I recently added 2 gigs of RAM to my PC but Windows Task Manager/System properties do not recognize it, while BIOS and Crucial.com do. What could be causing this issue?
December 20, 2007 2:29 PM   Subscribe

I recently added 2 gigs of RAM to my PC but Windows Task Manager/System properties do not recognize it, while BIOS and Crucial.com do. What could be causing this issue?

Before anything, here are my computer specs:

OS: WinXP Professional 5.1 SP2 (Build #2600)
CPU: Intel Pentium D , 2.99 GHz,
1024KB Video: NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX (1920x1200)

The computer is Dell XPS 600, it came with 2 gigs of RAM when Dell sent it to me. 4 x 512ram. I took two of the 512 sticks out and installed two 1 gig sticks I recently purchased via crucial.com

For some strange reason, Windows Task Manager/System Properties show that only 2.00gigs as you will see later in the screenshots I provided. However, when I went into my BIOS, it showed that I have 3 gigs of RAM. I also went on crucial.com and used their scanner which also showed 3.0 gigs.

What could be causing the windows task manager/system properties to only show that my system has 2 gigs while crucial.com and bios show that I have 3.

Here are the screenshots:




I appreciate your help in advance!
posted by bostonhill to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You might want to look at this forum thread in which someone with an XPS 600 has the same issue.

Windows XP Pro is a 32-bit operating system, which limits the total amount of addressable memory to 4096mb, or 4 gigabytes. With 1 gig of that already taken up by your video card's on-board memory, and some of your accessories taking up reserved space, that further limits the amount of RAM that Windows can address in a 32-bit environment.

You can also see this Coding Horror page for a more technical explanation.
posted by Psionic_Tim at 2:45 PM on December 20, 2007

Have you tried googling? I believe that in the default configuration, XP only supports 2GB of memory. There appears to be a command-line switch for it, but it's probably an addressing issue on your PC.
posted by mikeh at 2:46 PM on December 20, 2007

Accessing more than 2.0 GB of memory on Windows XP

Not sure if this will help or not. Good luck.
posted by wfrgms at 2:47 PM on December 20, 2007

Response by poster: I've tried every solution possible. Editing the boot.ini, enabling PAE. Nothing works. I'm extremely bummed out and would love nothing more than to take a dump on Microsoft.
posted by bostonhill at 4:45 PM on December 20, 2007

Checked for BIOS updates?
posted by wfrgms at 4:50 PM on December 20, 2007

Best answer: Some commonly reported architectural limits in Windows include:

1. 2 GB of shared virtual address space for the system
2. 2 GB of private virtual address space per process
3. 660 MB System PTE storage
4. 470 MB paged pool storage
5. 256 MB nonpaged pool storage

The above applies to Windows 2003 Server specifically (from Knowledgebase article 294418), but also apply to Windows XP and Windows 2000.

Taken from RAM, Virtual Memory, Pagefile and all that stuff
posted by phil at 8:45 PM on December 20, 2007

Response by poster: Would I better off switching to Linux? I really cannot handle this Microsoft bullcrap anymore.

I'm a designer/producer so I use the followings programs I cannot do without;

Photoshop CS2
Adobe Premiere
Adobe After Effects
Adobe Audition
Propellerheads Reason

Is there a Linux client that would handle all of those and allow me to use my 3 gigs of ram?
posted by bostonhill at 10:13 PM on December 20, 2007

Best answer: I'm extremely bummed out and would love nothing more than to take a dump on Microsoft.

It's not Microsoft's fault. Any 32-bit operating system will have a similar limitation. You only have 2^32 bytes of address space. Address space is not the same as "RAM." Address space is like a map of the entire known universe to your computer. Some of it might be filled with system RAM. Some of it might be filled with Video RAM. Some of it might be filled with your BIOS. Anything that can map an area of memory has to share this common address space limit.

Think of address space like map. Your system RAM is one of the bigger continents, like Asia. Video RAM is Australia. Your PCI bus is the Americas. Your BIOS is Greenland. But you're 32-bit, which means you can't think of a world any bigger than the Earth. So, anything that exists on that world has to occupy some region of the map.

Now you've gone and effectively said, "I want Asia to be the size of the entire planet. Stupid Earth, why can't I do that!?" Well duh! Because that wouldn't leave you room for all the other stuff in your computer that likes to occupy space on the map. Like your USB devices, or your video card, or your sound card, or anything else that takes up address space.

So why isn't Windows recognizing your 3 gigs? Well, that big honkin' video card ain't helping. Neither is your Swap file. If you deactivate your Windows swap file, I'll bet you see more system RAM.

"But wait!" I hear you exclaim, "Isn't that incredibly stupid?"

Glad you asked! Yes, as a matter of fact, it is ludicrously stupid. Why would you ever want to do that? Well, because sometimes you know your applications are going to be spending way more time in RAM-land than user (/hard drive)-land. If you're running SQL Server, or Exchange Server, they might benefit from forcing the system to allow itself to ability to allocate more memory to individual applications. This will have horrible consequences for normal, every-day activities. Don't do this.

If you want to be able to use your new RAM, you need to get a 64-bit operating system. Sorry, there's no other option. If it makes you feel any better, I'm running XP 64 bit and think it absolutely, positively rules. It's the fastest, most stable OS Microsoft has put out since Windows 2000. It's got not of the crap that makes Vista crawl. None of the background applications that make 2003 unsuitable for desktop users, but it's based on the 2003 core, so it's rock steady... steady rocking all night long.

Get it. Install it. Be happy.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:37 PM on December 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Contrary to what everyone else is saying, I am happily running with 4gb of ram, recognized by Windows as 3.5 GB.


I'd try downloading CPU-Z and see if it is reporting your ram correctly.
posted by mphuie at 11:35 PM on December 20, 2007

I too am using more than 2GB of Ram (only 2.5 admittedly) on Windows XP for use in my CAD job. Our IT guys implemented the '3GB switch' as probably discussed in previous answers, so it is possible.

Though I would recommend XP64 which I once used and was amazed how fast it worked with lots of RAM
posted by sdevans at 1:33 AM on December 21, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the help everyone. I'm going to get XP 64bit.
posted by bostonhill at 7:43 AM on December 21, 2007

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