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Win95 only sees 64MB in a 128MB PC

Posted on 1998-03-24
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I bought a new PII/300 with 128MB (single DIMM) and AGP. I orginally had Win95a on it. It did see 128MB. I found out that 95a does not understand about AGP so I used the OEM 95b CD-ROM and USBSUPP to upgrade 95 to OSR2.1. Everything works great except that Win95 only sees 64MB of my 128MB. Both the MEM command and the 95 General screen show 64MB. Oddly enough, the Supermicro motherboard CMOS shows 128MB and booting from a Win95 OSR2.1 startup disk shows 128MB using the MEM command. Only booting from the HD has 64MB. Even "Safe Command Prompt Mode" shows 64MB so no drivers can be involved. I verified the startup disk IO.SYS was the same as the HD version.

Any help to make Win95 see the rest of my memory would be appreciated. Thanks.

Will
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Question by:KC6X
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by:busuka
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I think that difference in CONFIG.SYS files. Can you post both HD
and startup disk versions ?
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by:KC6X
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The HD and startup disk versions using the VER command are both 4.00.950.1111. CONFIG.SYS is ignored by "Safe Command Prompt Mode".

The only difference in "Safe Command Prompt Mode" that I can see is the MSDOS.SYS file which I beleive is getting read. Perhaps an undocumented option is needed.

I think 95B can handle over 64MB. Someone else told me their 95B is using 128MB. He claimed it said 128MB on the "general" screen. Of course, everything over a certain amount becomes excess swapping area.
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by:dew_associates
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Hi Will!  We are an OEM and reseller of SM products. Which motherboard do you have and have you updated the Bios yet? Also, who is the maker of the Dimm module?
Dennis
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by:KC6X
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It's a Supermicro P6DLS motherboard. It appears to be at the most current level of BIOS dated 12/22/97. I'm not sure of the maker of the DIMM module. I didn't look that close at it. I know it's a single 128MB DIMM though.
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by:dew_associates
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KC, "generally" the DLS is supposed to work with a 128MB Dimm stick, however if the settings are 60ns or faster in OSR2 and you bring the timings to the edge, the Dimm fails. On the other hand, the Dimm itself may have failed. The only way we have gotten 128MB Dimm modules to work in any of the slots was to file slots "0" thru "3" or 512MB. Otherwise, we have had to step down to (2) 64's.

Here's what I would try. Boot to the Bios setup and reset the defaults and boot the system to the Win95 setup disk so you don't boot to Win95 right away. Now boot back into the Bios setup and check and/or change things like mouse support, hard disk parameters etc, but just small tweaks and try that.

Try these specific changes:

Disable USB function
SDRAM autosizing disabled
DRAM integrity mode = Non ECC

Let me know how you make out! You may need to drop to (2) 64's, but I'll check to see if there are issues open that are similar.
Dennis
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by:KC6X
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I tried what you suggested. Changed other BIOS options made no difference.

My USB was already disabled, the DRAM Integrity mode was already Non-ECC. However, I did try disabling the DRAM Autosizing. Win95B still thinks I have 64MB. The only change was a slow count by the BIOS up to 128MB instead of it being preset. I don't think there is anything wrong with the SDRAM itself.

Going to 2 64s would be a pain since I'd have to send it back to the vendor to do it. I hope there is another solution available. Would going to OSR2.5 help? Maybe I can find that.

Will
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by:dew_associates
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Okay Will, let's take your machine from the beginning as I think there are some misconceptions involved and there may be a Win95 setup problem that needs to be corrected. First.....You state,

"I bought a new PII/300 with 128MB (single DIMM) and AGP. I orginally had Win95a on it. It did see 128MB. I found out that 95a does not understand about AGP so I used the OEM 95b CD-ROM and USBSUPP to upgrade 95 to OSR2.1. Everything works great except that Win95 only sees 64MB of my 128MB."

None of the current Win95 versions from Win OSR1 the retail version through 2.5 provide AGP support. This is "partially" enabled through the drivers that came with the card. If the Bios reports 128 at boot, then it's not the hardware, it's the Windows 95 setup. Something is impeding Windows 95 from seeing the entire 128MB. So let's start with how you loaded 95.

1. When you loaded Win95 OSR 2.1, you should have Fdiskd' the drive using LBA mode, formatted it with the OSR 2.1 setup disk, setup your autoexec.bat and config.sys only, copies over to the hard drive Himem.sys, Mscdex.exe, your cd rom driver and then loaded OSR 2.1.

2. Next, you should have cleared off the device manager conflicts beginning with Bus Mastering, then the TX chipset drivers that came on the CD that came with the DLS, then USB support that is available from Microsoft as an add-on to 2.1.

