How To Make a Windows XP RAM Disk Drive (for free)

Need to make Windows think part of your memory is a hard drive? Try making a RAMDrive (or RAM Disk some people call it). This will dedicate a section of your computer’s memory to the temporary storage of folders and files. Why would you want to do such a thing? Accessing time for files on a RAM Drive are about 1,000 times quicker than a conventional drive. Also, if you have a situation where you’re access the same files over and over again, a ram disk will help reduce wear and tear on your real hard drive. Of course the down side of all this is that files on a RAM Drive are gone when the computer is shut down (or crashes).
I use a RAM Drive on my “Jason’s Fishcam” system. One of my webcams is behind a proxy/firewall that I don’t control. I order to get images from that camera, I FTP the image files to a server sitting outside the firewall and restream them from there. Since I didn’t want my hard drive continuously writing and overwriting the same file, I save the image file onto the RAM Drive. Not only does this let my save the image over and over again without the hard drive, but it allows me to do it quite a bit faster as well.
There are some software packages out there that will configure a RAM Disk Drive automatically. If you need more bells and whistles, check those out. This method is free and allows a RAM Disk of up to 32MB.

1. Download ramdisk.inf and ramdisk.sys file and save them in the same folder (somewhere convenient).
2. Go to the Control Panel and click Add Hardware
3. Click Next and wait for the search to complete.
4. Choose “Yes, I have already connected the hardware” and click Next
5. Scroll to the very bottom and highlight “Add a new hardware device” and click Next
6. Choose “Install the hardware that I manually select from a list” and click Next
7. Wait for the search to complete and click Next
8. Highlight “Show All Devices” and click Next (warning: this part may take a few minutes)
9. Click Have Disk… (Important! Be sure not to click on anything else or scroll through the lists before you click Have Disk. Doing so will screw up this process.)
10. Click Browse and locate the folder you saved the ramdisk.inf file in, select ramdisk.inf and click Open
11. Click OK, then Next and Next again.
12. Click Continue Anyway if a warning pops up and then Finish
Now for the fun part!
13. Under the Start menu, click Run, type in regedit and click OK
14. Open the following: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Ramdisk\Parameters
To set the size of the Ram Disk Drive, right click on DiskSize and choose Modify. Type in the new size under Value data. The maximum is 3,200,000 (in hexadecimal) which equals 32MB
15. If you need to, modify the DriveLetter enrty too. (the default is “Z”)
16. Now navigate to:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\Fastfat
change the value of Start from 4 to 1
17. Exit the Registry Editor and Reboot

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One Response to How To Make a Windows XP RAM Disk Drive (for free)

  1. Just a guy says:

    I've missed this function and have looked for it off and on for years. On the PowerMac I used to do graphics with under OS 8 I had a 40MB RAM disk that was my Photoshop Cache. Let me tell you, when you "undo" from RAM it's FAST!! It's also a cool place to direct cookies and stuff for casual web browsing because it autoclears when you reboot.

    Thanks Jason!