FILE: Ramdisk.sys sample driver for Windows 2000

This article applies to Windows 2000. Support for Windows 2000 ends on July 13, 2010. The Windows 2000 End-of-Support Solution Center is a starting point for planning your migration strategy from Windows 2000. For more information see the Microsoft Support Lifecycle Policy.


Ramdisk is a sample that demonstrates a software-only Windows(r) 2000 device driver. This driver creates a RAM disk drive of a specified size. You can use this Ramdisk like any other disk, but the contents of the disk are lost when you shut down the computer. (Generally, the Windows(r) 2000 cache manager does a much better job of optimizing memory usage than Ramdisk does.)

The driver-building and installation instructions in this article apply only to Windows(r) 2000.

NOTE: This sample provides an example of a minimal driver. Neither the driver nor the sample programs are intended for use in a production environment. Rather, they are intended for educational purposes and as a skeletal version of a driver.

More Information

The following file is available for download from the Microsoft Download Center:
Release Date: April 6, 2000

For additional information about how to download Microsoft Support files, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
119591 How to obtain Microsoft support files from online services
Microsoft scanned this file for viruses. Microsoft used the most current virus-detection software that was available on the date that the file was posted. The file is stored on security-enhanced servers that help to prevent any unauthorized changes to the file.
The Ramdisk.exe file contains the following files:

File Description

Ramdisk.c Source file for the Ramdisk sample driver
Pnp.c Source file that handles the PnP IRPs
Ramdisk.h Include file that contains the Ramdisk structures
Debug.h Include file that contains the debug print definition
Sources Generic file for building the code sample
Makefile Standard Windows 2000 makefile
Ramdisk.inf Installation file for installing the driver
Ramdisk.htm Sample Tour documentation for this sample
Ramdisk.sys Windows 2000 driver file (free build)

Build the Sample

Click the Free Build Environment or Checked Build Environment icon under your Development Kits program group to set basic environment variables that are needed by the build utility.

Change to the directory that contains the device source code, with a command such as CD C:\Drivers\Ramdisk.

Run build -ceZ, or use the macro BLD. This invokes the Microsoft make routines that produce log files called Buildxxx.log, and also Buildxxx.wrn and Buildxxx.err if there are any warnings or errors, where xxx stands for "fre" or "chk", depending on the environment chosen. If the build succeeds, the driver Ramdisk.sys file is placed in a platform specific subfolder of your %TargetPath% folder, which is specified in the Sources file.

Install the Sample

To install the driver:

  1. In Control Panel, double-click to start the Add/Remove Hardware utility.
  2. Select Add/Troubleshoot a device.
  3. Select Add a new device.
  4. Select No, I want to select the hardware from a list.
  5. Select Other devices, and then click Next.
  6. Click the Have Disk button and point to the folder that contains the Ramdisk.inf file.
The system copies the Ramdisk.sys file to %Systemroot%\System32\Drivers folder and loads the driver.

Configure the Ramdisk Drive

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

You can use the registry to configure Ramdisk. The Ramdisk.inf file contains the default values for all the configurable parameters. A brief description of each parameter follows:

BreakOnEntry REG_DWORD 0
This is Boolean value that determines whether a break point is generated during the DriverEntry routine. It has no effect in a free build of the driver.
DebugLevel REG_DWORD 0
This value specifies the level of diagnostic messages produced. Larger values result in more verbose messages. It can take values from 0 to 3. It has no effect in a free build of the driver.
This value specifies the components in which the debug messages are printed. Each bit specifies the component. See Debug.h for a component list. It has no effect in a free build of the driver.
DiskSize REG_DWORD 0x100000 (1,048,576 1Mb)
This value is the size of the Ramdisk drive in bytes.
DriveLetter REG_SZ Z:
This is the default drive letter associated with the Ramdisk drive.
RootDirEntries REG_DWORD 512
This is the number of entries in the root directory.
SectorsPerCluster REG_DWORD 2
This is the granularity of the allocation unit.
Windows XP Update:

Installing the Ramdisk sample driver in a NTFS only machine might make it unusable. To resolve this problem make the following change:

While you call the IoCreateDevice function (RamdiskAddDevice function in pnp.c), change the device type from FILE_DEVICE_VIRTUAL_DISK to FILE_DEVICE_DISK and recompile the driver. After you install the driver, restart the system in order to access the Ramdisk through Explorer.

Warning Installing Ramdisk in Windows XP may render the System Restore feature useless.


Microsoft Windows 2000 Driver Development Kit

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