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Vista Home Premium 32 Bit & 4 GB RAM not being recognized RRS feed

  • Question

  • I did a search on this but I keep finding comments regarding XP.  My system is a new build with 4 gb or matched/paired (4x1gb pieces) ram on a EVGA MB, NF68.

    Bios shows the 4gb, but Vista does not.  Please link or explain how to fix this.

    It does show 2.8 gb, I have tested this setup using Prime95 without any errors.  Plus the system does run flawlessly, I just would like to understand or fix this issue.

     

    Thanks,


    Macroweb

     

    Monday, February 26, 2007 2:45 PM

All replies

  • 4GB is the 32bit limit. Depending on where in the OS you are looking, it will show you usable or physical. I'm guessing you are looking at Windows Welcome or System Properties. This will show you usuable system memory that is not protected.

    This is the same as with Windows XP.

    Monday, February 26, 2007 4:17 PM
  • Thanks for the reply, but to clarify, is the OS taking up 1.2gb? 

    As this 2.8gb number is only loading OS items, I have no virus software on this machine at this time.  Nothing else is running except default items.

    Thanks,

    Macroweb

     

    Monday, February 26, 2007 4:36 PM
  •  Macroweb wrote:

    Thanks for the reply, but to clarify, is the OS taking up 1.2gb? 

    As this 2.8gb number is only loading OS items, I have no virus software on this machine at this time.  Nothing else is running except default items.

    Thanks,

    Macroweb

     

     

    The OS isn't necessarily taking up 1.2 gig.  The problem is 32 bit OS has a memory limitation, it can only use 4 gig of memory, this includes video memory and the memory I/O devices are loaded into memory by your mother board.  The 4 gig it there it's just after calculating devices and video there's only enough room left to see 2.8 gig.  If you where using a 64 bit OS you would see all 4 gig.

    Thursday, March 1, 2007 9:00 PM
  • I can't believe I've had the same problem - that is so funny, yet bloomin annoying.

    Thanks Stroxuss40 for explaining that - most appreciated :)

    Friday, March 9, 2007 10:46 AM
  • "If you where using a 64 bit OS you would see all 4 gig."

    wrong!... I have the 64 bit home premium and 4000 Gb of Ram installed and recognized by the bios and yet... the windows only recognize 2500 Gb.

    my specs are:

     

    Amd Fx-64

    Mobo asus. A8n-32 sli deluxe.

    2x2000 gb. (dont remember their brand)

    2x400 gb satas maxtor

    2x geforce 7900 gtx sli config.

    audigy fatality pro

    1. dvd reader

    1 dvdrw

    .............................................

    Saturday, March 10, 2007 12:54 AM
  • OH MY GOD!! you must be richer than BILL GATES to have 4000GB of RAM and i dont think and company makes 2000 GB STICKS, this is 2007 not 3007 , just a joke, but you should write 4000MB,

    and 2 x 2000MB not GB..

    Try updating your BIOS, i had the same problem and after updating my BIOS it went away

    Saturday, March 10, 2007 7:27 PM
  • Excuse me for jumping in, but I just upgraded my Vista machine (HP xw8400) from 2 GB to 4 GB last night, noticed that Windows Welcome said I had only 3 GB (even though entering Setup at boot shows the full 4 GB), and found this thread with Google.  I'm still not sure I understand.  Is my 4th GB helping me in any way at all?  Would my system perform differently in any way whatsoever if I had only installed a total of 3 GB?  If the answer is that the 4th GB is useless, will that always be true, or will some OS upgrade down the road possibly change anything?
    Tuesday, March 13, 2007 9:31 PM
  • Check your video card 7900GTX. Does it have Turbocache Technology. This uses system memory to effectively double your video memory.Is SLI turned on?

    Just a thought!

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007 1:21 AM
  • Hi, I suspect this same thing will be happening to many more people as they upgrade to more powerful PCs and Vista along with it.  I bought a new Dell with 4GB and Vista Home Premium.  Spent an hour with Dell tech support to figure out why Task Manager only showed 3GB.  Finally the tech found some document that described the 32-bit limit and assured me that the 'missing' memory was in fact being used 'by the hardware'.

