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Nov 30, 2011, 10:32 PM by Ratio in Technology

You should probably read this a few times and make sure you're comfortable with the methodology before doing this. Creating symbolic links is gone over in more detail in the SSD entry.

I'm going to outline the plan first so that hopefully the steps to complete the plan make more sense when they come up.

In the current build, the cache files are stored in %HOMEPATH%\AppData\Local\SWTOR\betatest (This will change, of course, but the process will be the sae with a differently named folder. I will update this when that occurs.)

We want to take that folder (betatest) and symbolically link it to the root of a RAM Disk. That will make the entire RAM Disk behave like the folder betatest and any requests to that folder for reads or writes will be done to the RAM Disk, making the cache file read/writes stupidly fast.

Next we need to move two folders inside of betatest back to near their original location since they're filled with things that receive little benefit from a speedy cache and, over time, will fill up the RAM Disk and make it useless for its intended purpose.

The two folders we want to move back and symlink are "settings" and "logs". I'll be creating a new folder called backlinks in %HOMEPATH%\AppData\Local\SWTOR\ because the name has to be different since we can't symlink a circle and it would cause havoc if we could.

About RAM usage... I'll add this part later for those that are concerned about eating up their RAM with a RAM Disk.

On to the mechanics.

The cheapest (free) and easiest to use RAM Disk for 4GB and under is probably Dataram RAMDisk. Download the freeware version, install it, then run the setup. (If you want a bigger RAM Disk, pay the license fee.)

Run the configuration utility (in you start menu). For a 2GB RAM Disk...

If you want to save the RAM Disk state across computer resarts (RAM Disks are volatile) then...

Hit Start RAMDisk. You'll have an error come up about not being able to load the image. This is normal for the first time startup...

Once this message comes up at the bottom: "RAMDISK started successfully", then you're ready to move on.

Open Computer Management (type it in your start menu or right-click My Computer and hit Manage...) and select Disk Management. An automatic pop-up will appear:

Choose MBR and hit OK.

Once the volume is in your disk list, right click it and select New Simple Volume...

I use drive letter R: for RAM, but feel free to use whatever letter strikes your fancy.

Format it as NTFS, change the label if you feel like it, and enable compression. The drive is so fast that the compression overhead is unnoticeable.

This is where it gets hinky, so read it twice. :)

1. Open two explorer windows and move copy the contents of the betatest folder (%HOMEPATH%\AppData\Local\SWTOR\betatest) to your RAM Disk.
2. Then go back and delete your original betatest folder.
3. Add a symlink in %HOMEPATH%\AppData\Local\SWTOR\ that goes from betatest to your RAM Disk.
4. Create a new folder in %HOMEPATH%\AppData\Local\SWTOR\ called "backlinks".
5. Go to your RAM Disk and copy the folders "settings" and "logs" into the folder the new folder (%HOMEPATH%\AppData\Local\SWTOR\backlinks).
6. Go back to your RAM Disk and delete the folders "settings" and "logs" and create symlinks from your RAM Disk to %HOMEPATH%\AppData\Local\SWTOR\backlinks\settings and %HOMEPATH%\AppData\Local\SWTOR\backlinks\logs, naming the symlinks settings and logs, respectively.

Here's the commands I used. Yours should be relatively similar, though paths may be different:

If you do it right, your %HOMEPATH%\AppData\Local\SWTOR\ folder should look something like:

Your %HOMEPATH%\AppData\Local\SWTOR\backlinks folder should look something like:

And your RAM Disk should look something like:

Some notes.

Creating the RAM Disk this way may add 30 seconds or so to your boot and shutdown times if you don't have NTFS on the drive where you're saving the image, since the drive has to be saved and loaded on each shutdown and boot up. (If you have NTFS, the file is automatically compressed by Dataram RAMDisk. Obviously, you may also have this issue if you aren't using the same RAM Disk software.) This can be mitigated. What you need to do is this:

1. Delete everything from the RAM Disk except the symlinks to "settings" and "logs".
2. 3. Click "Save Disk Image Now" - this will save the disk image with only the symlinks in it which take up barely any room at all.
3. Go into the RAM Disk configuration utility and uncheck "Save Disk Image on Shutdown".
4. Move your image file (RAMDisk.img) into a sub-folder on the drive you have it stored in. For instance, if your img file is "D:\RAMDisk.img" move it to "D:\RAMDisk\RAMDisk.img".
5. Notice that current RAMDisk.img file is the full size of your RAM Disk, even though there's barely anything on your RAM Disk.
6. Enable compression on the folder that contains your image file. (In this example, right click on D:\RAMDisk, click Properties, hit Advanced, check Compress contents to save disk space, then OK, Apply, etc.)
7. If you look at the image file now, it will still look like it's taking up 2GB, but if you right-click it and check its size on disk, it should be something like 50MB. This will make the boot up hit nearly unnoticeable (about 1-2 seconds at most).

0 people liked this topic

Blink - Dec 19, 2011, 07:21 PM
[driveletter]:\Program Files (x86)\Electronic Arts\BioWare\Star Wars-The Old Republic\swtor is the new location for the cache file

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