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dynamic RAM disk

joet - March 7, 2006 - 8:16pm
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I'm trying to prepare for when our USB drive usage at work becomes limited, i.e. if the USB ports become disabled or restricted. So I'm trying to put my portable apps on a CD. However, I noticed that some of the key porta-apps I use need an INI file to run properly. For some of them, I could probably come up with a wrapper batch file. But for most of them, an INI file is a must.

So I'm looking to see if it's possible to dynamically create/load/mount a RAM disk. If so, I could copy the porta-app I want over to the RAM disk and then run it from there. When I'm done using the porta-app, I can then just remove it from the RAM disk. Hopefully, this could all be done with a batch file.

I'm trying to avoid having to write on the hard disk because then I'll have to remove all traces of the apps after using them, i.e. random char overwrite of the sectors formerly occupied by the apps. For this purpose, I usually use Blowfish. But this takes me back to my original dilemma, because Blowfish is heavily dependent on its INI file. On the other hand, Ultrashredder doesn't use an INI file, but its simplicity limits its features and usability. Another app, Eraser, also doesn't use an INI file, but it's unable to permanently erase files when used as a portable app; it can only "erase" unused sections of the entire hard disk. Actually, I haven't been able to run Eraser from a CD.

To date, I've been able to enjoy "PortableGimp" and the recently made available "X Server" from a CD. These two do not have an INI dependency, so they don't even require the RAM disk solution, at all. These two porta-apps ROCK! They are "true portables".

So, is my RAM disk solution feasible? Is there a better way?

( categories: )

Portable Firefox Live

"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate."


But when the drive is just pulled out the data is still on the harddisk.
I would also appreciate a portable Ramdrive.
On my Laptop i use ramdriveXP, but it's not portable. and teh other programs i know are for DOS only or write to the registry.
I would prefer a style like Truecrypt which creates a drive and can be run from portable, but just create a ramdrive instead of the encrypted volume.

On it til close

The data is just on the drive until it is closed, when it self-deletes.

There are no portable, free ramdrives that I know of. There aren't a whole heck of a lot of them in general as few people use them these days. And most require admin privs. You're far more likely to not have admin privs than you are unable to run off USB.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

TrueCrypt-type of portable RAM drive

Maybe a TrueCrypt-ish approach to RAM drive mount/umount would not require an admin priv. I'd be happy with just a 32MB of RAM drive space, since I plan to run no more than 1 portable app off it at any given time. The RAM drive porta-app could just behave like any regular app that requires memory; except in this case it is reserving 32MB more memory than its binary requires to run. Perhaps it could mount the RAM drive as a subdir (e.g. %TEMP%/RAMdir) as oppose to a drive letter, in which case calling it 'RAM subdirectory' would probably be more appropriate.

Doesn't work that way

RAM drives don't work that way... they have to be a drive letter. Or install some sort of a virtual device driver to show up as a directory. You're going to be hard-pressed to come up with one that won't require admin privs.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

ok, how about a dynamic INI

What lead me to the "RAM disk" solution proposal is the need to have a place for an INI file that gets written to everytime the porta-app is used. My lack of admin privs eventually lead me to abandon the RAM disk in favor of a "RAM subdir". But according to you, this isn't possible, either, without admin privs.

The solution I'm looking for is "true-portability". This solution requires the true-porta-app to have: [1] no requirement to write to the hard disk, [2] the ability to run from a write-only medium (e.g. CD), and [3] no admins privs required. The second parameter should be at most optional, i.e. the true-porta-app writes to the hard disk if and only if the user specifically tells it to do so.

So let's go back to my original situation. What if there's a porta-app launcher that reserves a space in memory to which the INI file could be redirected, i.e. the INI file only exists in memory and only while the porta-app is running. I'm not talking about an app redesign, but perhaps a launcher/wrapper type of solution -- a "dynamic INI" solution, if you will.

Not happening

All the portable apps require a writeable medium. So, you either run them from that portable medium or you copy them to a place that's writeable, run it there, and then delete it. The TEMP directory is a natural choice. A RAM drive would be your only other option, but I haven't seen one that doesn't require admin privs.

So, for now at least, you're completely out of luck.

Sometimes, the impossible can become possible, if you're awesome!

ok, thanks

I do have admin privs on my work laptop, so I can mount a 32MB RAMDisk freeware ( But this solution is more likely to attract scrutiny than just simply running the porta-apps off the hard disk.

But I simply cannot say enough good things about your Portable GIMP and Portable X Server (by achille). They really are true portables. And they kick ass!

Thank you!

Admin is not the big deal

Admin priv wold not be a problem for me, but the portability without installing a device driver. When you plug out the stick, the ramdrive is closed because the .exe is not available.
This would be great, especially for apps, that dont need writing back to the stick but want write access or just to be faster (Browser, media player, Photoshop if we get the launcher,...).
My installed ramdisk has a transfer rate of over 1GB/s , so my approach would be having a big app stord compressed on the stick (.rar), copying to the ramdisk and decompressing and executing there. The big advantage is that one big file copies MUCH faster than a lot of small ones and the ramdisk extraction will be also lightning fast compared to doing this in some Temp folder.