    But I looked into it some more and it is still not clear to me.  I understand that Windows maps some hardware into the ADDRESSES at the upper range of memory; what I don't understand is whether my fourth DIMM is in fact being used.  In my admittedly simplistic view of things, there are two possibilities:

    1) Windows maps some of the hardware ROM into the upper RAM addresses (I think that used to be called shadowing many years ago).  In this scenario, the RAM is actually being used.

    2) Windows uses the upper RAM addresses to access hardware ROM.  In this scenario, the addresses are being used for ROM so they cannot be used for the RAM.  I.e. the unused RAM is going to waste.

    If the answer is that my fourth GB is lying there useless, I will be taking up the issue with Dell.

    Thanks

     

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007 1:07 PM
  • Those are my thoughts exactly.  I'm not a very technical type, but it seems to me that if #1 were the case, then Windows would ALWAYS map some of the hardware ROM (1 GB???) into RAM.  So if you only had 2 GB of RAM, Windows would show 1 available, and if you only had 1 GB of RAM....?  But I had 2 to start with, and it showed 2 available.  Or, wait a minute, if the mapping makes the machine substantially faster, maybe they figure you can spare the RAM if you have 4 GB, but not if you only have 2 GB.  But if I were designing the system that way, I'd give the user a choice in the matter -- the value of the tradeoff might be different for different users/applications.

    So I lean toward scenario #2.  But it would be nice to talk to someone who REALLY knows; I'm sure there are such people, I just don't know how to find them.

    Toolman, if you can get an anwer from Dell, please let me know.  I'll try HP again, who were useless the first time, and see if I can get tech support to kick me up a level or two.

     

    Wednesday, March 14, 2007 7:22 PM
  • ATTN: x64 bit vista users reading this x86 thread having the 4gb limit problem post here:

    http://forums.microsoft.com/TechNet/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=1292561&SiteID=17

    and keep this one going, lots of x64 vista users are having this problem too, not many posting here yet...


    Thursday, March 15, 2007 6:07 AM
  • Chas,

    I found this link on the Crucial Memory website.  Here's a direct quote from this page: "...if you've maxed out the DRAM in your system, this amount will be deducted from your physical memory, so you can't use 100% of your DRAM." 

    The "this amount" they are referring to is the range of addresses that Windows is using for hardware.  So this is not a case of ROM shadowing, and the RAM is not being used.

    http://www.crucial.com/kb/answer.asp?qid=4251

    I paid an extra $270 for the second 2GB of RAM, and I'm currently dealing with Dell to resolve this.  Most of the Dell techs insist that
    the RAM unreported by Windows is being used "by the hardware".  I have to keep telling myself, "Polite, but firm"...

    Thursday, March 15, 2007 4:43 PM
  • Yeah, I think that's probably right.  I'm still not entirely sure, though.  Here's a comment from another group on this issue:  "OS uses the high 1GB or so for system addresses.  When these addresses are above the uppermost physical ram addresses installed on the system the memory manager offsets them into physical ram as needed.  There is no need to block any address space.  However, once you have 4GB of real ram, the memory manger is no longer offsetting these high addresses because system memory represents real ram addresses and performance improves by not having to translate addresses.  Now that this address space is in real ram, this ram must be made inaccessible to user programs to prevent user programs from corrupting the system by writing there.  Thus the system addresses are hidden from the user. I know I am not getting the description quite right, but I hope you get the idea.  The bottom line is that just because the user cannot see all of the 4GB does not mean that all 4GB is not in use. "  Could there be any truth to that?

    Secondly, I still wonder about the PAE mode thing, which I only vaguely understand, but has to do with relocating addresses into the space above 4 GB.  Most are saying it doesn't help, but I'm not sure it is being done properly.  This is from a Microsoft Online Support guy: 

    You can fix this issue by enabling a PAE boot switch. However, you can't
    let Vista using this parameter by editing boot.ini, since Vista doesn't use
    this file anymore.

