ramBunctious: A Better RAM Disk for the Classic Mac OS

I’ve been using ramBunctious for years and have mentioned it several times in my writing, but I never got around to writing a review until now. Why now? Because as I migrate to Mac OS X, I have to leave ramBunctious behind. I will miss it – a lot.

ramBunctious is probably the best RAM disk software for the Mac and definitely worth the additional cost compared with Apple’s free RAM Disk (in the Memory control panel). Unlike Apple’s no-cost solution, ramBunctious lets you launch and close RAM disks on the fly, and it can automatically back up the contents of your RAM disk to a hard drive or removable media drive at shutdown, at a chosen interval, or every time you change any data on your RAM disk.

I’ve been using a 128 MB RAM disk with all my current and recent site files for Low End Mac as well as some other projects. I kept the image file in the Startup Items folder, so every time I started my Titanium PowerBook G4, it would launch. I also had a smaller RAM disk that used for my iCab and IE caches.

RAM disks are fast, and according to Clarkwood Software, ramBunctious is generally the fastest. After experimenting with it a bit several years ago, I decided it was definitely worth the shareware fee and became a registered owner.

One great trick was keeping a ramBunctious disk image of my Low End Mac files on a Zip disk, which I could use on both my home and work computers. Double-click the icon, load the RAM disk, and have virtually instant access to any file.

This has been especially nice in conjunction with programs such as BBEdit Lite, which can search through hundreds and thousands of files as fast as it can load them, look for a search string, and replace it. I’ll miss that speed now that I’ve retired my copy of ramBunctious.

Like most “classic” apps, ramBunctious works in Classic Mode under Mac OS X. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the RAM disks it creates are invisible to OS X. Only Classic apps can access them, but nothing OS X-native.

I just can’t work without access to my files in my main OS. Going to OS X means copying all my files to my hard drive so I can access them in both native OS X apps and in Classic Mode.

I’m really going to miss the speed and power of ramBunctious. If you’re still using the Classic Mac OS (the current version supports OS 8.6-9.2.x, and version 1.5 works with System 7.x and later as well as 680×0 Macs) and want to squeeze some more speed out of your system, using a RAM disk managed by ramBunctious might be just the trick.

For more on OS X and RAM disks, see Why OS X Doesn’t Need a RAM Disk.

Update: ramBunctious 2 was developed for Mac OS X and supports OS X 10.3 Panther “and later”. It sells for $25 and appears to have been last updated in 2005.

  • ramBunctious 1.6 requires Mac OS 8.6 through 9.2.2 and supports Classic Mode.
  • ramBunctious 1.5 requires System 7 and supports 680×0 Macs.

Keywords: #ramdisk #macramdisk

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