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Win98 Ram drive

JG_Elliott asked
I was talking to a friend a while ago and he mentioned how some people, with spare ram, running win98, create a ram drive and install a cutdown version of half-life to it.
I am currently using win2k, but compatibility problems with current software/hardware ie i liked the old scanner software I could use. I don't really see much improvement with 2k, so I'm thinking of down-grading to win98se. A factor pushing me, is also the ram-drive idea. I'd like to play some games really fast and cut down load times and be the envy of my freinds when we play on LANs and I'm there before they are. I am told, however, that ramdrives of the size I want, aren't possible with win2k (please tell me if it is possible, as I'll be very happy).
I have 640mb of ram, firstly, will win98 be able to use all of it as standard ram, or is their a limit to what it can use? If so, will I be able to use what it can't use as ram, as a ramdrive?
Secondly, how do you make this ram act as a ramdrive? I think I'll need about 300mb-340mb to install hl to, after removing unecessary files, is it possible to have this much space?
I'd like the ability to be able to turn the ramdrive off, so I can use all the ram for programs, should I want to.
Are there any negative effect's of using a ramdrive like this?
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The biggest problem I know of with a ramdrive is it's not permanent & you have to reload it with every restart of the computer (correct me anyone if this has changed in the years since I last made use of a ramdrive). To turn it off I imagine you'd have to reboot on a step by step process to eliminate creating the ramdrive.
This should answer how to do it - http://www3.sympatico.ca/rhwatson/dos7/v-ramdrive-sys.html
This indicates anything above 512 may cause a problem - http://support.microsoft.com/directory/article.asp?ID=KB;EN-US;Q253912

Windows ME does NOT suffer from this. I have succesfully ran ME with 3072 Mb of RAM.
However I don't think it is a good idea to create a RAM drive and copy a game to it for performance...
A much better idea would be to
(1) Buy a RAID controller and put your drives striped.
(2) Create the RAM drive a put your SWAP file on it.
(3) Get a fast CPU (Athlon 1.4G would be best choice).
(4) Keep running 2k, it has much better performance on "heavy" machines.
(5) Keep your system naked and clean.

How reliable or accurate, I don't know.
This was posted in a recent LangaList Newsletter:

Reader Jason A Allen asks a provocative question--- one that's been on my to-do list to research for a long time, but that I've never been able to find the time to do.

Fred, I've been thinking a bit about the memory woes mentioned in a previous edition of the Langa List (2001-06-18 Tons Of RAM = Memory Hell?

Microsoft's suggestion of disabling the extra RAM or limiting how much RAM Windows has access to seems like such a waste. I remember reading an article many years ago listing the pros and cons of using a RAM disk to store Windows' virtual memory file. Perhaps it's time to revisit that concept for computers that experience problems with excessive RAM. Both Windows 98 and Me use RAM disks as part of their emergency boot disks (EBD), so users of those versions of the OS have access to the ramdrive.sys file and an idea on how to use it by reading the EBD's config.sys file. I don't use Win9x, so I can't test how
well it would work. Perhaps you or one of your intrepid
readers would like to try it out. Also, if you're not yet
tired of hearing it, the Langa List is second *only* to the
Langa List Plus. ---- Jason A. Allen

Thanks, Jason. It's an interesting question.

A RAM disk is a simulated hard drive that exists entirely within your system's memory chips. The operating system sees the pseudo-disk as a regular hard drive--- it even has an ordinary drive letter--- but the drive operates at RAM speeds instead of at the mechanical speed of a
normal hard drive.

As a gedanken experiment, using a RAM disk to steed up Windows is simple and obvious: In a system with a ton of RAM (say 512MB), you'd set aside a big chunk (say, 256MB) as a RAM disk. Then you'd adjust Window's virtual memory settings to place a fixed-size swap file in the RAM disk.
With no disk-induced delays at all, swapfile operations should be significantly faster.

But would it be noticeably faster? That is, would it make a difference in real-life operations?

It would be rather tricky to get valid, accurate, repeatable and quantifiable results in before-and-after testing; and in any case, any potential speed gains would matter most to users who routinely multitask large programs or who work with very large data sets. I'm not sure a mythical "average" user would see enough difference to make it worthwhile. (That's why careful control and measurement would be important; a subjective "it feels faster" wouldn't cut it.)

There's a further option for those with *very* large amounts of RAM: You could, for example, place commonly-called DLLs in a RAM drive, or even install Windows itself to a RAM drive. You'd need to use something like Ghost or Drive Image before shutdown to preserve and restore the RAM
disk contents, which normally are erased when you turn off the PC...

It's one of those experiments that's simple in broad concept, but extremely complex in the details--- which is why it's remained on my to-do list for an embarrassingly long time.


From the article at http://www3.sympatico.ca/rhwatson/dos7/v-ramdrive-sys.html

In a Win95/8 environment, RAM drives are seldom useful because Windows uses all available memory. Although it may seem a neat idea to use a RAM drive for the Windows swap file, this is very seldom practical. Windows only uses a swap file when it has run out of RAM. Reducing the amount of available RAM by making a RAM drive will mean that a swap file will be required sooner (and it won't be large enough, anyway). In short, creating a RAM drive to use for a swap file is equivalent to specifing a swap file size of 0 without a RAM drive - in both cases most systems will typically give an "out of memory" message sooner or later.


Thanks all, especially the long-complicated answers. They were very informative, but not the answer I needed.

Is it fixed?  What was the fix?
We are solving problems while also learning.


There was no "fix" it was a question for if I install win98 again. I wanted a largeish ram-drive, and you pointed me out to some programs which let me have a big ram drive - bigger than the ms supported stuff. A link, to simtel, from a link you gave pulled up a fair few programs which do the job, but it required a bit of searching.

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