    You can add the switch by the following steps:

    1. Reboot Vista to safe mode with command line
    2. Run the command : bcdedit /set PAE ForceEnable
    3. Run bcdedit again to verify the switch is added
    4. Reboot the system and check whether the problem is fixed

    Here are some other files you can refer to:
    BCDEdit /set
    http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa906211.aspx
    Boot Configuration Data Editor Frequently Asked Questions
    http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsVista/en/library/85cd5efe-c349-4...
    5-c2719d4af7781033.mspx?mfr=true

    [end of quote]

    I don't actually have the guts to try this, however, since I'm not quite sure how to back up if I create havoc with my system.

     

    Friday, March 16, 2007 12:42 AM
  • Chas,
    That's interesting, so he is saying that the ROM is being shadowed into RAM automatically by Windows, if there is RAM available.  So his post supports scenario #1, the RAM is being used as a ROM shadow. 

    Now that I re-read the Crucial Memory link, it doesn't exactly say that the RAM is not being used; it says "you can't use 100% of your DRAM", which may mean it's not available to *applications*.  So scenario #1 isn't ruled out.  I guess my understanding is back to square one.  I'd like to get an official position from someone at Microsoft.

    Friday, March 16, 2007 3:17 PM
  • The 32 bit vista version will only use up to 4GB, substract memory used by viddeocard etc. will leave about 2.4 - 2.8 gb.

    Set the memory remap option in your bios (try the software and hardware setting) for the 64bit, some videocards in SLI have trouble with these settings, the software works for me. Otherwise you will not see the 4gb.

    Sunday, March 25, 2007 12:29 AM
  • Hello everyone!!

    i just got the answer for this problem...

     

    you can simly go to bios and in power managementt, set the ACPI ver. to ACPI V2.0

     or ACPI v3.0

     

    and windows X64(VISTA) now detects 4 GB RAM....

     

    dont set ACPI v3.0 if you have windows Xp 32bit in DUAL BOOT..

     

    but you can set it to ACPI v2.0 for both in dual boot.. thats not a problem...

    Wednesday, April 18, 2007 6:19 PM
  • I just built a system with Intel DP35DPM MoBo, Q6600 CPU, XFX 8500GT 512MB Video card, WD Raptor 150GB HDD, 4 x 1GB Kingston RAM, and Vista 32-bit.

     

    Now, when I have all four sticks in (and I ran tests on memory - it's all good) when I'm in the BIOS it keeps hanging, I can still use Ctrl+Alt+Del to reset, but BIOS won't respond; in Vista it shows I have 2.99GB of memory; everything has slow response, on some screens I get "(Not Responding)" message for prolonged times.

     

    As soon as I removed 1GB, BIOS is not hanging anymore; in Vista it STILL shows the same 2.99GB; the system as a whole started responding quicker, no more "(Not Responding)" messages.

     

    In other words what I'm seeing is that Vista works better with 3GB than with 4GB installed, which is really nonsense...

    When I read Microsoft's specs for Vista 32bit I see the limit is 4GB, and not 4GB minus whatever else memory amounts throughout the system, so that is really clear as mud...

     

    Another thing I'm wondering about is why Graphics: Desktop performance with Aero is rated at 4.1? That bothers me; do I have to spend $400 for a card to get 5.9?!?

     

    In other words my P4/2.8GHz system with Windows XP seems to work faster than Vista with all this latest stuff.

     

    Now I'm wondering am I going to get any good from spending top dollar for a system with Intel DX38BT MoBo, QX9650 CPU, and outrageously overpriced DDR3 memory. I'm sure I don't want to spend around $300 just to have the fourth 1GB stick in my PC that slows everything down.

     

    And concerning Vista 64bit - nothing really runs in it, even Microsoft couldn't make their Office programs fully compatible with it, so what good can I expect from it except some more headaches from applications not functioning properly or not working at all.

     

    Well, the more I look into this stuff, the more muddy it gets...

     

    Waldis

    Sunday, February 3, 2008 6:27 PM
  • Hey gang,

     

    Just switched from Vista Home Premium 64 bit to Vista Home Premium 32 bit. (Think I'm going back to the 64 bit version) I had the problem as the OP. I found this web site which I think really explains what happens to the 4 gig in a 32 bit system.