3. Next, you would have added driver support for the AGP card.

Does this sound identical to what you have done?
Dennis
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by:busuka
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Just curious, can Win95 see 128MB in Safe Mode ? I think no. Maybe I wrong, but I like
to see CONFIG.SYS anyway.
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by:KC6X
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I agree it's not a hardware problem. It's something unique only on boot from the HD. Booting from a OSR2.1 startup disk created using Windows Setup from the control panel shows 128MB.

The setup went as follows:

I had previously had a working Win95 OSR1 system which I tranferred to a PII/300 with AGP by physically moving the HD. The motherboard died so I used it as an excuse to upgrade to a PII/300 from a P100. Starting it up of course made a mess and I was only able to use the video card in 16 color 640 x 480 mode. It did see 128MB at that time.

I researched on the net and found out that AGP as you say is partially enabled with OSR2. I did not want to reinstall all my apps so I renamed WIN.COM, then did a setup in "Command Prompt Mode" with real mode CD-ROM drivers and the OSR2.1 OEM CD-ROM. I know it's not the MS approved method. ;)

Once Win95B started, I applied the USB Support patch, added the drivers for the 440LX chipset from Supermicro, and then installed the video drivers for the Diamond Fire 1000 Pro card. Rebooting, then the video card was also to go into higher color modes. As I was checking the Windows General screen an hour or so later is when I discovered it said 64MB. I later tracked it down to it happening even in "Safe Command Prompt Mode".

I tried a SYS C: from the startup disk and it made no difference.

I hope this helps. I appreciate your efforts.

Will
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by:dew_associates
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Will, unfortunately I've got some real bad news for you. We've done alot of Supermicro boards, everything fromP5's through P6DLx all versions, and your going to be there until that be place down below freezes over trying to get that system right and in the end it won't be. Win95, especially 2.1 and later, takes a critical snapshot of the Bios during the loadin procedure, and there's little chance of correcting this when going from a P5 processor 100MHz and below to those running 200 or 233, and there's no chance when you step up to P6 Pent Pro or Pentium II. There's just two great a change and Win95 can't handle that kind of change. There's too many virtual device drivers to alter, which windows handles during the initial hardware install. This is so evident that even if we get a partial bad load of the initial OS and IE 4.01 and SBE, we just Fdisk and start over. I'd like to be able to give you better news, but in good conscience I can't tell you you can when I know in the long run you won't be running at half the capacity of that MB.
Dennis
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by:dew_associates
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Jason, you obviously didn't read the entire post. That method doesm, indeed, work for P5 based systems, but not for LX, NX and BX chipset based systems as there is not naitive support for any of the boards chipset features, None!
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by:isle00
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(Just to clarify) - OSR2 can recognize and use more than 64mb of RAM.  I've put 128mb in a machine before - granted, I didn't get much of a speed boost out of it, but the machine was loading huge autocad files and I put most of it towards a hard drive cache.

Anyhow, back to the problem - get yourself a Win95A boot disk and use the mem command (you'll need "mem" from a win95A machine) - if still 64 mb, then you have a hardware problem.. should be a quick way to narrow it down.
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by:dew_associates
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Will, here's some of the typical reasons for memory mismatches on computers between cmos/Dos memory and Windows 95. Try and work through some of these. If this doesn't work, then I have another idea that may work, but it will take some work to implement it.

 - Himem.sys is not using all the memory on an EISA computer.
 - A driver or program loading from the Config.sys or Autoexec.bat file is claiming a portion of RAM.
 - A virtual device driver loading from the System.ini file is claiming a portion of RAM.
  - A protected-mode driver is causing the memory mismatch.
  - The registry is damaged.
  - A CMOS setting is disabling some of the RAM.
  - You have the "maxphyspage=" setting in your System.ini file set to restrict Windows 95 from using some of the installed memory.
  - Ramdrive.sys is being loaded in the Config.sys file.
 
To resolve these, use the methods below:
 
Himem.sys Not Using All the Memory on an EISA Computer
------------------------------------------------------
If you have an EISA computer, determine whether Himem.sys is addressing all the available memory. To do so, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: Q82712
   TITLE     : HIMEM.SYS /EISA Switch
 
Device or Program Loading from the Config.sys or Autoexec.bat File
------------------------------------------------------------------
To determine whether a real-mode device or program is claiming a portion of RAM, follow these steps to bypass the loading of the Config.sys and Autoexec.bat files:
 
1. Restart your computer. When you see the "Starting Windows 95" message, press the F8 key, and then choose Step-By-Step Confirmation from the Startup menu.
 
2. Press Y at each prompt except the following prompts:
 
    - Process your startup device drivers (CONFIG.SYS)?
    - Process your startup command file (AUTOEXEC.BAT)?
 
