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How to install Eclipse on a RAM drive and make it really fast

Written by Rudy D'hauwe on August 9, 2013.

Many users of Eclipse have been frustrated and have reported performance problems when using the Eclipse Juno 4.2 release. The issues are well documented by the Eclipse team and several major performance defects have been addressed in Juno SR2 (4.2.2). Community members have confirmed that these fixes substantially address the problems with editor and view opening, closing, and switching. All known performance defects were resolved in the Eclipse Kepler 4.3 release stream, which was my primary reason to upgrade as soon as possible.

Nevertheless while waiting for Eclipse 4.3 (released on June 26, 2013), I needed another solution to speed up development. I ended up installing the entire Java development environment including JDK, Eclipse, Maven, Git, and the Java workspace on a RAM drive. It had a dramatically positive effect on performance!

Create and mount the RAM disk

I first created and mounted a 2GB RAM drive image as a disk with drive letter J. If you have enough free RAM, you might want to create a RAM drive of 4GB. My disk is now at 80% used space and growing… I ended up removing the Google App Engine Plugin for Eclipse from my RAM drive (by not using the plugin anymore) which saved about 450MB.

Install a Java Development Kit (JDK)

Before installing Eclipse, I first installed JDK 1.7.0_25 on the RAM disk.

Download and install Eclipse

I downloaded the Eclipse Standard 4.3 Kepler release.

I installed Eclipse by unzipping the downloaded archive to my Eclipse installation directory J:/tools/eclipse-standard-4.3 on the RAM disk.

Pin eclipse.exe to the Windows start bar

Let's start Eclipse.

Start the Eclipse development environment

Specify a default workspace location on the RAM disk.

Now tell Eclipse to use the JDK that we installed on the RAM disk as the standard VM. Go to Window > Preferences > Java > Installed JREs and remove the JRE that Eclipse has currently found and setup as default JRE. Click on “Remove”.

Click on the “Add” button and select the “Standard VM” type of JRE to be added to the Eclipse workspace. Then click on the “Next” button.

Add the standard JDK to the workspace

Browse to the location where we installed the JDK on the RAM drive.


Check the box before the name of the JRE to tell Eclipse this is the default JRE to be used.

Show the heap status of Eclipse

I prefer Eclipse showing it's memory usage. Go to Window > Preferences > General and check the “Show heap status” option.

Start up Eclipse with a JDK

I added the following -vm configuration to the eclipse.ini file that is located in the installation directory of Eclipse. It makes sure Eclipse starts with the JDK and not with the system JRE. Without this option it is impossible to deploy Google App Engine applications.



Here's my full eclipse.ini file.

-Duser.name=Rudy D'hauwe
Written by Rudy D'hauwe | Copyright © 2013-2014 | All rights reserved.