     

    http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000811.html

     

    Take care

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008 9:21 PM
  • Hey all i had the same problem and in my case i feel like an idiot. I work with server 2k3 all day at work and for some reason thought vista had a cap of 8 gig like it does......so long story short i have my newly built duel-core system with 6 gb ram using home premium (vista only recognizes 3.5 gb). What i'm interested in, is if i should pull the 1 gb sticks out of my 3rd and 4th dimm and just let it run from the 1st 2 with the 2gb sticks. I've thrown the idea around the other techs at work and after recieving some jeering over my situation noone had an inclination on how it would effect system performance.

    Friday, March 28, 2008 7:51 PM
  • Why dont you search the Web for an application that creates a virtual ram drive. Install it, then create a virtual ram drive of 5GB. This will let you know if the operating system is able to access your ram over 4GB.

     

    It was just a thought?

    Friday, March 28, 2008 9:27 PM
  • I have made the same mistake as the other gentleman, I have Vista Ultimate 32bit on a new Quad Extreme with 8gb.  The bios see the memory and the system reports the 8gb but on taskmgr it is only using a bit least than 4gb.  Is the extra 4gb wasted or is there somthing I can do with it?  I plan on running SQL server 2005 on the system at some point in the near future also, will it see the additional memory?

     

    Thanks for the help

    Danny

    Thursday, April 3, 2008 4:17 AM
  • I am a computer technician and i work at circuit  city. I have seen the same problem when installing more than 3 gigs of ram in vista machines including my custom builds. However since Service pack 1 was relesead I have not seen that problem. Including my personal computer running vista ultimate 32 bit. I have installed pc2 8000 4gb. It only registerd as 3 gb. How ever all software such as 3d mark or some games register the full 4gb. I recently downloaded and installed service pack on and suddently there it is. 4gb displayed on my system properties screen. Just right click on my computer and click properties and it shows up perfectly. I have also noticed that manufacturer computers such as HP Toshiba gateway etc also correctly report 4gb. As long as they have service pack 1.

     

    Also I belive the memory is fully used even if it's not reporting properly becuse i regularly run benchmarking on my computer and it is the exact same result now as it was before it was reporting the full 4GB.

     

    Here is a link to microsoft stating mermory limitations on the various releses.

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa366778.aspx

     

    Hope this help. Download service pack 1 from windows updates and you should be good. If you don't know if you have it or not just check the system info screen and it will be listed there next to you vista version. Next to you aero rating. If its not there you don't have it installed yet.

    Tuesday, May 27, 2008 7:44 PM
  • This is also the case with my ATI Crossfire Radeon X1900XTX (top of the line when I bought it in NOV 2006).

     

    It's a two card model, each having 512MB of VRAM (DDR4), for a total, when linked, of 1GB of video mem.  Despite this, the Adapter tab tells me that the card(s?) still can draw between 1278MB of Main Memory!

     

    Thus, while I have 4GB of memory installed, and Vista HP's System Information does indeed show 4GB installed, MSInfo32 (actually kinda surprised to see this old relic still tucked away inside the guts of the OS) and third-party utilities, show only 3072MB available for use.  Since Vista and various other apps (i.e. ZoneAlarm, Yahoo Widgets, etc) routinely use 30-34% of the remaining 3GBs, I usually only have 2GBs for other apps.

     

    Thank God for my video card (outstripped by bigger and badder and cheaper models).  Otherwise I'd never be able to run Quake IV, Halo 1 & 2, BioShock, Half-Life 2.  There just wouldnt' be enough memory to go around.  Despite the fact I have a Quad Core QX6700 "Extreme" Edition CPU!  (Which really makes things SCREAM!)

     

    Saturday, September 6, 2008 4:57 PM
  • @toddman:

     

    Used to do Tech Support for Dell (actually a contractor located in Las Vegas called Client Logic, we wage slaves had our own name for it, but, it's, ah, Logic is a too Blunt, if u know what I mean,  ).

     

    There were a few of us that could find our ***** without both hands or a map, but we were in the minority (funnily enough, when I took the "test" before hire, I scored best in DOS!  Yeah, my first machine was an IBM XT clone with a 20MB hdd; no, that was not a typo, a TWENTY MB hdd!  Then we got a second one!  Boy were my friends jealous!).

     

    The thing with Dell is they don't actually train TS reps at all.  The only training rec'd is on HOW to use the various databases that Dell has constructed for TSR use.

