More then 3gb ram on a 32bit OS? [Solved/Closed]

 kyle - amature computer technician -
I would like to run 4 gigs PC5300 on a 32bit OS. Is it possible?
I am currently running Windows Vista Ultimate. However, from everything that I know, 32bit OS will only recognize 3gigs of ram.

31 replies

[copy of post]

The answer to this question is so simple, it begs the question how so many intelligent people who all spout technical jargon like a second language, haven't figured it out yet.

The performance benefits are pretty severe, and immediate. So lets see.. with the danger of sounding unintelligent by explaining this so anyone can understand, forgive the layman terminology.

1) Microsoft 32bit systems like XP have a limit on how much RAM they can utilize.
2) Get ( Ramdisk Plus for $34.95 (otherwise you're throwing money out by not using your extra RAM anyway :P)
3) If like me, you have 8GB RAM, the BIOS should register around 8192MB.. 1MB allocated to BIOS, 2900MB for Windows.. that leaves 4-5GB available to set as a Ramdisk - eg. Z:\
* In Ramdisk Plus you have to allocated 'unmanaged' RAM otherwise it will try to use the RAM Windows is using.
4) Open System Properties (right-click My Computer on Desktop) --> Advanced --> Performance [Settings] --> Advanced tab --> Virtual Memory [Change] -->Click your Hard Drives and check "No Paging File" then "set" .. Click Z:\ (Ram Disk) and choose Custom Size -- Initial Size 5000, Maximum Size 5000 (can't be bigger than your Ram Disk) or choose 'System Managed Size'
* When you exit it may ask you to restart the computer. You can do this after step 5.
5) Start -- Run -- Regedit [open] goto HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE --> SYSTEM --> CurrentControlSet --> Control --> Session Manager --> Memory Management --> [doubleclick] ClearPageFileAtShutdown and change option to "1" and click OK. The reason being the RAM will be purged when you power off, and there's no point with the system thinking the Pagefile will be available cached at boot.

You can set Z:\ to be used for temporary files, like Winrar, Firefox, Photoshop etc. It's up to you to decide how big the Swap File should be, if at all you want to use it. I just did this the other day, and the performance increase is amazing. And I'm using my extra RAM that all the [i]experts[/i] said I 'couldn't'.

Good Luck !

AMD Athlon 6400 x2 Black Edition
8GB DDR2 6400
Dual 8800 GT SLI
Thank you

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How can I create that Ram Disk? Because when I try to configure unmanaged memory, and check 'Enable use of unmanaged memory' it doesn't let me... it says 'Unable t oset unmanaged memory properties. Code: 31'. It doesn't matter if I check 'Ignore system management BIOS value' it still gives the same message... please help!
I'm using Windows XP Pro SP2 and I have 4 GB memory
> Gabesz
Windows is managing all of the 4GB.
sounds like someone is selling a product. A always skip through the advertisements when I watch tv. lol
also you can just go buy xp 64 bit for $30.00. lol
I wonderedwhy this has not become the default way to use up to 8 gig of memory on 32 bit OS
First I would like to clarify one thing and that is a 32bit operating system compare to a 64bit operating is not much of an improvement. Granted you do receive 100 percent improvements in applications created specifically for 64bit operating systems. Other than that everything else is the same on a 32bit operating system if not worse.

Most of you peeps that posted in this thread talk about how 64bit is great and that it can recognize more memory than a 32bit operating system. Yeah! Your right about recognizing more memory but you are so dead wrong about how a 64bit operating system is the way to go. A 64bit operating system can address more memory than a 32bit operating system; however it also has its limitations as well. Just because you switched from a 32bit to a 64bit operating system does not mean everything is 100 percent better nor does it mean you are getting the full 64bit addressing power. When a 64bit operating system runs a 32bit application this is where it falls below the 32bit operating system, because now the 64bit operating system has to configure itself to run the 32bit application. This in all cases makes the 64bit run worse if not worse than a 32bit operating system. It is like a program that should run on a CPU that uses 32bit registers but the program was made with the maximum of 16bits variables. Since the CPU was made to run with 32bit registers and to access 32bit memory space, the CPU must now down grade itself to access these 16bit addressing type modes, which in turn causes overhead execution time.
When an application is specifically made for a specific CPU as well as for the specific operating system, this is where the true power comes in.

