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Can Windows95 only use 32mb RAM?

Posted on 1998-12-30
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I've heard from a couple different sources that W95 can only use 32MB RAM, and that W98 can use 64MB RAM. If this is true, could you please explain why in detail? And, could you explain why so many people buy (and sell) 64MB RAM for their W95 machines if it isn't all being used?
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Question by:30matt30
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1731245
You heard wrong.
Windows 95 or 98 will run with more memory than you can install on any motherboard.
They are both 32-bit operating systems. (If that clears up any misunderstanding)
I hope this helps.
Regards,
Ralph
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by:bartsmit
ID: 1731246
Pentium motherboards will only *cache* up to 64MB of RAM, unless they have an HX chipset. This means that Windows will often run slower when you add memory over 64MB.

Pentium II motherboards fixed the shortcoming.
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by:30matt30
ID: 1731247
I've heard this from two credible sources: a nationally syndicated radio talk show host whose specialty is computers, and a local network consultant. They are credible enough that I would like an explanation of what assumptions they may be operating under; in other words, an reasonable explanation why two seemingly credible sources would say this. Also, a clarification on my part: I realize you can insert more than 32 or 64 MB RAM in W95 and W98, respectively, and that in each case the control panel and the DOS startup window will reflect the total RAM accurately. The debate seems to be in whether these OSs can utilize the extra RAM.
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by:heathprovost
ID: 1731248
Windows 95/98 can physically access up to 4 gigs of memory. This is the limit of its address space.  Now as to "utilizing" that much memory, the answer is probably not.  The "limit" you are refering to is not a physical limit, but rather a general guideline as to how much memory is enough.  Under Windows95/98, there is very little performance increase achieved by increasing ram becuase generally speaking 64MB is "enough" to do the work most people do with their computer.  Now lets say you are running 15 or 20 different apps at the same time, them 128MB will make all the difference in the world.  It is a matter of how much is enough for most people.  I think you should give the points to rmarotta since he answered your question correctly.
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1731249
Maybe you misunderstood what the conditions were that your sources used to make their statements.
As heathprovost pointed out, performance improvement with the addition of more memory reaches a point of diminishing returns, depending on how the computer is used.

Is there something specific you are trying to do?
(Perhaps you want advice about how much memory to add to your computer.)

Ralph
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by:a111a111a111
ID: 1731250
Windows 95 can run with 32 MB with no problem.
The other applications on your PC like: Netscape, Word, Execl and so need some kind of space as a media to load (work) from.

If you have more then 32 mb then the other applications will load
themself into the memory (RAM).

In case the you have only 32 MB RAM then the other applications will load onto the swap drive and the RAM will be swapped with the HD swap file upon use.

More memory can speed up your application if you see that the HD (disk drive) is working as a popcorn machine.

 
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by:a111a111a111
ID: 1731251
BTW. I have PII 266 with 128 MB ram and upon load I can see that
the use of memory is about 16%.
that is about 21 MB.



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by:a111a111a111
ID: 1731252
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by:a111a111a111
ID: 1731253
from: http://www.crucial.com/library/howmuch.asp

How Much Memory Do You Need?
                      The type of software applications you’re using has a direct correlation to how
                      much memory you need on your system to run them effectively. Today’s
                      recommended minimum for running most applications is 16 MB and, if you are a
                      Windows 95 user, 32 MB. Couple this with the fact that you may be running
                      several programs at one time or are running software that is extremely graphics
                      intensive and you may need much more!

                      Here are some general guidelines we have developed which correspond with
                      today’s typical applications and the amount of memory recommended for each.
                      Remember, the more you do, the more you need!
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by:a111a111a111
ID: 1731254
BTW you can use the memmon.exe program to monitor how much RAM is is use and how much is left.

download memmon.exe from http://www.hili.com/~shay/memmon.exe
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1731255
Now we have an "answer", (which repeats prior comments) and all this anecdotal advice without any response from 30matt30.

I KNEW I shouldn't have posted that last comment..........
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by:30matt30
ID: 1731256
a111a111a111's proposed answer is appreciated, but I don't have performance issues with my machine, and I don't need to know how much RAM I should have for the software I use. I am really just asking a technical question for curiosity's sake.
And to the other answerers, thank you for taking the time to address my issue. I don't really get the whole points thing with this site, so I plan to withdraw after this comment. I don't want to mess anyone up by not giving the right points or something.
I really feel I'm preaching to the choir with these respondants. I've always figured W95 worked the way you have all said it worked. But these two seemingly credible sources have sown a seed of doubt, and I really can't rest until I find out just what they mean. But I should be asking *them* for clarification, since they hold the minority view. Sorry for taking your time.
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by:stzvi
ID: 1731257
it's not truth. win95 supporting more than 64mb whith no problem. buy you can see the difference just in a specific application you will run.
sol
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by:Jason_S
ID: 1731258
Yes it is only a rumor that Win95 will not recognize any more than 32Meg.  This may have been the case with certain systems at one time. (probably with an early Beta version of Win95/AKA Chicago)  Those tech guys they put on radio, and TV are wrong more often than you think.  Never take there word as gospel.