     

    So, basically, the quality of service you'll get from Dell depends entirely (assuming a low to non-existent level of knowledge on the TSR's part) on how well he or she can negotiate Dell's multiple DBs.  (Why they aren't combined into one system is beyond me; and the "instructor" thought my question was funny.)

     

    After six months of doing Dell support, I wouldn't take one if you gave it to me (ok, that falls under "furious exaggeration", I just wouldn't buy one).

     

    I bought a Gateway and there support has been outstanding.  In the course of attempting to solve a problem thought to be MOBO related, they replaced my MOBO and CPU upgrading me from a Core Duo to a Quad Core--and throwing in a 1/2 TB hdd as well!).

     

    Also, my two Toshiba notebooks (KOW) have been most excellent.  (So six months of e-machine *** led BestBuy to actually replace the piece of equine by-product with a Toshiba Satellite; now I've bought a second one, my first AMD machine; and, I must say, I'm quite impressed with AMD's hardware; despite being cost almost 2/3rds less than my Intel Toshiba--in the interested of fairness, the Intel-based until has more bells & whistles).  AMD is definitely on the list when, in a couple of years, it's time to replace this Intel-based Desktop.  Especially given the price differential in favor of AMD.

     

    But Dell: sorry, never!  They actually shipped a machine to a customer with a DVD burner with a bent (data) pin!

     

    Saturday, September 6, 2008 5:16 PM
  • To the O.P. Are you running Vista SP1, because as soon as I updated my Vista(only a few days before I went back to XP, but all the same), my problem with Vista not recognising all my RAM went away.

    Anyways, a few of you are asking why, and onto the conundrum.
    I don't quite know if I'm understanding what I've read properly(or if indeed I'm recalling it correctly at all), but the way I understood it was as such this.
    There is a limit with 32 bit technology that only allows it to recognise a certain amount of bytes, that limit is 3GB. [I think it has something to do with a 32 bit Integer only being able to hold 2 billion bytes]
    Vista does indeed recognise more than that, but it can only access 3 GB, same as XP.
    Both XP and Vista* will happily let you exceed that amount of Physical RAM, but they will not recognise/use [respectively], the extra RAM. What happens to that RAM is that is used by the hardware(yes, what the Dell reps are telling you, and it pains me to say that considering how much I hate Dell.), it is used by the system and passively helps a little, not much, but a little.
    *Now this is where the real kicker lies, and might be the source of some people's problems. While XP and Vista, the software in other words are quite happy with you having more Physical RAM than they can handle, your Motherboard may not be so happy. Each specific Motherboard has a specific amount of Maximum RAM it can handle. If you place more it will either not recognise it, or refuse to start(rare case I believe). So your best bet would be to go to Crucial.com, check to see the maximum RAM your Motherboard can recognise, and the RAM you currently have in.[Even if it is not currently being recognised by the system, I managed to catch a certain sneaky company with that, they told me they had installed the 4GB of RAM, when they had only given my 2GB and charged me for 4GB, I would've of never have known until I had moved onto Vista, or Win 7, probably invalidating all claims I had to the computer guarantee by doing as such. D;<]
    Waldis said:

    I just built a system with Intel DP35DPM MoBo, Q6600 CPU, XFX 8500GT 512MB Video card, WD Raptor 150GB HDD, 4 x 1GB Kingston RAM, and Vista 32-bit.

     

    Now, when I have all four sticks in (and I ran tests on memory - it's all good) when I'm in the BIOS it keeps hanging, I can still use Ctrl+Alt+Del to reset, but BIOS won't respond; in Vista it shows I have 2.99GB of memory; everything has slow response, on some screens I get "(Not Responding)" message for prolonged times.

     

    As soon as I removed 1GB, BIOS is not hanging anymore; in Vista it STILL shows the same 2.99GB; the system as a whole started responding quicker, no more "(Not Responding)" messages.

     

    In other words what I'm seeing is that Vista works better with 3GB than with 4GB installed, which is really nonsense...

    When I read Microsoft's specs for Vista 32bit I see the limit is 4GB, and not 4GB minus whatever else memory amounts throughout the system, so that is really clear as mud...

     

    Another thing I'm wondering about is why Graphics: Desktop performance with Aero is rated at 4.1? That bothers me; do I have to spend $400 for a card to get 5.9?!?

