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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Classic Macs and Mac OS > Browser on ram disk with no hard disk usage at all?

Browser on ram disk with no hard disk usage at all?
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Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2002
Status: Offline
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Mar 10, 2002, 12:35 PM

I would like to use a ram disk for browsing so that I can spin down the
hard drive. I have a cube, and then my surfing should be completely silent.
My favorite browswer is Icab.

While I can copy browsers over to the ram disk, as well as the web
cache, there still seems to be hard disk usage related to history and
who knows what else. I can try to make the history zero, but that's
not a great solution. No browser I know of will let you change those
settings from the system preferences folder in an obvious way (from
a menu, etc.). Am I missing something obvious? Is there a not so
obvious way of doing this?

Mac Elite
Join Date: May 1999
Location: San Jose, CA
Status: Offline
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Mar 11, 2002, 10:54 PM
The chances are that the programs are saving the history, etc. in your home directory (at least, this is where I HOPE they're saving it). iCab, for example, stores its preferences at:

~/Library/Preferences/iCab\ Preferences

It shouldn't be too hard to create symlinks from there to your ram disk:

ln -s /Library/Preferences/iCab\ Preferences /Volumes/Ram\ Disk/iCab Preferences

However, expect problems if you crash and lose the ram disk- you'll lose all your settings. You might want to backup your current settings and use a script in your .profile to copy the backed up settings to the ram disk each time you startup.
Gods don't kill people - people with Gods kill people.
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Mar 12, 2002, 11:00 AM

Thanks, but I'm not using X, so I don't think I can link that way.

When I turn off the history (ouch - turning it off clears it), it still accesses the disk. I assumed that it would access preferences, etc., at startup, but it still accesses the disk during web activity. Icab also has an image cache that seems to be separate from the web cache. I could try turning that off too, but I think some fundamentally different approach is needed. I also tried a few other browsers, and they all seem to be tethered to their preferences folder even after turning everything off.

In the old days, you could load the ram disk with a minimal system and software and run from there. With 1.5gigs on my machine, that's more practical than ever. But is that still possible or advisable?

Any other ideas? Simply copying the preferences over to the ram disk doesn't help, of course. Could I make an alias for the preferences in the system folder and move them to the ram disk (with a copy on disk as a backup)?

Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Camarillo, CA
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Apr 12, 2002, 05:28 PM
Since I don't use iCab I'm not sure if this is even possible, but I believe it would be the only solution.

You essentially would need to reconfigure iCab to use the preference folder on your ram disk. Most programs don't allow this to be configured. Some allow some to be reconfigured, Like IE will let me change the location of my web cashe, however it will not allow me to change the location of all the preference files.

I suppose it *might* be possible to reconfigure the program using ResEdit, but I doubt it would be possible.

Using an alias of the preferences will not fix the problem, because the program will still access the alias file before redirecting, effectively still reading the hard drive...
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