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How to Create a Super Fast Virtual Drive with Super Ramdisk Plus 11



How to Use a RAM Disk to Boost Your PC Performance




If you've ever wished that you could emulate the performance of a solid-state drive without installing a new piece of hardware, consider creating a new virtual hard drive on your PC that runs purely from RAM, also known as a RAM disk. Setting one up is a little tricky, but the performance benefits (if your system has enough RAM) are worth the effort. This article will walk you through how you can set up and use a RAM disk on Windows 10 or Windows 11.




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What is a RAM disk and how does it work?




A RAM disk is a virtual storage drive that you can create in Windows with 3rd-party software. Basically, you're telling your PC to reserve a portion of your RAM (eg, your DDR4 memory) as storage space so you can read/write to it like you would an HDD or SSD. A single stick of RAM operating at 2666 MT/s (megatransfers per second) is the equivalent of 21,328 MB/s (megabytes per second) or 21.328 GB/s. In comparison, the fastest available consumer SSDs, like the Sabrent Rocket, have a max transfer rate of 5,000MB/s. So, if you need a lightning-fast virtual drive for whatever reason, a RAM disk would be the way to go. You would see near-instant file read and write times.


Why would you want to use a RAM disk?




A RAM disk can be useful for various purposes, such as:


  • Speeding up applications that require frequent access to temporary files or cache data, such as web browsers, video editors, photo editors, compilers, etc.



  • Reducing the wear and tear of your physical storage devices by minimizing the number of write operations.



  • Enhancing your privacy and security by storing sensitive data in volatile memory that gets erased when you power off your PC.



  • Improving your gaming experience by loading games faster and reducing stuttering or loading screens.



What are the benefits and drawbacks of using a RAM disk?




As with any technology, there are pros and cons to using a RAM disk. Here are some of them:


Benefits




  • A RAM disk is much faster than any other type of storage device, even an SSD or an NVMe drive. It can boost your PC performance significantly by reducing loading times, improving responsiveness, and increasing throughput.



  • A RAM disk can extend the lifespan of your physical storage devices by reducing the number of write operations they have to perform. This is especially beneficial for SSDs, which have limited write endurance.



  • A RAM disk can protect your privacy and security by storing sensitive data in volatile memory that gets erased when you power off your PC. This means that no one can recover your data from a RAM disk, unlike from a hard drive or an SSD.



  • A RAM disk can improve your gaming experience by loading games faster and reducing stuttering or loading screens. Some games, especially older ones, may not be optimized for modern storage devices and may benefit from a RAM disk.



Drawbacks




  • A RAM disk consumes a significant amount of your system memory, leaving less for other applications and processes. This can affect your overall PC performance and stability, especially if you have less than 16 GB of RAM.



  • A RAM disk is volatile, meaning that it loses all its data when you power off your PC or when a power outage occurs. This can result in data loss or corruption if you don't save your data to another storage device regularly.



  • A RAM disk may not be compatible with some applications or games that require specific paths or permissions to access their files. You may need to tweak some settings or use symbolic links to make them work with a RAM disk.



  • A RAM disk may not offer a noticeable improvement over an SSD or an NVMe drive for most tasks, especially if you have a fast and reliable storage device. The difference in speed may not be worth the hassle and risk of using a RAM disk.



How to create a RAM disk




If you want to create a RAM disk on Windows 10 or Windows 11, you will need to use a third-party software that can allocate and manage a portion of your RAM as a virtual drive. There are many options available, such as SoftPerfect RAM Disk, StarWind RAM Disk, Dataram RAMDisk, etc. However, for this article, I will use ImDisk Toolkit, which is a free and open-source software that comes with a graphical user interface and some useful features, such as saving and loading images of your RAM disk.


What software do you need to create a RAM disk?




To create a RAM disk with ImDisk Toolkit, you will need to download and install the following components:


  • The ImDisk Virtual Disk Driver, which is the core component that creates and manages the virtual drive in your system. You can download it from the official website or from the GitHub repository. The latest version at the time of writing is 2.0.10.



  • The ImDisk Toolkit, which is the graphical user interface that allows you to configure and control the virtual drive. You can download it from the official website or from the GitHub repository. The latest version at the time of writing is 2021.7.6.



After downloading the files, run the installer for the ImDisk Virtual Disk Driver first, then run the installer for the ImDisk Toolkit. Follow the instructions on the screen and accept the default settings. You may need to restart your PC after installing the software.


How to set up and configure a RAM disk using ImDisk Toolkit




Once you have installed the software, you can launch the ImDisk Toolkit from the Start menu or from the system tray icon. You will see a window like this:



To create a new RAM disk, click on the "Create New Virtual Disk" button at the top left corner. You will see a window like this:



Here, you can customize various settings for your RAM disk, such as:


  • The size of your RAM disk in MB or GB. You can use the slider or enter a value manually. Make sure you don't allocate more than half of your available RAM for your RAM disk, otherwise you may run into performance issues or crashes.



