Last Updated on July 24, 2016 by Dave Farquhar
You can improve the speed of printing slightly and, depending on the nature of your print jobs, dramatically reduce disk writes if you move the print spool directory to your ramdisk. It’s a little performance tweak you might have never heard of, but it’s helpful.
This trick works best with a ramdisk product that loads a disk image at startup, such as Dataram Ramdisk.
First, navigate to your ramdisk in Windows Explorer and create a directory called spool. You’ll need it for the next step.
In Windows 7, click Start and go to Devices and Printers. Click on a printer (any printer) and select the button labeled Print Server Properties at the top of the window. Click Advanced, then click Change Advanced Settings. Now you can type a path for the print spool folder. I create a directory called spool in the root of my ramdisk, which is drive r:, so I just type r:\spool. If your ramdisk is a different letter, use that letter instead. Click Apply, then click Yes when the warning appears.
Now any temporary files that the system creates when you print will go to the ramdisk, rather than your system drive.
The process is virtually identical in any other version of Windows from Windows 2000 on. Just go to Printers rather than Devices and Printers on pre-Vista versions.
This trick isn’t necessarily just for home networks either. If you actually have a real, live print server on your network, like most corporate networks do, doing this tweak on your print server is a good, free way to improve its performance. With dramatically less disk I/O going on, the server will have an easier time juggling that legion of print jobs it deals with every day.
I hope you’re willing to move the print spool directory to your ramdisk and see how it works for you. I think you’ll be pleased with the results.
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.
One thought on “Move the print spool directory to your ramdisk”
You’ve made a bunch of entries lately about Ramdisk and I’ve always wanted to play with it, but the articles are scattered about.
You ought to write up _The Idiot’s Guide to Using Ramdisk_ as a Kindle single and sell it for $2.99. Include using it for programs other than Firefox.
I’ll be your first customer!
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