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Q: Speed up my XP? ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Speed up my XP?
Category: Computers > Operating Systems
Asked by: tinkywinkey-ga
List Price: $35.00
Posted: 06 Oct 2006 03:40 PDT
Expires: 05 Nov 2006 02:40 PST
Question ID: 771235

I've been facing speed issues with applications that access my hard
disk a lot, such as virus scanners that scan mail and use temporary
files to do so.. I was wondering if I can have a large RAM disk to
speed up things and make it somewhat dynamic and possibly a primary
for my hard disk temporary files directory so that if it fills up it
won't mess things up and would use the hard disk?  Can it be cleaned
up automatically so that unnecessary files don't get forgotten in

I use notebooks in general and now a days they can be configured with
a few gigs of RAM, so this is doable, but I need advice to do it

Also, how would I go about telling applications to use that RAM disk
instead of/along with the default hard disk directory?

Thank you.

Subject: Re: Speed up my XP?
Answered By: crabcakes-ga on 06 Oct 2006 18:34 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello Mao, 

   ?A proper disk cache in the operating system will usually obviate
the performance motivation for a RAM disk; a disk cache fulfills a
similar role (fast access to data that is notionally stored on a disk)
without the various penalties (data loss in the event of power loss,
static partitioning, etc.). RAM disks are, however, indispensable in
situations in which a physical disk is not available, or where access
to, or changing a physical disk is not desirable (such as in the case
of Live CDs). They can also be used in a kiosk-style device where any
changes made to a system are not committed and the original
configuration is to be loaded each time the computer is turned on.

The advent of SATA has meant that RAM disks can be interfaced as a
normal hard drive, although with extremely high transfer speeds.?

   ?Ramdisks have the advantage of being much faster than hard drives
and only require special software (and of course the computer's RAM).
Their disadvantage is that they are limited to main memory and data is
lost on loss of power unless other measures (such as battery backup)
are used.?

   Remember, RAMDisks are temporary. You do not tell individual
applications how to use RAMDisk, but the program itself assigns which
files to place on the RAMDisk.

?What is a RAM Disk ?
Ramdisk is a virtual drive created in RAM. The advantage being it's
much faster than a Hard disk drive can ever be, since it has no moving
parts - transfers are all electronic. There is a catch, however, RAM
Disk is volatile storage, meaning data on it is lost the moment you
lose power, or reboot the computer. RAM Disks also take away from your
system's available RAM. Once you reserve a portion of the RAM for such
disk, it is no longer available for your running programs.?
If you are used to playing around with your laptop, you can download a
free RAMDisk driver from this site and follow the directions for
setting up the RAMDIsk.

   The easiest way to set up a RAM disk is to use a program designed to create one!
Cenatek:  ?Some users like the security of the RAMDisk because if you
do not choose to back up the RAMDisk, all information will be wiped
upon power loss or shutdown.   Since RAM cannot store any trace of
information without power, you know the information is gone for good
(not just hidden on a track of a hard drive that can be easily
undeleted and even recovered after successive over-writes).
An additional feature of a RAMDisk is that it will never wear out. 
You can access it at maximum bandwidth 24/7/365 without fear of
mechanical failure, or fragmentation (A RAMDisk can become fragmented
just like any other disk, but it does not take a performance hit like
a physical disk does when it becomes fragmented).

A RAMDisk operating at maximum bandwidth does not produce excessive
heat, noise or vibrations.?

RAMDisk XP/2000
RAMDisk XP is compatible with Windows XP and 2000. RAMDisk XP can
emulate up to a 3 GB hard disk drive and is seen by the Windows
hardware manager, which allows for greater flexibility in using your

User Manual
?Internet Explorer File Cache:  Internet Explorer users can increase
their web page load times by using a RAMDisk.  This is due to the fact
that IE keeps a temporary folder with images and content it has
already downloaded from the web.  It checks these contents and loads
them if required for each page you visit.  The files are typically
numerous and small, so the lag is actually noticeable.?

   ?Here is what you need to know:  RAMDisk can never be larger than
the actual RAM you have installed on your system.  Some users think
that because they have a large virtual memory, it will allow them to
make a large RAMDisk.  These people should not play with sharp objects
for a multitude of reasons.  Anyway, to add to the confusion, RAMDisk
has a "Page Size" setting which has nothing to do with your virtual
memory.  It is a setting used by RAMDisk to determine how much
information to move at a time when moving memory "Pages" into and out
of system space.