     

    In other words my P4/2.8GHz system with Windows XP seems to work faster than Vista with all this latest stuff.

     

    Now I'm wondering am I going to get any good from spending top dollar for a system with Intel DX38BT MoBo, QX9650 CPU, and outrageously overpriced DDR3 memory. I'm sure I don't want to spend around $300 just to have the fourth 1GB stick in my PC that slows everything down.

     

    And concerning Vista 64bit - nothing really runs in it, even Microsoft couldn't make their Office programs fully compatible with it, so what good can I expect from it except some more headaches from applications not functioning properly or not working at all.

     

    Well, the more I look into this stuff, the more muddy it gets...

     

    Waldis

    As I said earlier, if your not running Vista SP1, do as such, and do yourself a favour, either replace the fourth stick, or remove the 3rd. By using a single card in a Dual Channel system you are slowing your system down.  Dual Channel was designed to be just that, Dual, so by only filling one of the channels, when it tries to use the other card like it has been designed to do, it will slow the machine down greatly.
    I haven't tried DD3, and it will certainly be faster, but 4 GB's of RAM will do you fine for the moment being.

    While what you say about x64 is true, it is the only thing that is going to break the current RAM limit. It is just like Intel/AMD Dual and Quad processors, they are not properly supported, but as more people switch to it/them, the faster developers will move to supporting them.
    There are currently programs that work properly with x64, but they are few and far between, but as everybody gradually makes the change over to it, they will rapidly become greater. [Funny how fast people are to move onto Dual and Quad Processors which only make a slight improvement in processing speeds because there isn't much support[Programmers are still learning to create code that will really utilise Dual and Quad Cores, other than Gaming, ie, utilising Dual and Quad cores for Internet browsing.], but refuse to do the same to x64 when it is essentially the same thing except with RAM. [And would probably be alot easier for programmers to be able to adapt to than to using Two or even Four processors(god they are going to be sunk when the 8 and 16 core processors roll out in a year or two)].
    • Edited by Dark Quietus Wednesday, March 25, 2009 10:48 AM Replying to someone's post, and quoting them without double posting.
    Wednesday, March 25, 2009 10:32 AM
  • I have followed this question and the answers and theories about the difference between "installed" RAM and "available" RAM with great interest since I am in the same boat, so to speak, as several of those who have posted here.

    My system is:
    Acer Aspire 1500-1523
    AMD Turion 64 x2 Mobile Technology TL56 - 1.8 GHz, 2 x 512KB L2 Cache
    ATI Radeon Express 1100 w/ up to 512 MB memory
    Asus MoBo
    Vista Home Premium w/ SP1
    2x 2GB DDR2 RAM

    I recently upgraded my RAM from 2GB  to 4GB, installing identical strips in both sockets.
    My sys info shows 4GB installed memory, the BIOS shows 4GB installed memory, but on the Task Manager it shows Total Physical Memory 2.3 GB, with anywhere from 40 - 55% in use (although I'm not quite sure where it is being used). Original 2GB installed showed TPM of 1.79GB with 51% memory load.
    I have tried getting some sort of explanation from the computer manufacturer (they won't even answer an email without charging a fee), tried the manufacturer of the RAM strips just incase there might be a setting (they passed it off to my OS) and Microsoft sent me back to the manufacturer for an answer. I have run a system memory scan and an online scan at Crucial.com and both scans show 2 x 2GB installed and no errors. That, after many more searches online, is how I arrived here.

    Your answer, Dark, was the most exhaustive and explanitory I have come across to date. (I would still like to know what is using the difference between installed memory and physical memory.) Could you perhaps explain 'virtual memory' since it appears that is where I am seeing the biggest difference since the RAM upgrade.

     

    Friday, April 24, 2009 6:17 PM
  • I have followed this question and the answers and theories about the difference between "installed" RAM and "available" RAM with great interest since I am in the same boat, so to speak, as several of those who have posted here.

