RAMDISK OS? Installing Windows 10 on a ramdisk

Your idea (as cool as it is) unfortunately won't work in practice:

  1. The RAM disk would be wiped whenever you turn your PC off, reboot it, or if you lose power.

  2. 16 GB is not enough RAM. Don't forget you need to keep some RAM aside to use as, you know, regular RAM. So at best you might be able to do a 12 GB RAM disk. Well, 12 GB doesn't meet Windows 10's minimum free hard drive space requirement.

  3. Software-based RAM disks actually run on top of an already installed operating system. What you'd need is a way to create a RAM disk at a hardware level, so that Windows actually thinks it's talking to a real IDE/SATA/SCSI hard drive. That would require purchasing a special RAM disk card (for example, this). Incidentally, this would also solve problems 1 and 2, but the cost is insane.

So yeah, you need an SSD ;-)

Yes you can and 16G RAM are more than enough

  • Shrink the size of any windows iso using tools like ntlite or winreducer
  • Feed the output wim in to NtSetup
  • Boot the output VHD and configure your Windows - add firadisk driver
  • Mount the VHD from your normal OS and capture it with wimlib
  • Apply the output wim to a new VHD using the compact=lzx switch
  • Use grub4dos to map that VHD in RAM and boot it

That's a rough sketch of the procedure, it's a lot more complicated than it sounds but it can be done. I'm using a 1.2G Windows 10 VHD booted from RAM right now. Windows 10 support LZX compression on the fly. Windows 7 too but with the help of wofadk.sys.

If you're still interested ask for details.

Is it possible to put the entire operating system on a ram disk?

From some googling for "Windows bootable ramdisk" there are apparently ways to do it. I haven't tested them myself though.

You could also use a virtualisation platform to run a windows VM with a ramdrive as a backing store.

If I have 16 GB of RAM and it is an Intel Xeon.

16GB really isn't very much once you start talking installing software on ramdisks.

I don't have an SSD and my hard drive is killing my boot time. So can I just allocate some of my ram to work as if it were an SSD and install windows and vital software on it, to gain super fast speed.

The big problem here is that ramdisks are volatile. So even if you can get windows to run from a ramdrive and even if you have enough memory to run something that's not a crazy stripped down install, every time you do a cold boot you would have to re-copy stuff from your hard drive to the ram drive. If your goal is to reduce boot times that renders ramdrives fairly pointless.

Or is it more trouble then its worth and would be better off just buying an SSD?

Yes you would be much better off just buying a SSD.