Sounds like you have your answer from several sources.  Since rmorotta was first with this, you sould reject the current answer, and ask him to submit his answer again unless you want more clarification.
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by:Creg
ID: 1731259
More RAM is recommended for Windows 95 is so that your computer won't use vitual memory as often on the hard drive. Every time you boot up, Windows 95 creates a file called a "swap file" on your hard drive. It is a temporary file which expands or shrinks in size as needed. If your computer doesn't have enough RAM space to temporarily store information, Windows 95 expands virtual memory to ease the burden on your RAM. Unfortunately, your hard drive has a slower access time than RAM components, so your computer runs slower. Increasing your RAM to improve computer speed is highly recommended. ~~I am a user of Windows 95 and a computer student. Sorry I don't have any information on Windows 98.
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by:jepe
ID: 1731260
So you want it explained in detail:

The 64 Memory Thing:
    More memory=faster performance, especially for
    graphics (of which) process large amounts of bits.
    Is it true?? that Himem.sys has a limit of 64MB ??
    (YEP) on certain platforms, and Himem.sys is required
    to load Windows 95. But Windows 95 itself is not
    limited to 64MB, bizarreness isn't it--hehe.
    Himem.sys is a driver that manages your system's
    memory. Windows 95 can make use of memory above
    the first megabyte, so it has to have Himem and
    Himem.sys reports the memory available in the
    system, that it is limited to 64MB on ISA- based
    systems. (EISA systems use a different method
    to report memory, and Himem.sys can handle up
    to 4GB of memory on those systems.) RESULT=
    Himem.sys cannot identify or use any memory
    above this limit. HOWEVER, Himem.sys does not
    impose its limitations on Windows. At BOOT,
    Windows 95 loads its own virtual-mode drivers,
    to handle this stuff like, hard disk access and memory
    management.

    The Windows 95 virtual-mode driver does not
    have the 64MB limitation and after loading, the
    virtual-mode driver replaces Himem.sys, and your
    system is able to make full use of the (128
    or whatever installed memory).

    However, just because your system can use the
    memory above 64MB does not mean that it will do
    so efficiently. Another important factor is whether
    or not your motherboard's chip set and BIOS are
    designed to work with the additional memory.
    Again, some systems are not able to cache more
    than 64MB of memory, so you can actually get a loss of
    performance by adding more memory in some cases.
    You may need to increase your secondary system
    cache (called L2 cache) and you'll need 512KB of L2 cache
    for 64MB of installed memory.
    Most motherboards use a SIMM for L2 cache, so
    upgrading it is usually as simple as taking out one
    module and inserting another.

Once you go above 64Meg RAM, contrary to popular belief, the Win 95 swap file will almost always remain at ZERO.

                                                   Thanx JAG

Are these the details you where looking for?
Jepe
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1731261
JAG,
Himem.sys isn't used for memory above 1MB.

It is used for handling memory between the Dos 640K limit ("conventional memory") and the first 1MB boundary ("high memory").

matt,
We need some feedback from you about what you wish to do with your question.
It will be auto-graded after a time, and your points awarded to stzvi for the proposed "answer" if you abandon it.

Regards,
Ralph
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by:30matt30
ID: 1731262
JEPE's (JAG's) answer seems most plausible as an explanation of memory and how the idea of memory limitation gets around.
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1731263
Plausible?  See my comment above.

A memory manager is needed to address RAM above 1MB.  Windows9x has such a driver built-in.

I've never seen anything to confirm the following:

>  "Once you go above 64Meg RAM, contrary to popular belief, the Win 95 swap file will almost always remain at ZERO."
(But that doesn't mean it's not true.)

Perhaps jepe has a supporting reference for that statement which is available on the web?

Ralph
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by:jepe
ID: 1731264
Ralph
You're right himem.sys is not exclusefly used for memory above 1Mb (in the past you had to use EMS and XMS handlers to use memory (the memory managers came later) above this boudery I believe? and didn't they need the device=himem.sys? how W95 and up handle this currently I don't know? but W95 needs himem.sys Yes?).
The area you where speeking of 640KB to 1MB is called the upper memory area and to use this you need himem.sys aswell as to set the switch /UMB to use this area.

Jepe
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by:jepe
ID: 1731265
Just wanted to live up this issue because it also interests me.
I have to go now, I'm late already
See ya tomorow
Jepe
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1731266
Your statements are mostly correct except for: "...? but W95 needs himem.sys Yes?)".