As you all should know, most applications created these days and in the past 20 years were created for 32bit operating systems. This is where 32bit over-rules 64bit operating systems. Still today the majority of applications are created for the 32bit operating systems and some state they are made for 64bit operating systems as well, but they are actually created using 32bit addressing code, which in turn makes your 64bit run like a 32bit if not worse.

As for memory usages I do not see how you peeps would love to have a system that runs and recognize over 4 gigs of ram. I bet the majority of you peeps that had 32bit operating systems did not even come close to utilizing the entire 1g or 2g sticks of ram. If you did, then you must be a person that does not know programs as well as the operating systems. It is like me running two programs at the same time such as Ableton Live and 3D Max on an operating system with 1g of ram.

That is why small businesses and big corporations have more than one computer to perform 1 or 2 specific tasks. Anyone that runs more than 3 hungry memory applications on their system is a person who does not know anything about the program they are running or for that matter their operating system. It is like me running a two servers which runs two stores and I at the same time running photo shop and chatting with friends on aim with an operating system having only 2gs of ram.

In short a 32bit operating system and a 64bit operating are great if you use them for what they were made for and nothing else.

As for your question keshihba:

Yes! You can run a 32bit Xp system with your specs, however take note that your CPU is meant for a 64bit operating system, therefore you will be down grading your system if you switch to a 32bit operating system. As for the drivers if they have a name along with the x64 abbreviation, then they are meant for 64bit systems, else they would be listed having a name and an abbreviation of x86 after them for a 32bit system. So make sure you install your x64bit drivers even if you decide to run a 32bit system this is very important.

My advice to you is give the Xp 64bit a try, you may benefit from such an operating system compared to the new 7 windows.

Hmmmm .... "you peeps" .... "you peeps" .... "you peeps". When you come to your senses, sign up for Arrogance Anonymous. Then for controlling your urge for repetitive redundancies, enroll in .... oh, never mind, just shut up.
Is it me or do half the people posting here there Grammer just fails also you guys need to Relize you need a 64-bit OS just to use the 4 gigs
Kind sir, please check your own grammar before criticizing other people
Hey Mr English Major! Before you jump on others ability to write, you might want to look up the difference between 'there' and 'their'.
grammEr? hahahahahaha
strange how people get bitchy over spelling, as long as you know what they mean there should be no problem
Ahem, let's revisit grammer school:

Their - shows ownership: their class, their clothes.
There - shows a place: put it over there.
They're - a contraction of two words: they + are, as in "They're coming over for dinner.

same problem
but iam solving it
i download new version for my bios then read from 3 to 4 GB
and download service pack 1 and read from 3 to 4
but have 1 problem when I run dxdiag read 3
and when press Alt Ctrl DEl and see ram performance see 3062
can any body help me to solve this problem
sent to me in my email
as you all know serv. pack 1 for vista magically starts seeing 4 gigs of ram for the 32 bit system. This is just some junk that windows did to cool down all of the hot heads that would just be calmed by seeing 4 gigs on there system info (that is for there os). Ok first you need to go to start task manager (ctrl + alt + Delete) and from there performance. This is where you see that windows 32 bit still only recognizes only around 3. something gigs.... still.
Is it me or do half the people posting here there Grammer just fails
"Is it me or do half the people posting here there Grammer just fails"

Are you sure you aren't referring about yourself with that comment?
referring to your self,,, not about yourself.
goooood question
Registration date
Friday August 15, 2008
Last seen
May 19, 2009
hey there,

yes it will only detect 3gigs of memory but will use the 4gb ram module
The simplest way to fix this is to get yourself a 64bit OS. Easy
I had the same problem, all you need to do is to download Vista Service Pack 1 from the Microsoft Website, install it and I will detect the 4 GB worked for me!