  • The drive letter for your RAM disk. You can choose any letter that is not already assigned to another drive on your system.



  • The file system for your RAM disk. You can choose between NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, or RAW. NTFS is recommended for most cases, as it supports large files and security features.



  • The volume label for your RAM disk. You can enter any name you want for your virtual drive.



  • The mount options for your RAM disk. You can check or uncheck various options, such as read-only mode, removable mode, fixed mode, etc. For most cases, you can leave them as default.



After you have configured your settings, click on the "OK" button to create your RAM disk. You will see a confirmation message like this: Congratulations, you have successfully created a RAM disk on your system. You can now access it from the File Explorer or from the ImDisk Toolkit window. You can use it as you would any other storage device, such as copying, moving, deleting, or creating files and folders. You can also check the properties of your RAM disk to see its size, used space, free space, etc.


How to save and load data from a RAM disk




As mentioned earlier, a RAM disk is volatile, meaning that it loses all its data when you power off your PC or when a power outage occurs. This can be a problem if you want to keep your data on your RAM disk for later use. Fortunately, ImDisk Toolkit has a feature that allows you to save and load images of your RAM disk to and from another storage device, such as a hard drive or an SSD. This way, you can preserve your data and restore it whenever you need it.


To save an image of your RAM disk, follow these steps:


  • Right-click on the ImDisk Toolkit icon in the system tray and select "Save virtual disk image file..."



  • Select the drive letter of your RAM disk and click on the "Next" button.



  • Choose a location and a name for your image file. You can also choose the format of your image file, such as IMG, ISO, VHD, etc. Click on the "Save" button.



  • Wait for the process to complete. You will see a message like this:




To load an image of your RAM disk, follow these steps:


  • Right-click on the ImDisk Toolkit icon in the system tray and select "Load virtual disk image file..."



  • Select the image file that you want to load and click on the "Open" button.



  • Choose a drive letter and a file system for your RAM disk. You can also adjust the size of your RAM disk if you want. Click on the "OK" button.



  • Wait for the process to complete. You will see a message like this:




Note that saving and loading images of your RAM disk may take some time depending on the size of your RAM disk and the speed of your storage device. Also, be careful not to overwrite or delete your image files by accident.


How to use a RAM disk for gaming




One of the most popular uses of a RAM disk is for gaming. By installing and running games from a RAM disk, you can enjoy faster loading times, smoother gameplay, and less stuttering or lagging. However, not all games can benefit from a RAM disk, and some may even cause problems or errors. Here are some tips on how to use a RAM disk for gaming:


What games can benefit from a RAM disk?




In general, games that have large or frequent loading screens, high-resolution textures, or complex physics or animations can benefit from a RAM disk. Some examples are:


  • Open-world games, such as GTA V, Skyrim, Fallout 4, etc.



  • RPG games, such as The Witcher 3, Mass Effect 3, Dragon Age: Inquisition, etc.



  • MMORPG games, such as World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy XIV, Guild Wars 2, etc.



  • Simulation games, such as Flight Simulator 2020, Euro Truck Simulator 2, Cities: Skylines, etc.



However, games that are already well-optimized for modern storage devices or have small or infrequent loading screens may not see much improvement from a RAM disk. Some examples are:


  • FPS games, such as Call of Duty: Warzone, Doom Eternal, Apex Legends, etc.



  • Racing games, such as Forza Horizon 4, Need for Speed: Heat, Dirt 5, etc.



  • Sports games, such as FIFA 21, NBA 2K21 , Madden NFL 21, etc.



  • Indie games, such as Hades, Hollow Knight, Stardew Valley, etc.



Of course, these are not definitive lists, and you may find different results depending on your system specifications, game settings, and personal preferences. The best way to find out if a game can benefit from a RAM disk is to try it yourself and compare the performance with and without a RAM disk.


How to install and run games from a RAM disk




To install and run games from a RAM disk, you will need to copy the game files from your original storage device to your RAM disk. You can do this manually or use a software that can automate the process for you. For this article, I will use Dimmdrive, which is a paid software that can create and manage RAM disks for gaming. You can download it from the official website or from Steam. The latest version at the time of writing is 2.3.0.


To install and run games from a RAM disk with Dimmdrive, follow these steps:


  • Launch Dimmdrive from the Start menu or from Steam. You will see a window like this:





  • Select the game that you want to run from a RAM disk from the list on the left. You can also add custom games or programs by clicking on the "Add Custom Game/Program" button at the bottom.



  • Adjust the size of your RAM disk by using the slider or entering a value manually. Make sure you have enough free space on your RAM disk to fit the game files. You can also enable or disable some options, such as compression, symlinks, auto-start, etc.



  • Click on the "Enable Dimmdrive" button at the top right corner. Wait for the process to complete. You will see a message like this:





  • Launch your game from Dimmdrive or from your preferred launcher (eg, Steam, Origin, Epic Games Store, etc.). Enjoy your improved gaming experience.



