Last Updated on April 22, 2017 by Dave Farquhar
I’ve been using Dataram’s excellent free ramdisk program for several months now and highly recommend it. On some machines, I install Firefox to the ramdisk and move the profile there. But the biggest benefit comes from putting the profile (not just the browser cache) in the ramdisk. Storing the profile in a high-speed, near-zero-latency ramdisk solves virtually every Firefox performance issue. Here’s how to set up a Firefox ramdisk profile in Windows.
When creating a ramdisk, you really want to make sure you leave at least 1 GB of memory for the system, and 2 GB is better. On a 32-bit system, I wouldn’t create more than a 1 GB disk–unless you have a 32-bit system with more than 4 GB of RAM in it. Dataram can use the otherwise inaccessible memory above 4 GB. And of course, on a 64-bit system with 8 GB or more, you can get away with making bigger ones. I always use Dataram’s setting to save the disk contents at shutdown and reload them at startup. That way I don’t lose my browser cache, history, or anything else. The benefit is almost as good as having a nonvolatile ramdisk would be.
To move the profile, first you have to find it. Once you find your profile, copy it to the ramdisk.
Next, close Firefox and launch Task Manager (the quickest way is to hit shift-ctrl-Esc), go to the Processes tab, and make sure Firefox.exe isn’t there. If it is, select it and click End Process.
Launch Firefox’s profile manager. The easiest way is to go to Start, Run, and type c:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe -profilemanager and click OK.
Click Create Profile. It will ask for a name. I name mine ramdisk. Click Choose Folder, then navigate to the folder you copied to your ramdisk and click OK. Then click Finish.
Select your ramdisk profile, then click Start Firefox.
I have more tips for speeding up Firefox if you need them.
David Farquhar is a computer security professional, entrepreneur, and author. He started his career as a part-time computer technician in 1994, worked his way up to system administrator by 1997, and has specialized in vulnerability management since 2013. He invests in real estate on the side and his hobbies include O gauge trains, baseball cards, and retro computers and video games. A University of Missouri graduate, he holds CISSP and Security+ certifications. He lives in St. Louis with his family.
2 thoughts on “A Firefox ramdisk profile in Windows”
How does this compare to using an SSD?
It’s faster. Probably not as big as the difference between an HDD and an SSD, but the difference is big enough that you’ll notice it.
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