    My system is:
    Acer Aspire 1500-1523
    AMD Turion 64 x2 Mobile Technology TL56 - 1.8 GHz, 2 x 512KB L2 Cache
    ATI Radeon Express 1100 w/ up to 512 MB memory
    Asus MoBo
    Vista Home Premium w/ SP1
    2x 2GB DDR2 RAM

    I recently upgraded my RAM from 2GB  to 4GB, installing identical strips in both sockets.
    My sys info shows 4GB installed memory, the BIOS shows 4GB installed memory, but on the Task Manager it shows Total Physical Memory 2.3 GB, with anywhere from 40 - 55% in use (although I'm not quite sure where it is being used). Original 2GB installed showed TPM of 1.79GB with 51% memory load.
    I have tried getting some sort of explanation from the computer manufacturer (they won't even answer an email without charging a fee), tried the manufacturer of the RAM strips just incase there might be a setting (they passed it off to my OS) and Microsoft sent me back to the manufacturer for an answer. I have run a system memory scan and an online scan at Crucial.com and both scans show 2 x 2GB installed and no errors. That, after many more searches online, is how I arrived here.

    Your answer, Dark, was the most exhaustive and explanitory I have come across to date. (I would still like to know what is using the difference between installed memory and physical memory.) Could you perhaps explain 'virtual memory' since it appears that is where I am seeing the biggest difference since the RAM upgrade.

     


    Heh, I encountered the same sorta thing a while ago, and researched long and hard, that's why^^
    Righto, I'll start with the easy thing first, virtual memory. This is simply windows taking data that hasn't been accessed in a while and copying it to your hard drive, so that another program can use that space. It is a cheap exploit that allows Windows to keep functioning even when you are maxing out your RAM. The only downside is that because it uses the hard drive, when the data is needed again, the recall takes much, much longer because Windows has to read it off the hard drive, which takes longer than recalling it from the RAM. The space that Windows sets aside for this is called the page file, and can be adjusted.
    As I stated before, this is the reason Windows can keep functioning when programs have maxed the RAM out, and is also the reason (or one of) your computer slows down, and keeps the programs running instead of crashing them out.

    Righto, next question. The difference between installed memory and physical memory is that physical memory is the maximum amount that the OS can dedicate to all running process's. Installed  memory is the total amount of memory you have installed. Now the reason for the difference is that Vista has a 3 GB cap limit, so the maximum your system could have as physical memory is 3GB, BUT, you also have an integrated graphics card, which sucks out between 64 MB and 512 MB dependent on it's settings(I'd hazard a guess at 512MB being dedicated for it), which is one of the downsides to an integrated graphics card. So the maximum you could now have is 2.5 GB, and without truly knowing, I'd say either your MoBo, or another hardware perhiperal is sucking the other 200MB (do you have anything in the PCi slots? if not, try googling your mobo and seeing if there are any results for it sucking RAM[it might require a dedicated amount of RAM to run it's own programs, I don't know to be honest].

    I wondered if anyone was ever going to reply, xD.
    If you have anymore questions feel free to ask, and I'll try to answer them(I get updates from this forum, but I don't check this email account everyday[as you've probably noticed], so it might take a few days), no promises however, xD).
    I'm glad I was of some assistance^^
    Sunday, April 26, 2009 11:02 AM
  • I did a search on this but I keep finding comments regarding XP.  My system is a new build with 4 gb or matched/paired (4x1gb pieces) ram on a EVGA MB, NF68.

    Bios shows the 4gb, but Vista does not.  Please link or explain how to fix this.

    It does show 2.8 gb, I have tested this setup using Prime95 without any errors.  Plus the system does run flawlessly, I just would like to understand or fix this issue.

     

    Thanks,


    Macroweb

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    "If you where using a 64 bit OS you would see all 4 gig."

    wrong!... I have the 64 bit home premium and 4000 Gb of Ram installed and recognized by the bios and yet... the windows only recognize 2500 Gb.

    my specs are:

     

    Amd Fx-64

    Mobo asus. A8n-32 sli deluxe.

    2x2000 gb. (dont remember their brand)

    2x400 gb satas maxtor

    2x geforce 7900 gtx sli config.

    audigy fatality pro

    1. dvd reader

    1 dvdrw

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    Excuse me for jumping in, but I just upgraded my Vista machine (HP xw8400) from 2 GB to 4 GB last night, noticed that Windows Welcome said I had only 3 GB (even though entering Setup at boot shows the full 4 GB), and found this thread with Google.  I'm still not sure I understand.  Is my 4th GB helping me in any way at all?  Would my system perform differently in any way whatsoever if I had only installed a total of 3 GB?  If the answer is that the 4th GB is useless, will that always be true, or will some OS upgrade down the road possibly change anything?