Note that installing and running games from a RAM disk may take some time depending on the size of your game files and the speed of your storage device. Also, be careful not to delete or modify your game files on your original storage device while using Dimmdrive.


How to deal with Steam games and DRM issues




If you want to use a RAM disk for Steam games, you may encounter some issues with Steam's DRM (digital rights management) system, which prevents unauthorized copying or modification of games. Steam may not recognize your game files on your RAM disk and may try to download or update them again on your original storage device. To avoid this problem, you can use one of these methods:


Method 1: Use Steam's built-in backup and restore feature




This method involves creating a backup of your game files on your original storage device and restoring them on your RAM disk. Here are the steps:


  • Open Steam and go to your library. Right-click on the game that you want to run from a RAM disk and select "Backup Game Files...".



  • Choose a location and a name for your backup file. Click on the "Next" button.



  • Select the components that you want to include in your backup file. Click on the "Next" button.



  • Wait for the process to complete. You will see a message like this:





  • Create a new folder on your RAM disk and name it "Steam". Copy the backup file that you created in step 4 to this folder.



  • Open Steam and go to "Steam > Backup and Restore Games...". Select "Restore a previous backup".



  • Browse to the folder that you created in step 5 and select the backup file that you copied there. Click on the "Next" button.



  • Select the drive letter of your RAM disk as the destination for restoring your game files. Click on the "Next" button.



  • Wait for the process to complete. You will see a message like this:





  • <li Launch your game from Steam or from your RAM disk. Enjoy your improved gaming experience.



Note that this method may not work for some games that have additional DRM systems, such as Denuvo, SecuROM, etc. You may need to use another method or contact the game developer for support.


Method 2: Use symbolic links to redirect Steam to your RAM disk




This method involves creating symbolic links (also known as symlinks or junctions) that point Steam to your game files on your RAM disk. A symbolic link is a special type of file that acts as a shortcut or a reference to another file or folder. By using symbolic links, you can trick Steam into thinking that your game files are still on your original storage device, while they are actually on your RAM disk. Here are the steps:


  • Open Steam and go to your library. Right-click on the game that you want to run from a RAM disk and select "Properties".



  • Go to the "Local Files" tab and click on the "Browse..." button. You will see the folder where your game files are stored on your original storage device.



  • Copy the entire folder of your game files to your RAM disk. You can use the File Explorer or any other file manager.



  • Delete the folder of your game files on your original storage device. You can use the File Explorer or any other file manager.



  • Open the Command Prompt as an administrator. You can do this by typing "cmd" in the Start menu, right-clicking on the "Command Prompt" app, and selecting "Run as administrator".



  • Type the following command in the Command Prompt window:



mklink /J "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Game Name" "R:\Game Name"


Replace "C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Game Name" with the path of the folder where your game files were stored on your original storage device. Replace "R:\Game Name" with the path of the folder where you copied your game files on your RAM disk. Replace "Game Name" with the name of your game.



  • Press Enter to execute the command. You will see a message like this:





  • Launch your game from Steam or from your RAM disk. Enjoy your improved gaming experience.



Note that this method may not work for some games that have additional DRM systems, such as Denuvo, SecuROM, etc. You may need to use another method or contact the game developer for support.


Alternatives to RAM disks




If you don't want to use a RAM disk or if you don't have enough RAM for it, there are some alternatives that you can try to improve your PC performance. Here are some of them:


What are some other ways to improve your PC performance?




Besides using a RAM disk, there are some other ways to improve your PC performance, such as:


  • Upgrading your hardware components, such as adding more RAM, replacing your HDD with an SSD or an NVMe drive, installing a faster CPU or GPU, etc.



  • Cleaning up your system, such as uninstalling unused programs, deleting temporary files, defragmenting your HDD, scanning for malware, updating your drivers, etc.



  • Optimizing your settings, such as disabling unnecessary startup programs, adjusting your power plan, tweaking your registry, etc.



  • Using performance-enhancing software, such as overclocking tools, game boosters, system cleaners, etc.



How do SSDs, NVMe drives, and Optane memory compare to RAM disks?




If you want to improve your storage performance without using a RAM disk, you may want to consider upgrading to an SSD, an NVMe drive, or an Optane memory module. Here is how they compare to a RAM disk:



Storage TypeDescriptionProsCons


SSD (Solid State Drive)A storage device that uses flash memory chips instead of spinning disks to store data.- Faster than HDDs- More reliable and durable than HDDs- More affordable and available than NVMe drives and Optane memory- Slower than RAM disks and NVMe drives- Have limited write endurance- May require additional power and cooling


NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express)A storage device that uses flash memory chips and connects to the PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) slot on the motherboard.- Faster than SSDs and HDDs- More efficient and scalable than SSDs and HDDs- Support multiple queues and commands- Slower than RAM disks- More expensive and scarce than SSDs and HDDs- May require additional power and cooling- May not be compatible with some older systems


Optane memoryA storage device that uses 3D XPoint technology, a new type of non-volatile memory that is fast


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