Recently, there are a new trick which has been widely spread through the internet on how to increase the browser’s speed, by creating a virtual RAM disk from your physical RAM (Wikipedia: RAM Disk). As we all know, RAM (or Random Access Memory) is able to be accessed much faster by your computer compared to the hard drive, thus if the disk cache of the browser (which stores all the data, images from your browsing session) is located at the RAM disk, theoretically the browser’s loading speed should be faster, since the cached data are now accessed from RAM to the browser, instead of the hard drive. And I do find the browser startup a little bit faster with this method (might be different for different systems), so I think it should helps in browsing experience, given that you have a large amount of RAM installed (4GB is recommended).
If you feel interested in doing it, let me introduce you an excellent piece of software which make this possible, the DataRAM’s RAMDisk software. To put the whole thing in short, this software is able to use your RAM and convert them into a virtual disk, so you can expect to see a new drive in your ‘My Computer’, and of course, data access will be a lot faster. Don’t worry, no technical knowledge is needed to use this software, a simple click or two are enough to setup your own RAM disk. So, before you proceed to change anything on the browser, let’s create a RAM disk using this software.
Create RAM disk using RAMDisk
First, download RAMDisk from their official website and get it installed. You can access the RAMDisk Configuration Utility through the Start Menu, you will see the software interface as below (you will see a popup ads about the18004memory.com, just kindly close it):
Notice the settings above (500MB, FAT32 Partition, Windows boot sector), then proceed to click on the button Start RAMDisk. It will take a few seconds to minutes depends on your computer configuration, and once the RAM disk is successfully created, the message at the bottom of the software should say ‘RAMDisk started successfully’ (and if you have Autoplay activated in your Windows, the Autoplay option will pop out since the RAM disk is like an external drive), and basically you are done.
But if you wish to have this RAM disk saved in your hard drive (so you won’t lost all the content in the RAM disk if you stop the software, which is recommended), proceed to do this step as well, notice that it will require a similar amount of hard disk space (which is 500MB in this example) for the storage.
Click the tab Load and Save, tick on both Load Disk Image at Startup and Save Disk Image on Shutdown, then click on the button Save Disk Image Now. If then saving process success, you should see the .img file in your C Drive.
Another step and you are done with this. Create a new folder in the new drive (G drive in this example), you can put in any name, and in this example, I used the name ‘TempCache’.
Apply RAM disk to the browsers
So you have the RAM disk created for your browser’s disk cache, now it’s time to change the directory of the browser’s disk cache to your new TempCache folder. I will only cover four major browsers in this steps, namely the Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, and Opera.
- Type about:config into the address bar, then press OK for the warning
- Right Click > New > String
Type browser.cache.disk.parent_directory into the box, then press OK
Enter the path of the newly created TempCache folder for the string value, and in this example it is G:\TempCache (Drive letter and folder name might be different), then press OK
Restart the entire Mozilla Firefox, and you are done!
Close the running Google Chrome completely, if applicable
Look for your Google Chrome shortcut (you can create one if you doesn’t have any), right click on it, and then Properties
Look at the Target field in Shortcut tab, then add –disk-cache-dir="G:\TempCache" after the chrome.exe (as below screenshot)
Press OK are you are done! Launch the browser from the newly modified shortcut.
For Google Chrome, there is no such option in a direct way as in Mozilla Firefox. But we can change the disk cache directory through the modifier on the shortcut’s target.
Paste opera:config#Cache%20Directory4 to the address bar
Change the Cache Directory4 to G:\TempCache (screenshot below)
Click Save and you are done!
Microsoft Internet Explorer
Run Internet Explorer
Look for the option window below through Tools > Internet Options > General > Browsing History > Settings
Click on the button Move Folder and select the folder TempCache in G drive
Press OK and you are done!
Hope this little trick can help you in enhancing the speed of your browser, as for the performance increase, DownloadSquad has done a benchmark and they found the page load times are reduced to 20%, quite a good one if you ask me. As for myself, I have tested in heavily on the Google Chrome and does find it loaded up faster and page load time reduced (though I am not sure whether it is a placebo effect or not), but it definitely no harm in trying this since RAMDisk can be stopped anytime you prefer. So try it and see if it works for you, don’t hesitate to comment if you have any, I would like to hear them.
For Mozilla Firefox fans, if you decided not to do this, you always have an alternative since Mozilla Firefox already have the disk cache management codes implemented in it. Head to DownloadSquad for more information on this.