Run app that requires 2gb ram on an Acer netbook with 1.5?
May 13, 2011 6:26 AM   Subscribe

How can I run an application that requires 2gb ram on an Acer netbook with 1.5? The application is NaturallySpeaking voice recognition software. I would need to both get around the limitation, and actually make it run ok.

I have an acer netbook. Searching reveals that these can only be upgraded to 1.5gb. If I put a 2gb cartridge in, it will still be limited to 1.5 in total by the motherboard. (Let me know if you have a way round this)

A new pc is not on the cards, and I could really do with the transcription software. I can't run an older version as they don't work with windows 7.

The software will not install if there is not enough ram apparently so I can't try it out.

Is there a way to trick the software into installing?

And then, importantly, to get it to run adequately? I thought of using a light word processor instead of getting office 10, that kind of thing, but can I tweak windows to make this work?
posted by Not Supplied to Computers & Internet (15 answers total)
Have you run the system scanner on to 100% make sure that the memory can't be upgraded?
posted by dgeiser13 at 6:43 AM on May 13, 2011

This might be a bit of a long shot, but I once got around a similar limitation (under Linux) by increasing the amount of available virtual memory.

To do this on Win7, explanation:


The performance would definitely be lower than if you were using "actual" memory, but this approach has worked for me before (although again I've not tried to do it under Windows). It may allow you to at least install and run the software.
posted by chmmr at 6:53 AM on May 13, 2011

Response by poster: I have checked and the netbook can't be upgraded past 1.5

I've just tried the virtual memory, and unfortunately the software still won't install due to not enough RAM.
posted by Not Supplied at 8:21 AM on May 13, 2011

For XP and Vista, Naturally Speaking only needs 1gb of ram, so I'm thinking the 2gb requirement is probably not 100% needed if you trim down your running services and programs etc.

If you can get a .msi version of the installer, you can modify a copy of it with orca or a similar msi editor. There might be a flag or a declaration in the msi you can edit to change or disable the memory check. There might also be a flag you can discover in that msi that will skip as well. If going the flag route, you would install the program via cmd or a shortcut with a line similar to:

msiexec -i natspeaking.msi SKIPMEMCHECK=1

(not the actual line you'd want to run, but you get the idea...)
posted by samsara at 8:58 AM on May 13, 2011

Response by poster: Ok bear in mind I don't have a clue what I'm doing.

I have the msi file open in orca. I did 'find' for ram and found this which seems interesting.

In a table called 'LaunchCondition', there are 2 columns 'Condition' and 'Description'

One condition is 'PhysicalMemory>700' and the description is 'The amount of RAM (memory) is not adequate for running Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11. Please refer to the system requirements in the documentation.'

So can I change that 700 figure to make it work with less RAM, and then save a copy of the file?

What does the 700 signify? it says >700 not <700 so I take it it's not the amount of memory or it would be ' less than'
posted by Not Supplied at 9:29 AM on May 13, 2011

Response by poster: Sorry you said I would need to install it by command line, not saving the file. Any clue about how to construct that command as well?
posted by Not Supplied at 9:32 AM on May 13, 2011

All the LaunchCondition entries have to be true for the installer to launch. So PhysicalMemory > 700 means the install requires 700 MB physical memory to launch.

This isn't your problem since you have more than that, and the installer's launching, it' just not installing.

Keep looking...
posted by kindall at 9:42 AM on May 13, 2011

Response by poster: Ah well I don't have 700MB in at the moment, as I haven't upgraded from 512MB to 1.5GB and the installer does launch, but I see what you mean there must be something else to look for 2GB before installing.
posted by Not Supplied at 9:45 AM on May 13, 2011

Response by poster: I searched for 'memory'. There's a term that shows up in a few places. For example, "InstallExecuteSequence"

Action Condition Sequence
CheckNatSpeakInMemory NOT Installed 406

This seems to be more about checking if it's present than the system memory, but what do I know.

The only other thing that came up in search was what I mentioned in previous post.

Any ideas?
posted by Not Supplied at 9:55 AM on May 13, 2011

The minimum RAM for Dragon NaturallySpeaking Home 11 is 1 GB, not 2 GB:

If you currently only have 512 MB, you should be able to upgrade to 1.5 GB and be fine.
posted by cnc at 10:03 AM on May 13, 2011

Oops - I read it wrong. You're right that's it's 2 GB. Regardless, I'd guess that if you actually upgraded to 1.5 GB, it would work. You'll also get a MUCH better user experience with 1.5 GB on Windows 7.
posted by cnc at 10:04 AM on May 13, 2011

Response by poster: CNC, yes I would add the extra ram to use it, but it's not installing now hence this installer editing business. Are you saying it would be different with home?
posted by Not Supplied at 10:09 AM on May 13, 2011

Response by poster: Ok, I have tried installing again. The error message that comes up is "The amount of RAM (memory) is not adequate for running Dragon NaturallySpeaking 11. Please refer to the system requirements in the documentation"

The only entry in the MSI with this message is the one previously mentioned.

Either it is not actually running the installer as kindall says, or this is the memory check somehow.

There are no other entries in the msi that talk about memory or RAM, so is it possible that this is the actual check?

This means that the software would actually install with over 700MB of RAM.
posted by Not Supplied at 10:14 AM on May 13, 2011

I think you're correct. To test you could change that 700 value to a lower number in a copy of the installer (might be best copying over the entire install base along with the MSI into a desktop folder so it'll have all the files it'd need). You can change that value in the msi and save it. I just mentioned the CMD line as an alternative, as you could also pass the values that was as well.

This test may or may not fail or run incredibly would depend on if it REALLY needed that 700mb.

Definitely bump up to 1.5gb however, it's worth it for 7 and memory's cheap.
posted by samsara at 10:20 AM on May 13, 2011

Response by poster: I changed the 700 figure. It got through the first hurdle, but I got a different error message about ram requirements.

So it looks like kindall is right.

There is no entry about this error message in the msi file, nor anything else about RAM. So I guess it must be so occult that I don't have a chance of finding and changing it.

I guess I can't do it then unless anyone has another idea. Bollocks, I thought I was getting somewhere for a minute!
posted by Not Supplied at 10:47 AM on May 13, 2011

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