I want to tell the operating system to stop using my hard disk and only use RAM as a cache instead.
Optimally, I want to tell Windows to:
a) pre-cache executable images and necessary bootstrap data into RAM, and b) buffer all disk writes to RAM.
Is this possible?
My laptop hard disk is loud and I want to put it to sleep when I know I don't need it (e.g., "hdparm -Y").
A typical use case would be booting Win 7 only to make a Remote Desktop Connection to a remote system, thus using the laptop only as a dumb terminal. There's no need to have the HD powered on, since everything's happening in memory, LAN etc.
I have tried basically everything to shut down disk activity when the system is idle: killed nearly all processes, used Process Monitor in advanced mode to try to find which process is responsible for performing disk activity, but not succeeded.
The closest I was able to reach my goal was with XP, when I installed a RAM overlay driver made by Microsoft and designed for Windows Embedded testing. That actually worked: all disk operations were intercepted and this prevented physical HD activity.
Unfortunately, the WinCE RAM overlay driver was very hard to use and I managed to corrupt the disk at the end because the order in which I was supposed to unload and flush things was very particular. :-(
I have now installed a RAM disk (RamDisk Plus) on my Win7 box and tried to install portable apps on it, but I don't think that even installing a user profile on the RAM disk, putting all temp files there etc. would be enough: There's some disk activity originating from the Windows kernel level, that ultimately wants to write to a physical disk thus waking up the hard drive.
There are several other use cases for this need: keeping the system cool, running the laptop with less power, prolonging the lifespan of both physical and solide-state drives, etc.