NewDeal Hot Tip 1520

[Hot Tips for...] General Use

Running NewDeal From a RAM Drive

NewDeal shines on small computer systems, especially when compared to some other large softwares. Still, in these days of fast Pentiums with 128MB RAM, even the most bloated software can run pretty nimbly. NewDeal on a 386 or 486SX runs well, but not as quickly as apps on those monster systems. NewDeal makes older iron worth keeping since the user can continue to do useful work without having to lay out the funds for new hardware.

But what about memory? NewDeal merely sips memory while some other software laps up great gushers. Still, memory is cheap these days. Even the very frugal can afford 16MB SIMMS now that their prices are falling. What can NewDeal do with real memory? Can we turbocharge a 386 to give Pentium class performance? Well, we can sure try.

I have tested running NewDeal from a RAM drive (also called a RAM disk, a Virtual disk, or a Virtual drive) with success using RAMDRIVE.SYS in every MS DOS since 5.0, and with Turbodisk, a fast freeware third party virtual disk driver, and with VDISK.SYS, the driver included with DR DOS.

As of this writing, you can download Turbodisk from the Internet at

My testing has been done on a Pentium with 40MB of RAM, so while I can report definite speed increases, I can't extrapolate what the results will be on slow systems. Still, it is with slow systems that have been upgraded with inexpensive memory that I expect to see the greatest performance increase.

Everything on a Ram drive is lost when you shut off your computer or if you crash. For that reason you need to make sure that your working documents and files remain on the hard drive. In addition, you don't really want to waste RAM by unnecessarily copying bulky, seldom accessed files to RAM. For these reasons I choose to not transfer the Document, Dosroom, or Userdata folders to RAM. This reduces the size of my NewDeal installation on RAM to less than 5MB. I have set up a batch file to copy NewDeal from my hard drive to the RAM drive without those folders. For bigger memory savings you can pare away your NewDeal installation by removing the unused printer drivers, video drivers, FS (file system) drivers, mouse drivers, Impex filters, keyboard drivers and screen savers from your SYSTEM folder. Be very careful to not remove the drivers your installation uses. (If you are nervous about deleting them, you can put them in the backup folder in USERDATA).

Please note that except for the option of removing unneeded drivers, nothing is removed from the hard drive installation of NewDeal. You will want to maintain a full version NewDeal on the Hard Drive to copy the virtual installation from, and as a place to install new applications for NewDeal that you want to keep.

The virtual disk driver must be installed from your config.sys file. If you have Windows 95 running on your system, you will want to use RAMDRIVE.SYS which is located in your Windows directory. RAMDRIVE.SYS works well with Win95 but is completely undocumented in the help files. MS has even deleted the DOS help files for RAMDRIVE.

VDISK and Turbodisk (TDSK.exe) do not install properly on Win95 systems.

This line is placed at the end of Config.sys to install RAMDRIVE:

Device=C:\WINewDealWS\ramdrive.Sys 6144 /E
This line is placed at the end of Config.sys to install Turbodisk:
Device=C:\DOS\tdsk.exe 6144 /E
This line is placed at the end of Config.sys to install VDISK:
Device=C:\DOS\vdisk.sys 6144 /E
Of course you will enter the appropriate full path for your system. The /E switch specifies the use of extended memory. You would use the /A switch in the case of expanded memory. I chose 6144 KB (6MB) as the size of my RAM disk because it allows plenty of work space for documents in use. My RAM installation of NewDeal is pared down to only 4.5MB. I recommend using a RAM disk at least 1/2 MB larger than your NewDeal installation, and even larger if you commonly keep many documents open, or work with very large text or graphic files.

You need to add the following lines to the GEOS.INI file (on the hard drive) in order to make the RAM resident NewDeal read and write documents to the hard drive, and to access templates, fonts, help files and other miscellaneous Userdata files that would needlessly take up RAM on the virtual drive. (It does not affect the performance of the hard drive resident NewDeal to have the paths point to their existing locations):

document = c:\newdeal\document 
dosroom = c:\newdeal\dosroom 
userdata = c:\newdeal\userdata
I use the following batch file named MOVE.BAT to copy the executable files of NewDeal to the Ram Disk:
echo off 
rem  the following lines copy the directory structure,
rem  but not files, to the ram drive D (use the letter
rem  designation appropriate for your ram drive) 
md d:\newdeal 
xcopy c:\newdeal d:\newdeal /T /E /Q 
rem  copies the files in the main directory 
copy c:\newdeal\*.* d:\newdeal  
rem  copies the unlinked subdirectories and files 
xcopy c:\newdeal\Privdata d:\newdeal\Privdata /E /Q 
xcopy c:\newdeal\System d:\newdeal\System /E /Q 
xcopy c:\newdeal\World d:\newdeal\World /E /Q
The xcopy switch /Q simply suppresses every file name from being displayed as it is copies, thus speeding up the process. It is not vital. The switch /E is used to include empty subdirectories. The switches /T and /E when used together copy the directories and subdirectories but not the files inside them.

The switches used by xcopy may be different in other DOS's, you can usually find out about your version by entering xcopy /? or xcopy /h at the command line.

This is the batch file I use to launch NewDeal on the Ram Drive. I call it RAM.BAT. Note that after closing NewDeal it updates the permanent geos.ini file. Without this line, any changes made with Preferences or application Options would be lost:

echo off 
rem DOS commands which must be executed before  
rem running NewDeal may be placed here. 
cd newdeal 
echo Loading... 
rem The following line will run NewDeal with  
rem any flags passed to this batch file. 
loader %1 %2 %3 %4 
rem The following line updates geos.ini on the hard
rem drive. 
copy d:\newdeal\geos.ini c:\newdeal\geos.ini /Y 
echo on
If you wish you can have MOVE.BAT run from your autoexec.bat file so that NewDeal is automatically placed on a virtual disk each time you boot up. Note however that the option switches for xcopy will probably behave differently. For example, the /Q switch may not work. For some reason DOS does not always support all the command options when used in config.sys and autoexec.bat.

In Windows 95, I launch the virtual NewDeal via a shortcut to RAM.BAT. I have its Properties set up exactly the same as the regular NewDeal shortcut. I also have a shortcut for MOVE.BAT since I don't have it set up from autoexec.bat to load each time.

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Last Modified 2 Mar 1999