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vRamDir problem


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This may be an obscure issue particular to vRamDir but I'm thinking it may also have to do with running 1 GiB RAM, and my SYSTEM.INI settings.

vRamDir is a dynamic 32-bit virtual RAM file system driver (VXD) for Windows 9x, it allows to map any existing folder(s) into RAM, which are thereafter readable/writeable exactly as a disk folder, but contents go into RAM instead. It functions in practice like a ramdisk, except that no fixed amount of physical memory is reserved ahead of time for the mapped folders, which instead shrink and grow in RAM depending on contents size. I have been using it for years on my Win98se machine with no problems ... until today, when I attempted to copy several large audio files into a virtual folder. The virtual folder (call it C:\audio_temp) will only "hold" 256 MiB of data, and no more. Any attempt to copy more files to the virtual folder simply fails -- the file just does not get copied. And as the folder contents approaches 256 MiB, I start to get the error message on other programs (including Explorer and DOS boxes): "There is not enough memory available to run this program. Quit one or more programs, and then try again." Nearing 256 MiB, if I add carefully very small files (like icons), the virtual folder will accept a few of them until it finally reaches a point where Windows freezes.

So my question is, why is this happening, when Sysmon simultaneously reports 600 MiB unused RAM? vRamDir is supposed to be limited only to the amount of free RAM available, so I ought to be able to copy 500 MiB of data into memory at least.

There is no problem at all using vRamDir, as long as the total virtual folder(s) size stays somewhat below 256 MiB.

System info:


Physical memory: 1 GiB

AGP aperture: 64

Graphics card RAM: 128 MiB

SYSTEM.INI settings:







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Never heard of vRamDir before... But, in any case, it clearly uses up the System Arena.

Too big a VCache, too many open DOS Boxes, too big an AGP aperture, or a big (> 512 MiB) XMS ramdisk being filled are the most probable reasons for depletion of the system arena,as well as any combination of the above factors. Igor Leyko's article, the "Maximum Number of DOS Boxes retired MSKB article and RLoew's posts included in the noteworthy posts list, all of them in the in the 1st post of the > 1GiB thread are references worthy of reading and musing about, in relation to this issue.

Do read, at least, KB125691 and Igor Leyko's Article (in English, by GreyPhound and also in Russian, so one can see all the figures), and things will seem clearer. :D

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Autoallocation only delayed the crash. Fixed allocation XMS RAMDisks usually cripple Windows immediately if they are more than a few hundred Megabytes is size. You will need a Non-XMS RAMDisk if you want to use more space.

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Thank you both for the elucidation and links. Leyko's remarks about typical RAM size circa 1998 must apply in this case. The program dates to 1998, and wasn't written with 1 GiB of physical memory to play with. So (if I understand correctly) it lacks some crucial safeguard and will expand a virtual folder much bigger than is possible with 32 MiB or even 256 MiB physical memory to work with, and eventually impinging on the system arena.

It does work without a hitch if I stay below the threshold, with no apparent impact on Windows performance. I often use a virtual folder for mixing audio tracks entirely in RAM, along with the associated temp and undo files -- an operation which normally would continually thrash the hard disk. Too bad about the functional size limit.

Can you recommend a good Non-XMS RAMdisk?

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Sure! The one and only of its kind: RLoew's (which is not free). If you have interest in it, there's more info here. I'm a satisfied user of it. My own ramdisk performance tests will show you why. Note that the Gavotte is free software, but works only on the NT-Family of OSes (and it's the one I use on XP SP3). RLoew's non-XMS RamDisk is not expensive and is worth the cost, IMO.

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