3. After Windows 95 loads, check the memory reported on the Performance tab in System properties.
 
Virtual Device Driver Loading from the System.ini File
------------------------------------------------------
 
To determine whether this behavior is caused by a virtual device driver being loaded from the System.ini file, replace the System.ini file with a clean version. To do so, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: Q140441: Creating a New SYSTEM.INI File Without Third-Party Drivers
 
Protected-Mode Driver Causing Memory Mismatch
---------------------------------------------
To determine whether a protected-mode device driver is causing a memory mismatch, perform the following steps:
 
1. In Control Panel, double-click System.
2. Click the Device Manager tab.
3. Double-click a listed device, and then click the Original Configuration (Current) check box to clear it. When you are prompted to restart the computer, click No.
4. Repeat step 3 for each listed device.

NOTE: Do not repeat step 3 for devices listed on the System Devices branch. When you disable the hard disk controller, click Yes to restart the computer if the hard disk controller is a PCI device.

PCI hard disk controllers cannot be loaded and unloaded dynamically. For additional information about PCI hard disk controllers, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base: Q136106 Re-enabling CMD PCI IDE Controller Hangs Computer

5. Restart the computer.
6. After Windows 95 loads, check the memory reported on the Performance tab in System properties.
 
Registry Is Damaged
-------------------
To determine whether the registry is damaged, replace the current registry with a backup copy. For information about how to do so, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:Q131431 How to Troubleshoot Registry Errors
 
A CMOS Setting Is Disabling Some of the RAM
-------------------------------------------
Some computers have CMOS settings that can disable a portion of the computer's RAM or prevent Windows 95 from recognizing the RAM. Computers known to have such a setting include:
 
 - The Cyrix 166. This computer has a CMOS setting labeled "Hold to 15 MB RAM." If this setting is enabled, Windows 95 reports only 15 MB of RAM on a computer that has more than 15 MB of RAM installed. Disable this CMOS setting to cause Windows 95 to recognize all the RAM in the computer.
 
maxphyspage Setting in System.ini File
--------------------------------------
 
Remove or disable the "maxphyspage=" line in the System.ini file, and then restart your computer. To disable the line, place a semicolon (;) at the beginning of the line.
 
Ramdrive.sys Being Loaded
-------------------------
 
Check your Config.sys file for a line containing "Ramdrive.sys." If you have this line, it means you are using a RAM drive. To disable the RAM drive, remove or disable the line in the Config.sys file that contains "ramdrive.sys."
 
Let me know how you make out!
Dennis
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by:KC6X
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Thanks for the comments on this.

The advice about bad drivers, INI files, registry, etc. does not come into play since even in "Safe Command Prompt Mode" this is occuring. The registry and any such drivers are not loaded in that mode. If I was seeing 128MB in DOS mode but not in Windows mode, I would consider these as possibilities. I also don't have an EISA PC so that also does not apply. I do not use RAMDISK or maxphysicalpage. The registry looks good. Norton's Win Doctor gives it a clean bill of health.

The "critical BIOS snapshot" sounds like a possibility. When I do load HIMEM.SYS or QEMM's extended drivers, they too report 64MB. What I still don't understand is how do I get 64MB booting from the HD and booting from a Win95 OSR2.1 startup floppy gives me 128MB? I have thought about creating a startup floppy with copies of the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT from the HD. However, this would probably be a tremendous performance hit. It is better to have 64MB booted under the HD.

This is sounding like I'm stuck with 64MB of my 128MB being used until I can upgrade to Win98 or NT. I sent a message to Supermicro Support about this problem over a week ago and they have not even responded so at least I'm getting some answers here. I have decided NOT to reformat my HD and start over if that is the only solution left. Reloading and recustomizing all my apps would be a greater pain than the lack of memory. Later this year, I'll upgrade to NT probably and it, hopefully, is smarter than Win95 about these things.

Will


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by:dew_associates
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Will, as I believe I noted above, this is not a supermicro issue, but rather a Windows 95 problem. Don't expect a Win 98 load over to fair any better, because it won't. I've reviewed the registry entries that would have to be changed or the keys that would have to be removed to have Windows correctly adjust the memory and motherboard settings and came up with something that may work for you. Go into device manager and scroll down to system devices, highlight the main entry and click remove. During the restart, go into the Bios setup and make sure it's set for a PnP Bios, change it if it's not, save it and the boot through. This will force Win95 to check the motherboards resources and reconfigure the boot files. Are you sure you wouldn't rather format and rebuild the OS. The DLS board really flys when set up right.
Dennis
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by:dew_associates
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Will, the most recent Bios for that board is now 1.33. Also, another thought, if your only running one Processor, have you put a terminating board in the vacant slot?
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by:KC6X
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I finally got a response from Supermicro:

you must have the himem.sys to check with the proper memory.