I have a machine with the 32 also with Vista also..
Do you have to take out the 3GB and replace with two new 2GB of memory?

it detects the actual amount of RAM installed but you still dont get 2 utilise it fully.....basically u're still stuck with 3GB
I have the same problem,
I have 4GIG of ram and with my onboard VGA it shows as 3.4 GB,
Then I installed a 1 GIG nvidia 9500 GT VGA card.
And now my ram shows as only 3 gig,

and my BOIS detect all 4096 of ram
and the software called PC Wizzart, that's also detect my 4 GIG of ram,

Only Vista don't recognize them,
Please tell me what to do????
> Nuwan
yes and no!!!! everyone has to check to see if they have the 32 bit windows OS or the 64 bit windows OS.... 32 bit will only recognize up to 3.5 GB of RAM.... 64 bit will do 24 GB+!!!!
> someONEgood
what are u talking about? I have 32 bit vista ,4 gb of memory + 1 gb video card.My TOTAL MEMORY is 3.25gb and available memory is 2.41gb at the means that the part that windows keeps for itself is 0.84gb(3.25-2.41)
But where is my 0.75 gb of memory then?(4.00-3.25)
> someONEgood
silliest answer ever

hope you will be f9. the same problem I faced in windows vista bt with builten vga... then I go in bios and decrease the memroy share for vga.. then it will okay...
bt the windows vista share automatic to Graphics and you ram will decreas. if you want to know.
then just wirte in run dxdiag.
then select display.. you wil know that how much mb of ram share to vga....
i have find the solution for builten vga. not for unbuilten...
thank you..

just saying .... that 1gb of virtual memory you installed from your video card is now taking the other 1gb ram you had an cancling it out. due to the physical addressing space available. you may need to upgrade bios or change your cpu/mobo companants

I had xp64 on my comp and it had a lot of bugs in I decided to put vista (32bit) on over the 64 bit xp, well at first it only detected 3gigs when I went through the download process, but now that its installed it detects 8gigs on my 32bit Vista OS and its flippin sweet!!! Dont know how or why, but am very happy its doing so!!!
Gabesz, I can't find much information on your error message. As you only have 4GB RAM, I hope you're only either trying to set a 768MB or 1024MB Ramdisk. If the RAM is registered by the BIOS, the software should load Ramdisks of those values no problem.

Also, try turning off your Ramdisks before switching the Unmanaged Memory setting. -Cheers
I currently own an alienware m9750

Vista ultimate 32 bit os
intel core 2 cpu (2.33ghz x 2)
4gb ram
and dual 512mb nvidia geforce 8700M with sLi

now... I know vista cannot really pick up 4gb of ram
and that sp1 enables it to be only (shown) in windows
yet when I run dxdiag I am getting only 2814mb

but I also know vista should pick up at least 3.2 - 3.5 gb

just wondering how to get vista to detect that extra little bit cause even that would make a big difference

i shouldnt be picking up under 3 gb's of ram, it should show 3 or more
For information on why 32 bit operating systems don't see all of the 4Gb of RAM or more you may have installed read
I had the almost same problem.

first I got a PC with config of,

2.2 duo core processor,
256 on board VGA and
Vista Ultimate 32 bit

and my vista showed my ram as 3.5 GB

then I upgraded my VGA to nvidia 9500 GT 1 GB and after I intall that VGA card my vista start to show only 3.2 GB or RAM.
And then I installed the vista SP1 and now my vista show total 4 GB of RAM but performance same as when it shows 3.2

so what i'm thinking is vista SP1 only show 4 GB of ram, but it don't use total 4 GB RAM.
so 4 GB is cool if you are using 64 bit OS, if you use 32 bit, go for 3 GB so it won't waste your money I guess.
The 2.8GB reported is really about 3GB with some lost overhead for wsome IO device. The other 1GB is your dual 512MB video cards.

Remember that the 4GB limit in a 32bit OS is the memory MAP, not the physical RAM.

As has been stated correctly a couple of times in this thread, the map includes all of the device memory and then includes your physical RAM ... up to 4GB total.
read message 22...

if your vista sees only 2.8-2.9GB, it's beacause your system adresses 4GB of memory, starting by the memory installed on various devices you use. Your dual vid cards have a good 1GB memory, and that one is adressed before the system memory (otherwise, you'd have no display) just that brings down to 3GB the total amount of memory your windows can see.

