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EDIT :
I'm now using Windows 8 x64 Enterprise and the speed difference on the same hardware and the same dataset is amazing. Whatever the team has done to improve the caching algorithms, they did something VERY right! :-)


Edit: This question didn't help. How can I keep a file in Windows 7's cache?

I am looking for a way to speed up access to certain directories and files that I access often.

I am using a workstation running Win7x64 Ultimate with a relatively slow HDD. However, I have 24GB of RAM. I want a product that I can tell to keep, for example, "c:\stuff" (the entire tree), "d:\morestuff\bigfile.big", "e:\even\more*.stuff" in memory so that Windows reads and writes to those files in memory, and then the product writes those files to the hard drive in it's own time.

My preference would be:

  1. Open Source
  2. Free
  3. Free, with limited features, e.g. only 8GB of cache allowed
  4. Beta
  5. Free, with a time limit
  6. Proprietary

Edit 2: I had a look at using hardlinks and a RAM drive (FancyCache,) but I want the product to be write the data to the HDD in an asynchronous manner. Not data to something like and image file of the RAM drive, but the actual directories and files on the HDD.

Thanks a bunch!

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Windows associates file caches with file handles, not file names. So, when it has to choose between flushing file handle 17 and 86, it doesn't know which of the two is a file inside c:\stuff\*. –  MSalters Mar 15 '13 at 12:38
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4 Answers

I recently used "Dataram RAMDisk" with success http://memory.dataram.com/products-and-services/software/ramdisk . It has a freeware edition.

This site lists some alternatives: http://alternativeto.net/software/dataram-ramdisk/?platform=windows , where I see one of them is open source. Havent tried any others than RAMDisk though.

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Hi @Allanrbo. Please have a look at my edits, a straight RAM drive isn't really what I'm looking for. –  AndrewJacksonZA Mar 20 '12 at 8:04
    
Did you see that "RAMDisk" has the feature "Save and load features allow RAMDisk to appear as persistent storage, even through reboots."? Havent tried that feature myself though, so don't know if it works as transparently as you're hoping. Don't know of any other utilities to do this, sorry. –  Allanrbo Mar 20 '12 at 10:03
    
Yes @Allanrbo I did see that. It saves the data to a .img file though, not back to the HDD. –  AndrewJacksonZA Mar 20 '12 at 10:21
    
When you designate that you want control of what is in it, ramdisk is the only way. block caches like supercache and fancyCache can hold the data longer , and in larger size and provide limited control based on which disk and all. You are demonstrating you know all the stuff that is out there, none of it is seamless and fully controllable and perfected already. Seems like they need more time, and more people testing it. Even MS own caches were not able to be 100% problem free when using all the ram. Add Imdisk to the list too. –  Psycogeek Mar 20 '12 at 11:00
    
I don't agree with you that there is no solution. I'm not ready to throw up my hands and admit defeat :-) –  AndrewJacksonZA Mar 20 '12 at 15:08
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Saw this on the front page and I don't know if you still need this, but one option could be use Sandboxie and have it's backing store on RAMDisk. You would need to manually flush the cache out to your persistent storage.

I don't know if it would give you better or worse performance, but it is something to try.

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Although I have not played with it, Microsoft's Sysinternals CacheSet may be a solution for you. CacheSet is an applet that allows you to manipulate the working-set parameters of the system file cache. You could play with the settings and increase Windows file system cache settings.

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Thanks @keltari I"ve played with it already and it didn't help. –  AndrewJacksonZA Feb 7 '13 at 7:55
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up vote 0 down vote accepted

I'm now using Windows 8 x64 Enterprise and the speed difference on the same hardware and the same dataset is amazing. Whatever the team has done to improve the caching algorithms, they did something VERY right! :-)

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