How to set up and use a RAM drive in Windows

A RAM drive is a hard disk made up of your computer’s RAM. It cannot save data permanently, but it is very fast. If you want to give it a try, you can create a RAM drive with free software and without upgrading a single PC. This article describes how to set up and use a RAM drive in Windows 10 and Windows 11.

ImDisk Toolkit is a virtual drive management application. It also includes a utility that allows creating RAM drives.

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  1. Download ImDisk from Sourceforge.net.
  1. Installing the application. Make sure to include all components when installing.
Windows Ram Drive Windows Components of Imdisk Installer

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Windows 11

Creating a RAM disk with Windows 11 is much faster than Windows 10 because you get the “Installation complete” message as soon as you run ImDisk setup.

Ram Drive Windows Imdisk Windows11 installation completed

Windows 10

If you’re using Windows 10, follow these steps to complete the RAM disk installation, then restart your system once.

  1. Double-click on the desktop icon labeled “RamDisk Setup”.
Ram Drive Windows Imdisk Ramdisk Double-click Configure
  1. Set the disk size in the box at the top of the window. We recommend at least 4 GB of storage to get an idea of ​​how the disk works.
Customizing Windows Imdisk Hard Drive Size
  1. Click OK at the bottom of the window. This will create a RAM drive, which is just a virtual disk meant for your computer’s RAM. The process goes smoothly, so you don’t have to do anything.
Ram Drive Windows Imdisk installed
  1. If you receive a warning about shutdown settings, click the Shutdown Settings button.
Windows drive ram message Imdisk shutdown settings
  1. Then unlock the settings pane with the administrator password.
RAM Drive Power Settings Windows Change Settings Not Available
  1. Finally, uncheck the box next to “Enable fast startup (recommended)” and click “Save changes” at the bottom of the window. Your RAM drive is now ready to use.
Windows power settings enable fast startup

Fast startup speeds up your computer’s startup process by saving the system state between complete shutdown and hibernation on your hard drive. This happens when your computer writes the contents of your RAM to a solid hard drive. As you might imagine, this may harm the RAM drive’s ability to hold and track its data. With fast startup disabled, startups might take a little longer, but you’re not likely to notice much.

Disabling fast startup will meet the warning window, but let’s see why. This will also allow ImDisk to save your RAM drive data to an image file when your computer is turned off. If you don’t, the contents of your RAM drive will be completely erased each time, with no saved image storage. It will also disable the RAM drive’s ability to load previous content. Basically, the drive will act more like random access memory (RAM) and not like a disk. Depending on your use case, this could be disappointing or unusable.

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Using a RAM drive

You can access and use it like any normal hard drive. It appears in Windows File Explorer like any other drive.

Ram Drive Windows Ramdisk Windows11 File Explorer

However, the RAM drive is significantly faster than traditional types of storage. And we mean exponential. You can check this yourself using Anvil’s Storage Utilities, an initial speed comparison tool. In the next test, my Windows machine’s C drive scored an overall score of 77.63MB/sec with average read and write speeds of 40.44 and 37.20MB/sec, respectively.

Windows Anvils Storage Score Stock Ssd

In comparison, ImDisk RAM drive values ​​were out of the ordinary with a total score of 29675.8MB/s, as well as average read/write scores of 21615 and 8080MB/s, respectively.

Ram Drive Windows Anvils Storage is much higher than Imdisk Ramdrive's score

What is VRAM, how do you check it and can you increase it?

In most cases, it is not possible to buy more RAM just to have a larger RAM disk. However, with between 8GB and 32GB of RAM, you can do useful things. These include:

  • Video and photo editing: These processes can be resource-intensive, and traditional storage methods can lead to a bottleneck that slows them down.
  • Toys : If you have a lot of RAM, you can run some games from the RAM disk. Imagine how smooth your games would be if you did that.
  • Statistical Modeling: This requires high-speed access to the data. A RAM disk can provide the necessary read/write speeds.

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Precautions and recommendations

You will need to make sure that the data stored on your RAM disk is of course backed up to an image. Fortunately, ImDisk pretty much takes care of that. Also, if you are not using a laptop with a powerful battery, you should connect your computer or laptop to an inverter. This way, in the event of a power surge or power outage, you can safely shutdown your computer without losing data.

The speed of the RAM is undeniable. Another option to take advantage of this is to buy a RAM-based SSD. This type of drive uses random access memory (RAM) modules instead of traditional SSD modules. Contains batteries to prevent data loss. However, they are expensive, so this is likely only possible if you desperately need RAM-level speeds for your business.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What makes your RAM drive so fast?

The RAM drive is fast by definition because it reuses the computer’s random access memory (RAM) to serve as temporary file storage. In other words, it works like a hard disk stripping program.

The RAM drive is also fast due to its unique file properties. Unlike an SSD/HDD, it does not use excessive read and write operations from their data bus, and instead uses a temporary folder to quickly transfer all files to and from. So it is not cluttered with many small file units, which results in a faster response time. This gives the RAM drive massive performance gains in throughput values.

What is the size of the RAM disk?

The size of a random access memory (RAM) disk depends on the amount of random access memory (RAM) your computer currently has. Under no circumstances may this limit be exceeded. For security reasons, it is wise not to allocate more than 50% of your computer’s RAM to serve as a RAM disk. For example, if you have 16 GB of RAM on your computer, you can allocate up to 8 GB for your RAM drive.

What could be the biggest drawbacks of RAM drives?

And at the speed of RAM drives, you cannot turn off the drive and you cannot permanently save information to it. If you need more storage in a RAM drive (>16GB), it is not as cost effective as SSDs. Doubly faster file storage comes at the cost of all your data being erased the moment you unplug your RAM drive. Your data is also vulnerable to power outages, a risk that can be reduced with a long-lasting laptop battery and/or UPS.

When do you use a RAM drive?

The RAM drive is especially useful for applications where fast writing and reading of data is important. It is best suited for high-tech computing tasks where high throughput is a critical task. For example, if you want your computer to display 3D video, RAM drive will help you write data much faster than SSD due to faster encryption.

Can you use a RAM drive as a boot drive?

Yes, you can use your laptop or PC RAM drive to run your operating system, but we don’t recommend that. The process will be very slow due to the volatile nature of this memory option. Since your data is completely lost every time you disconnect the RAM drive, backing up your operating system will take a long time. You also need to keep your laptop or PC turned on to avoid disconnecting the RAM drive during operation.

Image credit: Jéshoots on Pexels

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