It's not just windows, it's a 32bit limitation, and those OS who do see more simply don't use 32bit adressing
This matter not only with Windows Vista, This matter comes with all 32 bit OS,

Please see this link for more details :

hope this will help you all guys! a huge noob when it comes to computers...and i've been shopping around for a computer....anyways...i was recently told that a an intel dual core E7400 processor would not detect 4gb ram.....i always thought that was an OS issue and not a processor one.....can someone please confirm or debunk this for me
Of cource Tru,
It is not an issue with your CPU,
If you are using any 32 bit OS, it won't detect all 4 GB, only 3 GB or 3.2 or like that.
so do not worry about your processor. If you really need to get your all 4 GB of RAM, try by installing 64 bit OS,
64 bit OS can address to huge abount of RAM.

Hope this will help you,
happy computing...
Aparently my mother board has a 2gb max capacity, been reading that I might be able to squeeze bit of ram by allocating the pagefile.sys to another partition, as my slimshit has compactflashII slots built in I was thinking in buy about 4gb FC and use it as hard drive either for pagefile and readyboost .

Any ideas?
Hi I'm new to this discussion, I currently have 4 x 1 GB sticks and a 1 GB gpu, installed on a asus p5n? with a e6300. obviously I can remove an unused 1 Gb of ram. can I simply remove the sinle stick from a 4 slot board or will I bottle neck. should I perhaps remove 2 x 1 and install 2 x 512.
As my experience, you can remove 1 stick from a slot and no need to place 2 x 512 again.
just remove one RAM stick from a RAM slot. it will be fine. so you can work with 3 GB or RAM
and aslo it's okay to leave it like as it is now too.
it won't harm or show down your PC by leaving all 4 RAM sticks on the board.
I have a clevo m570ru laptop with a single 8800m gtx installed, 4gb and 32-bit Vista Home Premium.

One day it said I had about 3.2gb free memory of that 4gb total - Makes sense, considering the 32-bit limitations and reserved OS space. However, the 8800m gtx fried and had to be RMA'ed for a new one, and since I've had the laptop back from the RMA it shows I only have 2557/2558mb free memory?!?

So I've lost just over half a gig of usable memory, and there's no explanation of where it went. Not best pleased, tbh, as I use this laptop for programming, 3d modelling and photoshop work, so that 'lost' memory is quite missed :(

Anyone here got and ideas in the way of what-the-hell-happened? :P :)

Thanks in advance for any help!
I had an experience something same as yours, which is,
first I got a pc with 4 GB RAM and onboard 256 VGA,
and while I work with onboard VGA, my vista shows 3.2 as RAM.
and then I intalled a nvidia 9500 GT 1 GB VGA and then my vista start to show only 3 GB of RAM.
and then I was thinking what the heck is this happend and then I installed vista service pack 1.
voila, now my vista shows whole 4 GB of my RAM but performaces hasn't changed.(but games faster because of VGA)
that because vista only show 4 GB but 32 bit OS not address to whole 4 GB ram.

so try installing vista service pack 1 and see.

Good luck!
> Nuwan

Thanks for trying to help, but I think my scenario is different.

I'm not referring to whether Vista detects all 4gb of Ram, because I know it does. I am reffering to where it says "Total Physical Memory" in the System Information viewer, or where it says "Memory" on the "System" tab in dxdiag and "Physical Memory (MB) : Total" in task manager.

In all these locations it used to say I had around 3.1-3.2gb of useable memory available, which would make sense because there is not enough hardware present on the my laptop to consume the entire 800-ish mb reserved for the OS and take me below the fixed 3.1-3.2gb limit enforced by Vista. It was only after I had my laptop back from an RMA, that this changed to 2557/2558mb in all these locations. I only had a new 8800m GTX put in to replace the original 'dead' 8800m GTX. So, there's no new gpu in - just the same one as before.

