over again to your hard disk.
The free edition of Dararam RAMDisk supports creation of ramdisk of maximum size upto 4 gigabytes. If you want to create a ramdisk larger than 4 gigabytes, then you can buy the license from Dataram which removes the size limit and advertisements shown in the Dararam RAMDisk window.
You can download Dararam RAMDisk from http://memory.dataram.com/.