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    I don't know how many people can follow my previous walls of text, so I'm going to reclarify.

    Windows Vista 32bit(or x86 as it is referred to), can only recognise 4GB of RAM, not use it. It can use at most 3 GB RAM, this is not a Windows Vista problem, it is simply an cap that we have eventually reached, 32Bit OS'es are old technology and were never designed for days where we could access more than 3 GB of RAM.

    If you truly want Windows to use that final Gig of RAM, then you will need to upgrade to Windows Vista 64 bit(or x64). Beware though, Vista x64 is widely UNSUPPORTED by most programs, as most were designed specifically for x86(32 bit), and x64's new architecture confuses them(they might run, but you run the risk of corrupt saves, or various other errors, including crashes, and by crashes, I'm including BSoD's [Blue Screen of Death].


    At Macroweb, as I just explained, it's not an Windows Error persae, and can not be fixed(it can look like it is, but it never will be). Now, the reason that you have 2.8GB RAM showing instead of the 3 GB I said you should have before, is because you will have a hardware or software, that has your last .2GB of RAM restricted as exclusive, a typical example of this is an integrated graphics card, the reason that integrated Graphic cards are cheap are because they don't come with onboard RAM, the RAM that they quote is the maximum amount of RAM that their specific programming/hardware will allow to be siphoned out of your main RAM. So a 512 MB Integrated Radeon Graphics card will drop your Physical/Usable system memory by 512MB(or .5 GB).

    Immase, I would suggesting updating all your drivers and Windows. However, this is an x64 technical problem, and as such, I haven't a clue about it.

    ChasHertz, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that you have Dual Channel RAM? If so, that final RAM chip is doing a far more critical job than you realise. Dual Channel RAM is called that for a reason, it uses 2 RAM chips, having only 1 out of 2 RAM slots filled is going to slow your system down an incredible amount.

    That goes for everyone, you may only be able to use 3 GB of your 4 GB of RAM, but if your running in Dual Channel, do not skimp on your last RAM chip, you will regret it as it slows the hardware down, it's like cutting your left hand off, you may not be using it( a crude analogy, but you get my drift), but not having it slows everything down. So yes, your 4GB's of RAM are actually worthwhile. [It is used by the system, but only where and when needed].

    One final redraft, so I can submit this as the answer to the O.P's question(however, feel free to PM with questions on this[if you can], or post in here after[if you can].



    The reason that BIOS shows your 4 GB of RAM is because that is simply fetching that data from the hardware. Windows does not show 4 GB because the limit of Windows XP/Vista 32 bit is that it can only recognise 3 GB of RAM. Vista as of SP1 will show 4 GB of RAM, but will not actually use that final 1 GB of RAM
    [Everyone in here keeps saying it will use 4GB, but it won't, it is physically impossible for it to do that] .
    Now, the reason that Windows is showing that you have 2.8GB of RAM, is because this is the amount of RAM that it can dedicate to all running process's, RAM used by things such as integrated graphics cards will be subtracted from the total of 3GB, and will leave you with this total. So I would say without any further knowledge of your system, that you have an integrated graphics card that has a limit of up to 200 MB of RAM, and are running Windows Vista 32 Bit (x86), Service Pack 0.
    [ie, no service pack].
    There is no fix to make Windows Vista 32 Bit(x86), use all 4 GB of RAM, only to make it show all 4GB. This can be done by downloading Windows Vista SP1+ [Avaliable off Microsoft's Website, or via Automatic Updates, you should have it already].
    • Proposed as answer by Dark Quietus Sunday, April 26, 2009 11:59 AM
    Sunday, April 26, 2009 11:58 AM
  • Do the following on a Command Prompt:

     

    1. BCDEdit /set nx AlwaysOff

    2. BCDEdit /set PAE forceenable

    3. shutdown -r

    Monday, June 20, 2011 3:45 PM