Strange :S
> dogdirt2000
No matter what kind of hardware you have, and if you have 4 GB physical memory, (let's say 2 GB x 2 RAM cards)
vista only refer to 3 - 3.2 GB max,
but still you have 4 GB of physical memory.
hit Ctrl+Alt+Delete and see in the performance tab and memory section, for how much memory OS refer to.
> Nuwan
I know that - I know all about the 32-bit addressing capabilities with any 32-bit OS, and I think I've already made it clear that I know Vista reserves 900mb (and allows MMIO for any hardware with memory to use this reserved space) leaving only 3.12gb usable memory.

My laptop used to show me having 3.12gb useable memory (I expected this due to what I've said above and in prior posts). My problem is that I had to send it back on an RMA due to a faulty 8800m gtx 512mb gpu, but when received it back with a replacement 8800m gtx 512mb gpu, it is now showing I have only 2557/2558mb usable instead of the expected 3.12gb I had before the RMA.

As nothing has changed within my laptop apart from removing one 512mb gpu for another 512mb gpu, there is no reason to have lost just over 600mb usable memory. I know for a fact that there isn't enough hardware in my laptop to use up all of the reserved address space provided with Vista, let alone an additional 600-ish mb on top of that.
> Nuwan
I have a very very similar problem I use SLI configuration 2 Nvidia 8600 gts 256mb with 4 gigs of ram it should show up at least 2.9-3.2 gigs or something but I am only getting 2557-2558 I think this must be some glitch or something
My Specs: q6600 core 2 quad @ 3.6 GHZ, 4gb DDR2 800, GTX285 1GB, on vista ultimate 32bit, service pack 1 and all the latest upadates. picks up 4gb in windows, 3gb in dxdiag. I'm a gamer and the 32bit OS is a bad choice for gamers. Only solution was to go vista 64bit. I didn't notice much in games coz I had good enough frame rates. I've seen a big difference in benchmarks. every little counts.
The facts are:

Any 32-bit operating system can address (the way the operating system "points" the CPU to the piece of memory it wants to use at any given time) 4GB of RAM, although Microsoft has artificially limited some versions of Vista to less.

Parts of the computer that must store information, such as video cards, network cards, legacy serial, parallel and PS/2 ports, sound cards, and practically every other component on your motherboard or any add-in card take up some of that 4GB address space.

The part of that 4GB address space cannot be used to "point" to the physical RAM in your computer, so if you have a fancy Alienware laptop with dual 1GB video cards and a 32bit XP, Vista, Linux, or whatever, you've lost 2GB right there and might as well only have 2GB of physical RAM installed.

This is why many BIOSes will say "4096MB installed, 3347MB addressable" as in the case of my laptop (note that word, addressable, that means 3347MB of the 4GB a 32-bit operating system can address is available, and the rest of the addresses are used for hardware components like the video cards).

This is also why Alienware prefers to ship 64-bit Vista on their laptops, although you can select 32-bit if you want.

Remember, though, that RAM is really cheap now, especially DDR2 laptop RAM. I just (literaly in the last hour) put 4GB in my laptop. It cost $60 bucks when I ordered it 3 days ago by mail, shipping included. If you can get 3347MB out of 4GB, and you upgraded from 2GB, that means you still have 1347MB more than you had before, and since it is matched RAM (2 identical 2GB modules instead of 1x1GB and 1x2GB), it is operating at the maximum speed of your computer instead of some reduced speed due to not having matched RAM sticks.

Additionally, the only reason Mr. Advertiser up near the beginning of this blog is able to trick his computer into using some RAM as a RAMdisk is because he has 8GB - a full 4GB used by the operating system for RAM+hardware devices, and the other 4GB used by this trick program to pretend it's a hard disk. If you only have 4GB of physical RAM and you buy this program, you have just wasted your money, because it can't do anything for you at all.

There is only one thing that may give you access to your full 4GB of RAM, and that is a 64-bit operating system, whether you wish to use XP 64, Vista 64, or a 64-bit Linux, FreeBSD or other alternative operating system. And if you have more than 4GB, you will get all of that RAM available too, because the maximum RAM a 64-bit operating system can use is many times more than any computer can physically hold right now, and likely for many years from now (the actual amount is 17.2 billion gigabytes).

