Back in the early days of home computing, hard drives were not a common piece of hardware for many users. Many home users would find themselves with stacks of delicate floppies, which were all-too-easily damaged.

What didn't help matters was that many machines had only a single floppy drive. This lead to a long and annoying process whenever one wished to copy a disk, even more so when multiple copies were required. Put source disk in, copy the files, put destination disk in, wait for the files to copy across... it was enough to drive a young techie mad. Often, a RAM disc was the solution to the problem. Allocating an area of RAM to be used for file storage was a wonderful idea - now all one had to do was copy the files there, and they would stay until deleted or the power was switched off.

Acorn's early Archimedes computers, such as the A3000, were commonplace in schools. Of course, they didn't have a hard drive by default. Luckily, on RISC OS, a RAM disc is ludicrously easy to create, and even today remains rather useful for when faster-than-disk access is required.

Presenting: How to create a RAM disc on RISC OS

  1. Ensure RISC OS is booted and the WIMP is active. (If not, either run *desktop or power cycle the machine.)
  2. Access the task manager by either double-clicking the Acorn/Archimedes logo on the icon bar, or menu-clicking choosing Task Display.
  3. Scroll down to System memory allocation. You should see an entry for RAM disc.
  4. Click just to the right of this entry, in the space for the bars showing memory usage. Drag to the right until you see a red bar appearing in this space.
  5. Adjust this until you've created a RAM disc of the right size. (You can see how large it is in the column to the left).
  6. Close Tasks and check the icon bar. If all's well, a memory chip icon should have appeared with your drives under RamFS.
  7. Get making illicit copies of Lemmings.

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