I suppose most readers have at least 1 GB (if not more) RAM installed. And would really find a quick-responding RAM disk a real boon. You can use the disk to store volatile information like your browser’s temporary files. I use it as a temporary download store because if any of the files are infected by a virus it takes just one reboot to erase the disk’s contents. I also use a shared RAM disk at work to exchange files with colleagues. Without the hassle of setting up individually shared folders.
So far I was using the QSoft RAM disk free edition which is based on a Microsoft VisualBasic proof-of-concept. The QSoft free version installs as a Windows device driver (Windows 2000 onwards). But is limited to a maximum size of 64 MB. Regardless of the system RAM installed on your computer. Even the RAM disk format is limited to FAT16.
It has been over 3 years since I downloaded the original driver. And a search while preparing this post found the shareware version has been enhanced considerably. But the freeware version is no longer available (the URL points to a non-existent link). Oddly enough my search for the URL also turned up a QSoft RAM disk Enterprise v5 3 1 5 Win2kXP2k3 torrent for
With a new computer running Windows Vista and with 2 GB RAM, I decided I could do with a RAM Disk upgrade. But the FAT16 was disappointing. And then a stroke of luck. I learned about another wholly free Windows Vista-compatible RAM Disk driver from Gavotte complete with a configuration GUI. The new driver supports FAT16 through NTFS drive formatting. And has no real limitations on RAM disk size. Which is calculated at 64 MB of RAM disk per 256 MB of system RAM installed. The upper RAM Disk install limit is 3 GB (which assumes you have 12+ GB of system RAM). Pretty extreme for most personal computers and work stations. Even the diehard gamers I know rarely have more than 8 GB installed.
After you download and extract the RAM disk files. The click on ramdisk.exe to install the disk driver (Vista users should right click the EXE and choose ‘Run as Administrator’). Once the SYS driver has installed, you can configure RAM disk parameters including drive size, drive letter (default = R) and media type: RAM Drive, Fixed Media (default) or Removable Media (simulates a floppy).
The GUI lets you uninstall (aka remove) a RAM disk. But you can also load an image file into RAM either after starting or on boot up through an autoexec.bat argument. More configuration choices including registry editing are available online.
There are also browser enhancements happening. I have almost completely discarded Maxthon as the wrapper is showing its age. IE7 pure is actually faster at rendering web pages than Maxthon 1.6.x. And unfortunately the rebuilt Maxthon 2 is exceedingly buggy. As someone who believed in this browser (sorry Blood Chen) the delivered form is most disappointing.
In comparison I don’t really expect that much of TheWorld. But it does what is has to do and is much safer to use that the standard IE7. Somewhere between my first sighting (version 1.5.x in July). And the current 22.214.171.124, the developers added a multi-threaded (up to 10 streams) download manager. In the latest TheWorld 126.96.36.199 version, the download manager now supports Metalinks. The ad filtering too has improved. As has Vista integration and Sun Java virtual machine compatibility. And even as the developers are correcting the more obvious language errors in the interface. TheWorld forums still remain (rather inexplicably) limited to Chinese.
The new Opera 9.5 Beta with the Kestrel rendering engine is awesome. I’m still testing it out. But in the meantime make sure to download a copy. On average this Beta is updated weekly. Check the Opera Desktop Team blog for details of changes plus download links for Windows, Mac and Linux.
And Firefox 3 (Gran Paradiso) Alpha is definitely worth a look too. But instead of downloading and installing a Beta. Do instead use the Portable Firefox 3 setup. With an integrated updater script. That is less messy and more accurate than the traditional update method.
That’s it for now. Happy browsing. And Stay Safe!