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Besides switching to Windows 64bit (or Linux 64bit) what is the best strategy to make the most of my 1GB PAE ramdisk (on a Laptop with a slow harddrive)?

Here http://windows7themes.net/how-to-use-4gb-ram-in-windows-7-32bit.html I learned how I can enable a PAE ramdisk on my 4GB system so that I can make some use of the 4th gigabyte (shame on Microsoft for disabling this in win32 for licensing reasons).

I see these options:

  • Pagefile on ramdisk (current status, works fine so far),
  • Readyboost on ramdisk (not tried yet),
  • Temp files on ramdisk (currently firefox temps, system temps are said to cause installation trouble)

edit 2012-02-16: from the tips below the best solution seems to be:

  • Pagefile on ramdisk
  • Temp files on ramdisk that are not necessary for installation (firefox temp)
  • flush ramdisk on shutdown (see registry tip below)
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Shame on Microsoft? It's a physical hardware limitation - the same problem would occur with 32 bit Linux or any other OS. Why don't you just install Windows 7 x64? –  nhinkle Feb 4 '12 at 22:51
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I'm surprised none of the answers talk about how absurd is the idea of a pagefile on a RAM disk. Oh the tips on the Internet these days. –  surfasb Feb 5 '12 at 3:04
    
Yes, shame on Mircosoft. And they did a good job making you believe in the hardware limitation fairy tale. Read up here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3_GB_barrier#Physical_address_limits it is only about licensing, nothing else –  kermit Feb 16 '12 at 17:44
    
why would the idea be absurd? do you have a better suggestion for use of 1GB RAM that is otherwise not usable? From my subjective experience my system seems faster. –  kermit Feb 16 '12 at 17:46
    
@phelix - Your claims are ridiculous honestly. Linux, OS X, and Windows all have the same 32 operating system memory limits. Windows Server ( doesn't mention what version ) is an entirely different beast. Easier just to install a 64-bit version of the operating system not like you don't have a license for it. –  Ramhound Apr 25 '12 at 16:43

3 Answers 3

You can set the temp folder to point to the ramdisk. A lot of applications use the temp folder.

Control Panel -> System -> Advanced -> Environment Variables

Putting your application data folder in memory yields pretty good improvement but it's the most risky thing to do. I personally haven't done it because I thought that some services may start using it before the ramdisk driver is loaded. But here are instructions how to do so.

Lastly, what I've been doing, is moving the web browser's files from appdata to the ramdisk. Go to your web browser's preferences and set location of history, cookies, cache, and everything else to the ramdisk. It makes the browsing faster and it works out because I spend most of the time on the internet.

Be sure to enable saving the ramdisk contents to HDD on system shutdown, and reloading it back up on startup to perserve your changes.

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note: temp folder on ramdisk is said to cause installation troubles... I still want the system to be stable and comfortable –  kermit Feb 20 '12 at 8:13

You can use Process monitor from Microsoft to analyze the read patterns of your application. If you have problems to offload the application you can use the link etxension to create a soft link. For example I put some meshes and textures of Skyrim to my ramdisk. In Linux I use a ramdisk for VMware and it temps file. Yet I didn't tried it in Windows. Beyond this I don't have any serious needs for a ramdisk.

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After you make the ramdisk, set the page file on it to be system managed or custom to use up most of the ramdisk. And then clear the pagefile at shutdown. Google the registry tweak for it. Reason is so that Windows doesn't look for a pagefile that doesn't exist because it looks for the pagefile before the ramdisk is initialized. Since the pagefile resides on the ramdisk, it doesn't exist and a temp pagefile is created as a result and no bonus speed after that. This greatly improved my system.

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this is a very good hint, thank you!! support.microsoft.com/kb/314834 –  kermit Feb 16 '12 at 17:51

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