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.