   Some users have attempted to assign a RAMDisk as the "hard disk" to
which Windows will begin swapping data when it runs out of RAM. 
Windows does not like to assign swap space to drives that are not
available early in the boot sequence, so users have reported some
workarounds that have been posted to our forums.  Here is the thread
There is some discussion about how useful this feature is, which we
will stay out of.  We can say that you will most likely NOT benefit
from attempting to locate swap space on a RAMDisk on systems with less
than 512 MB of RAM?

   Winsoft:  ?Fast disk in RAM memory for Windows 2000 and Windows XP.
RamDisk uses 64-bit addressing and Windows Address Windowing
Extensions (AWE) technology, so its max size is limited by Windows and
available physical memory only.
NTFS filesystem is supported on Windows 2000 and FAT/FAT32 filesystems
on Windows XP.?

   Another great program that Sublime1-ga shared with me is Cacheman.
It lives in my taskbar and releases used RAM every hour, but I can
click it to release memory when I close a memory-intensive

   ?Cacheman is a utility designed to improve the performance of your
computer by optimizing the disk cache, memory, and a number of other
settings. Cacheman is able to prevent frequent paging to the hard
disk, resulting in improved performance, system-reaction time, and
stability. Wizards and predefined profiles make it suitable for
novices, yet it also is powerful and versatile enough for the more
experienced user. Cacheman also corrects generic problems on systems
with more than 512MB of RAM. What can you do with Cacheman? You can
optimize the disk, name-and-path, CD-ROM, and icon caches.
Periodically you can recover memory. Watch and monitor several
important system values such as overview page, history graph, and
logging. Tweak several system settings to improve performance. Use the
tray icon for monitoring. Create system configuration reports.?

    CNET has a great list of things you can do to speed up Windows. I
use most of these tips myself! Numbers 1&3 are my favorite.

Tip Number 1 helped MY laptop quite a bit:

More great tips! Be sure to back up the registry before tinkering with
the registry!

   Another way to keep your computer clean and healthy is to run
anti-spyware software regularly. Here is a link to a great
bullet-proof system, from another Google researcher, and friend,
Sublime1-ga. This system will keep nasty spyware from eating up your
computer?s resources and slowing it down. Forget the commercial
products! I also use this system, and never get attacked or full of

   One application I would add to the Bullet Proof system is the free
Windows Defender. Once this was installed on my laptop, I rarely found
any spyware on my system, and I?ve never been hijacked either!
Hijackings and spyware removal are what I find myself doing the most
for my clients!:

   Defrag and Disk Cleanup ? These are found under Accessories, System
Tools, Defrag, Disk Cleanup.  You can schedule these clean up tools to
run at night using the Schedule Tasks found at  Accessories, System
Tools (Of  course, you must leave the PC on!)
You can also automate Disk Cleanup this way too:
Uninstall unneeded programs

   Don?t forget to empty your Internet Explorer cache.  All browsers
have an ?Empty Cache? utility. On IE though, go to
Tools (at the top of the IE screen,)
Select Internet Options
Click Delete Files, found under the Temporary Internet Files section.

   If you don?t need or use the Document History, you can disable its function:

   Turn off unneeded services

  Remove the Windows flash screen logo, saving resources and seconds:

  Remove unneeded fonts; all installed fonts load at bootup

  Tweak prefetcher settings

   Update to the latest version of Internet Explorer. The new Outlook
Express has an option you can select to render email in rich text
only, and not HTML, keeping out most viruses.

If you are satisfied with IE or Mozilla, or Firefox or any other
browser than MSN, you may safely delete it. If you do not use MSN or
Hotmail, you may delete this program from Control Panel, Add/Remove
Programs. Read the warning, and click YES to remove it.

   It is also recommended that you maintain at least 10% of your hard
drive empty, for use as a paging file. Is your hard drive filled?

   I hope this helps you speed things up. If your laptops have over 1G
of RAM, you should not need RAMDisk, in my opinion, especially with
all the other tips here. I use all the tips here, except RAMDisk, with
512MG RAM, and my laptop is very speedy, while loaded down with
numerous memory-hog programs! It will choke a bit when I use Paint
Shop Pro with photos from a 7.2 megapixel camera, but usually Cacheman
takes care of that!

Good luck! If anything is unclear, please ask for an Answer
Clarification and allow me to respond, before rating.

Sincerely, Crabcakes

Search Terms
Optimizing XP
Speeding up Windows
Windows XP tweaks
tinkywinkey-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thanks! :-)


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