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Allocating ramdrive before win7 boot?

Last response: in Windows 7
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June 9, 2012 7:32:42 PM

Hi!

To make it short, I want to be able to allocate some of my ram as a drive BEFORE windows 7 boots and of course somehow actually boot windows 7.

I have:
- SSD with win7 x64 (AHCI)
- HDD
- USB stick
- 8 GB ram.

I want (example): boot with whatever media and whatever OS with which I can make a drive E: which is a 2GB ramdrive from my actual 8GB RAM and AFTER that is done, somehow boot windows 7 from the SSD - where it is installed. And obviously I want windows 7 to recognize the drive. Data loss on the ram drive between restarts is not important.

I know it's possible, I'm just not sure how.
Please do not recommend me any alternatives, and don't question my motives, this is what I wish to accomplish and would appreciate any and all help along the way!

Thanks.
June 10, 2012 12:26:04 AM

Maybe you could install a distro of Linux as your main OS and have it boot to Windows, if you find a distro that can do that, or have it run Windows in a VM through Virtual Box or VMWare. The Linux distro could run the RAM drive before it boots into Windows or before it boots Windows in a VM. That's all that I can think of to do something like that. Windows itself can't run a RAM drive before booting.

A very light version of Linux would be preferable; maybe Tinycore Linux or a similarly light distro.
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June 10, 2012 12:35:24 AM

To allocate your RAM into a drive, you need a program to do so. Which of course requires a OS to run the program. You cannot boot from the RAM drive before windows because before windows boots the RAM drive doesn't exist yet.

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June 10, 2012 12:44:11 AM

First of all thank you for your replies.

VM is out of the question because as far as I know pure 3D is cannot be handled through it.

I don't want to boot from the ramdrive, I want it to be existing before win7 is booting to make sure win7 "sees" it as an individual hardware (hard drive or usb drive, etc) with a letter attached to it (E:) .

Now I'm thinking that I guess I could boot up something fast and even make a ramdrive in dos, but I'm lost on how can I manually boot win7 without restarting.
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June 10, 2012 12:51:05 AM

Agent Z said:
First of all thank you for your replies.

VM is out of the question because as far as I know pure 3D is cannot be handled through it.

I don't want to boot from the ramdrive, I want it to be existing before win7 is booting to make sure win7 "sees" it as an individual hardware (hard drive or usb drive, etc) with a letter attached to it (E:) .

Now I'm thinking that I guess I could boot up something fast and even make a ramdrive in dos, but I'm lost on how can I manually boot win7 without restarting.


That can't be done with Windows 7, at least not to my knowledge. Windows would know that the drive is not a physical drive. You could get a RAM drive program that auto-creates and auto-formats the drive on Windows start-up, but that's it. I think that there are some ways to have pure 3D work through VMs, but even if it can be done, it would probably need beta drivers that might not be perfectly stable yet, so although it is probably doable, I can admit that it probably isn't ideal.

Theoretically, you could do that with now-ancient Windows 3.11 (in the context of our OSes) and older that were just programs that could be run on top of DOS, but I don't think it can be done on newer versions of Windows that don't boot strait to a working DOS environment first (at least, I don't think they do).
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Best solution

a b $ Windows 7
June 10, 2012 12:56:15 AM

What you ask is not possible. The host OS takes full control of the system RAM when the system is booted into protected mode. Having something exist in RAM before booting the host OS is not possible.

The only way to expose a ramdrive on boot is to have it exposed as part of a virtual machine
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June 10, 2012 1:06:56 AM

You can buy a physical DDR2 or DDR3 RAM drive. They can be expensive, but should do what you want to do.
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a b $ Windows 7
June 10, 2012 1:41:35 AM

just as a side note, it is possible to run 3D applications in guests using some virtualization programs. VMWare Workstation has decent Direct3D 9 support in Windows and OpenGL support in Linux was recently added to the mainstream Linux kernel as of version 3.2. It's not perfect but it works better than any other virtualization solution that I've tried. If you let us know more about your specific use case we can advise better
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June 20, 2012 4:11:11 AM

Best answer selected by Agent Z.
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August 23, 2012 3:43:31 PM

Agent Z said:
Best answer selected by Agent Z.

n
nI didn't see anyone mention using Dataram's free RAMDisk tool.
n
nAs I read it, the question / need was to have a resulting drive letter always available to the OS (Windows 7 x64 only I presume). The detail about existing "before the OS boots" is not served by this, however, if a boot-time driver that mounts up sufficiently early in the boot process to enable installed applications and automatically starting services to run on it will suffice, then Dataram's RAMDisk will do - for free - perfectly well.
n
nI've been using it on numerous client's systems as well as my own for several years. Works great. With 8 Gig of RAM I usually allocate 1.5 to 2 Gig. If they have more RAM I'll go as much as 4 Gig on the RAMDisk. I install the web browsers and their associated cache/profile directories on them. Depending on the user's needs or habits, I'll place their profile's temp folder there as well and any other "highly write-intensive" applications (FOREX charting, Skype, PortableApps, etc.).
nTo protect the RAMDrive I have a scheduled task that runs a few minutes after startup and every four hours thereafter to robocopy the drive to a hard disk folder. When the RAMDisk gets messed up - and it does, usually from the users ungracefully pulling the power on the machine or a system crash - I (or they) can very quickly recreate the RAMDisk and copy the files back onto it, reboot, and they're up and running.
nIf I can walk my 79 year old father through it on the phone, anyone can do it. :-)
n
nDataram's RAMDisk:
nhttp://memory.dataram.com/products-and-services/softwar...
n
nEnjoy!
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August 23, 2012 4:44:40 PM

That might work, but I doubt that it would treat the RAM drive as a hardware device rather than a virtual drive.
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August 23, 2012 6:21:17 PM

Ok, I learned a few things since I started this thread:

- Pre-win7 ramdisk allocation (which lasts) is not possible;
- There are softwares (mostly games) which are not Large Address Aware, meaning it can't use all your RAM, which leads to all sorts of problems such as crashes (out of memory), continuous slowdowns caused by heavy fragmantation and so on. For example a game as new as Skyrim was a victim of it until it got patched in 1.3.10
There are tools though which can patch the executable file of any software to fix it;
- If you're looking to speed up your system and not just focus on 1 application than Ramdisk softwares (I prefer ImDisk over dataram ramdisk) are not bad, but there are more greater tools that can do the same even better, such as SuperCache and FancyCache which are also more optimizable and won't write as much as saving a full image periodically.

I highly recommend playing around with SuperCache.
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