DIMM memory spec for the Intel LX Chipset:

3.3v, unbuffered, 10ns and 4 clock with SPD=EEPROM.
do not have more than 16 or 18chips (ECC) on each DIMM module.

please choose the high density(fewer chips used the better).

you can use the new BIOS below.
----

The new BIOS flash didn't help. The motherboard is 1.33 now with the 2.5 flash installed. It is only 1 processor. It's not the SMP model. The DIMM is 16 chip.

I'd be willing to try the delete the mainboard from the system devices. However, I don't believe that would affect anything in "Safe Command Prompt Mode".

Will
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by:Smedley
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KC6X....  I have no experience with the motherboard you are using but you mention using QEMM memory managers to try to solve this.  Just a suggestion to assist in isolating the fault try this.  From my understanding and experience with QEMM it is necesary to use the setting "UR=1M:128M" on the QEMM386.SYS line to impliment larger memory than 64Mb.
 
With this read dew_associates comment to me on QEMM in: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Q.10042332
I am about to try my system without QEMM as he suggests to see what happens in my case.

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by:dew_associates
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Will, add these 2 lines as the first 2 in your config.sys and tell me what happens. <Don't worry it won't break anything>

DEVICE=HIMEM.SYS
DOS=HIGH,UMB

Dennis
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by:KC6X
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Smedley's answer was the fix! Adding the USERAM=1MB:128MB in the QEMM.SYS CONFIG.SYS statement forced QEMM to override what Win95 told it and use 128MB. Whether there is an equivalent parameter in HIMEM.SYS, I don't know. I'll check the other question mentioned as it may be good to know. For sure, HIMEM.SYS without parameters is reporting 64MB.

Of course, we may never know why going from OSR1 to OSR2.1 caused Win95 to begin to report the wrong memory size without this parameter. Coming from a mainframe background, it's always bothered me how many things on the PC platform are simply unexplained.

Smedley, please submit this as the answer and I'll award you the points. Next for me is to figure out why Win95 doesn't see my HD controller on my motherboard as a bus mastering type but I'll dig around first and see if that deserves another question.

Thanks again everyone for your help.

Will
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by:dew_associates
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Will, it's interesting to note that there was no mention of QEMM until well into this thread. As I had advised Smedley earlier, and you now, especially with this motherboard, QEMM will provide you with no advantage what so ever, and in fact may result in a loss of performance.
Dennis
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So you are saying it's better to run with HIMEM.SYS and 64MB than QEMM 97 and 128MB? As to memory manager, we can still get into why Win95 reports 64MB. Is there a HIMEM.SYS parameter like USERAM?

Without the USERAM parameter, QEMM reports 64MB, HIMEM.SYS reports 64MB, and "Safe Command Prompt Mode" reports 64MB.

Will
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by:busuka
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QEMM97 is pretty safe and good memory manager. It's also BEST for conventional-RAM
hungry DOS apps (like games) and definitely better than HIMEM/EMM386 pack.
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Smedley earned 100 total points
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I will not reenter all the above but as requested am submitting the comment about "UR=1M:128M" as suggested before as an answer.  
 
I do agree that QEMM is a good and safe memory manager but again I say have a look at what Dennis says about it as you may be using it for the wrong reasons.
 
Maybe Dennis can give more information on this in another thread.
 
I use QEMM as I and some others who I support are still using DOS programs that are inhibited in operation and effective performance by the memory management offered by Windows 95.
 
Typically I get 10 to 15Mb better Low DOS memory with QEMM than I can achieve with HIMEM.SYS and EMM386.EXE using MEMMAKER (from older versions of Windows 95 or DOS 6.2x) and I take Low memory from about 580Mb without EMM386 to around 643 free in Real DOS or in a DOS Window MEM /C says "Largest executable program size 615K (630,032 bytes) with QEMM.
 
Dennis I realise it is a compromise but sometimes for "transparent" computer operation for the end user we have to take these choices.  Not the only example but typical is DOS Q&A 4.x (still a good DataBase) when loaded with some of its enhansments will not load in Windows 95 without a decent amount of Low DOS memory.  I have had it fall over if there is less than 620mg free but it works perfectly when QEMM is installed properly.

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While I would prefer to have Win95 report the right amount of memory in the first place, this answer is sufficient for my purposes. I normally use QEMM 97 and since it has a parameter (USERAM) to fool Win95 into knowing about the rest of my memory, I consider this a solution. I know that Win95 does not efficiently use memory above a certain amount anyway and it simply adds to its Vcache. QEMM reports my Vcache now in the 60MB+ range.

Dennis, I would be willing to continue the discussions about performance and other issues off-line to this thread if you wish.

Thanks again.

Will
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