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I may have a cure for the slow web browser

John C Dvorak lamented last week about slow web browsers.

I’m working on a cure.

It’s not perfect yet. But I’m messing with ramdisks again. Dataram, if you’re interested. I have Firefox and my user profile running out of a ramdisk. Fast doesn’t begin to describe it. And for about three weeks, it was heavenly. But now it’s a little quirky. Most things work, but certain Amazon and Google web pages display strangely, or not at all. Those are the problems I’ve been able to reproduce consistently. I’ve seen other glitchy pages too, but sometimes pages just do that no matter what browser I’m running or how it’s configured, and hitting refresh fixes them.

So I’m hesitant to recommend it right now. I’m rocking the ramdisk, but my wife isn’t. As far as I know right now, it’s kind of like driving a 50-year-old sports car instead of a Honda Civic sedan. It’s a lot faster, more fun, and makes you look like an enthusiast, but that 50-year-old sports car isn’t going to give you day-after-day reliability for 175,000-plus miles. It’s going to take some tinkering to keep it on the road. And that’s part of the fun for some people, but it’s not for everyone.

But I’m investigating it as I have time. If I can make it reliable, I’ll be revisiting the topic again here, in more detail.

If you want to tinker, here’s how you do it. You install Dataram ramdisk and set it to make the ramdisk persistent–that is, to back itself up to disk and load itself at boot. Format the disk (I recommend FAT32). Then install Firefox to the new drive. Then move the profile to the new drive. Then launch Firefox and enjoy the speed. And fast it is–as long as you have, say, at least a 2-core, 2 GHz CPU and at least 4 GB of RAM, there’s nothing Firefox does slowly.

Once I figure out how to make it reliable, I’ll share in more depth.

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