When you are publishing this format Help+Manual generates a temporary folder for the intermediate source files that are used to create the final output. These are all the files that go into your final documentation, including the graphics. You can optimize publishing speed for large projects by changing the location of these temporary files and whether they are deleted or not between publishing operations.
Similarly, optimizing the location of your output folder and the project itself can also speed up publication by reducing the time required to write all the necessary files.
If you disable the option for deleting the temporary files after publishing this can sometimes quite significantly speed up subsequent publish operations for the same project. This is because the graphics that have not changed in the project no longer need to be re-generated. This effect will be particularly pronounced if you have a lot of graphics in your project that you have resized in the HM editor.
A RAM drive is a virtual, volatile hard disk created in the computer's memory that provides maximum access speeds. Its contents disappear when you shut down or restart your computer, so it may not provide the benefits of not deleting your temporary files (see above) between sessions. Also, this means that RAM drives should never be used as your output folder, because their contents disappear much too easily.
If you use one it must be large enough to accommodate all the files you write while publishing and you need to be very careful that it does not fill up completely while you are publishing, otherwise you will get errors. Instructions for how to do this go beyond the scope of this documentation. Generally you will need a special software utility to set up a RAM drive.
Never use RAM drives for your output folder!
This is important, so we're going to repeat it: The contents of RAM drives disappear as soon as you shut down or restart your computer. So you should only ever use them for temporary files, never for your output folders!
A RAM drive can improve performance if you only have spinning hard disks
RAM drives are much faster than spinning hard drives so if you don't have an SSD it can be worth it to set up a RAM drive for your temporary publishing files, if you have enough memory. However, an even better solution is to get a modern SSD because that will radically improve the performance of your entire system.
Don't bother with a RAM drive if you have a fast SSD
RAM drives are much faster than spinning hard drives but only marginally faster than SSDs for Help+Manual publishing. If you have a fast SSD, setting up a RAM drive will almost never provide a noticeable improvement, so it is not worth the effort then.
Optimizing the locations of your project, temporary files and output folders can all speed up publishing.
Best solution all round: Everything on a fast local SSD
For the fastest possible publishing speed your project, temporary files folder and output folder should all be on a fast local SSD on the computer where Help+Manual is running. Then there are no network transfers during publishing and everything can run at maximum speed.
Best solution for network projects: Temporary files on a fast local SSD
If you are working on a collaborative project then it must be on a network drive. In this case you can still improve performance a lot by putting your temporary files on a fast local SSD on the computer where Help+Manual is running to publish the project. Having the output folder on the local drive will also improve performance, but not as much as having the temporary files there.
How to change the temp files folder location
You can find the setting in the Compilers section of the main program options, in View > Program Options > Compilers. The setting applies to all output formats that use temporary files before (CHM, ePUB, Kindle, eWriter, Visual Studio help). The temporary files are written in sub-folders with names based on the project name and the output format.
On current Windows systems interactive virus checking is performed on every file being written and can significantly increase the time it takes to generate your published output. Excluding your output folder and temp files folder from virus checking can speed up publication of large projects very significantly.
First set up a specific folder where your temporary files will be written (see above). If possible, also set up a folder where you always write your output files. This can contain multiple sub-folders for your different output requirements. Then you can configure your virus checker to exclude these folders from checking.
The instructions below explain how to do this for Windows' own integrated Windows Defender or Security Essentials virus checking. If you are using a commercial solution you will need to consult your virus checker's documentation to learn how to exclude folders from checking. Note that commercial virus checkers often slow down your system much more than Windows' own solution.
Excluding your output and temp folders from Windows Defender or Windows Security Essentials
1.Open Windows Defender (or Security Essentials on older versions of Windows).
2.Select the Settings tab and then on the left select Excluded files and locations.
3.Click on the Browse button on the right and select the folder you want to exclude.
4.Click on the Add button to add the selected folder to the exclusions, then select the option at the bottom of the dialog to save your settings.