Even then, there are many laptops that are "wired" by their BIOS+chipset to not give you the full 4GB, so don't be too upset if you still don't get the whole 4GB.

You should also know a few extra bits of information:

64-bit XP is not really XP, it is a lobotomized version of Windows Server 2003.

64-bit Vista uses the same registration keys as 32-bit, you just need a 64-bit or a mixed 32/64-bit install DVD. I am running both 32 and 64-bit Vista legitimately even though I bought a 3-pack of 64-bit Vista.

Windows 7 is awesome, even though it is not really released yet. Get yourself a download copy of it, and a free trial key from Microsoft here: it is much better than Vista or XP, and almost half as good as Linux (try Ubuntu Linux if you are a Linux newbie and want to try it out, it's free:
Thanks Nuwan

i got another question.....not entirely related....but somewhat...i want an operating system that will detect all 4gb of my i've narrowed my choice down to VISTA ULTIMATE or XP 64 PRO

which one do you guys think is faster and more processor would be the Duo core e7400.

im likely to use the computer mainly for music production...can you guys help me pick out the more suitable Operating system of the two?
No doubt tru,
I prefer Vista Ultimate, I'm using it too but I use 32 bit. So vista is the latest OS from Microsoft for now and they release support and updates more often for Vista than XP. And if you going to work with music production, Vista Service Pack 1 shipped with DirectX 10 so better for entertaining and Vista has great hardware support.
So after all I prefer Vista Ultimate, But you must make your choice.
hope this will help you,
Have fun!
GlassDeviant wrote: The facts are:


32-bit systems with chipsets that support more than a 32-bit I/F, a cpu that supports PAE, a BIOS that enables remapping and most importantly an OS that allows access to more than 4GB of physical address space, can use more than 4GB of RAM, such as 32-bit Fedora.

Try googling "remapping ram" and you will find that although the hardware uses the physical address space from 4GB downwards, the ram that cannot be mapped there is remapped above 4GB.

Windows 32-bit client versions from XP SP2, even though they enable PAE by default for hardware DEP, have been written to ignore physical addresses above 4GB. The result is you do not get to use the remapped memory.

It is possible for third party drivers to access this remapped memory such as "superspeed ramdisk" to utilize it as a ramdisk. It is also possible to slightly modify the vista / 7 kernel to use more than 4GB of physical address space so that the OS has full utilization of 4GB or more of ram or such that all Microsoft would have to do is change a protected registry entry called "ProductPolicy".

Note that being able to use more than 4GB with a 32-bit OS does not normally mean that you will be able to use more than 4GB for a single process, in fact you would normally be still limited to 2GB per process so it's main usefulness would be to be able to run several different processes that when totaled up use 4GB or more of memory. For instance with 4 processes each using 1GB each we would need 4GB of ram for them plus whatever the OS needs otherwise we could be hitting the pagefile quite hard and probably taking a big drop in performance.
my pc was hang iwas use net connection
Just FYI: everything you explained above is just great and I understand what your talking about, But: I have a Win XP SP3 Pro on a P-4 3.40 Ghz and I have always just had 2 Gig of RAM and that's what it showed, I also had Duel XFX Video Cards with 512 Meg each and for a slightly dated P-4 it's always run very good, for playing games like WOW and doing work on it, it's just always been a good fast PC. Well, Like you said, DDR II RAM is dirt cheep so since the Motherboard will support 4 Gig of RAM, I went out and bought 4 1X4 RAM chips and Plugged em in and check the bios and it shows 4 Gig or Ram 4096 MB and I got the fastest RAM I could get for the Mother board and I figured I would give this good old PC a good kick and get it to run at WARP 1 at least for the next year or two before I'm forced to buy a new PC and windows 7. But when I booted it up and ran some diags.. It's running slower then before? And it only shows the OS as 1.50 Gig of RAM!!! HELP!! Do you have an answer for this one? Please I sure hope so? Rick...
Registration date
Monday September 3, 2007
Last seen
September 1, 2011
Your 32 bit OS may detect your 2 gigs or more, but it won"t be able to use it. You have to install a 64 bit OS in order to really use it.

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