Actually, you don't need to include the driver in config.sys, as Windows doesn't need it. (Win9x automatically executes HIMEM.SYS when it loads)
The only time to use it in connection with Win9x is to include it when installing the operating system.
After that, you can simply delete the startup files, unless needed for Dos sessions.

Ralph
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by:jepe
ID: 1731267
I am always afraid of posting replys, I don't want to tread on some one's toes, but I'm attached to the details and I like to see things as appropriate as possible. Please don't take offence at my replays.

Therefor I shouln't have posted the 'once you go above 64Meg RAM, swapfile' thing. Cause I couldn't veryfy it. Plus: I also didn't mention that the text proceeding this statement was: "You need a motherboard that will support caching of any RAM above 64Meg, otherwise performance will suffer greatly. The motherboard must also be able to quickly locate the address lines of that memory."
What I can tell is: I've compared (using System Monitor) 2 identical systems, one with 16MB RAM and one with just 64MB RAM (not above). One both systems I opend and edited the same applications and files (5apps & +40 files). The swapfile size on the 16MB system was about 30MB whereas on the 64MB system it was appr. 10MB.

The Himem.sys thing:
I'm quoting MS 'old' Windows & MS-DOS user's guide:
Type of memory
=============
- Conventional memory : Up to the first 640Kb of memory on a computer. Because MS-DOS manages conventional. memory, you don't  need an additional memory manager to use conventional memory....
- Upper memory area : The 384K of memory above your computer's 640K of 'CM'. The upper memory area is used by system hardware, such as your display adapter. Unused parts of the upper memory area are called upper memory blocks (UMBs)....
- Extended memory (XMS) : Memory beyond 1MB on computers with 80286 or higher processors. Extended memory "requires" an extended-memory manager, such as "HIMEM.SYS". (I quote: HIMEM.SYS most likely IS used for memory above 1MB) Windows and Windows-based applications require extended memory.
- High memory area (HMA) : The first 64K of extended memory....
- Virtual memory : Space on your hard disk that Windows uses as if it were actually memory.

Further more I can quote some statements out of MS Windows 95 Resource kit:
- config.sys settings incorporated in Windows 95 IO.SYS
.himem.sys : enables acces to the HMA. This line loads and runs the real mode Memory Manager. HIMEM.SYS is loaded by default in Windows 95....
- Setup fails to start. ....Check for adequate XMS memory. Windows 95 requires at least 3 MB of XMS. ...  Step-by-Step Confirmation to verify that HIMEM.SYS is loading...
-Safe Mode Command Prompt Only ... if you want to avoid loading HIMEM.SYS ...

I dare to say Windows 95 needs HIMEM.SYS or equivalent and HIMEM.SYS is used for memory above 1MB.

Regards
Jepe

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by:rmarotta
ID: 1731268
Jepe.
Some more (un-needed?) details.......

As I understand (and I'm not quoting) Himem.sys links Dos to that first 64K page,(that's 64"K") above 1MB, where an extended memory manager takes over.

I thought you might have confused this when you made the statement about Himem having a limit of 64MB.  Actually, as pointed out somewhere above, I think Windows 95/98 can physically access up to 4 GB of memory!  

Another thing.  I said "(Win9x automatically executes HIMEM.SYS when it loads)", and you confirm this by quoting "HIMEM.SYS is loaded by default in Windows 95".

Therefore, there is NO need to load it in config.sys.  The config.sys file is NOT needed by Windows9x at all, unless used to load real mode drivers.

Had enough yet, Matt?
Regards to all,
Ralph
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by:d00d27
ID: 1731269
A) HIMEM uses only the part of the first meg of ram that is not used by conventional memory
B) I used to run windows95 on a 486/33 with 4mb of ram
it wasn't pretty, but it ran (so did duke3d in fact, although with a framerate of 2 {can you say "slideshow"?})
you can run anything on anything, the problem is that the performance will suffer

HIMEM is needed, though, as no matter what you run and what you use it requires conventional and high memory (command.com for example).
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by:rmarotta
ID: 1731270
30matt30,
What do you intend to do with this question?
Ralph
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by:30matt30
ID: 1731271
I feel my question has been answered. I thought I had given points to JEPE, who I felt did the best job. I don't know how to end the cycle. Tell me how to close this question out and I will.
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jepe earned 50 total points
ID: 1731272
Once again:

What you have heard is not true.

Explanation:

Is it true?? that Himem.sys has a limit of 64MB ??
(YEP) on 'certain' platforms, and Himem.sys is required to load Windows 95. But Windows 95 itself is "NOT" limited to 64MB.
Himem.sys is a driver that manages (reports) your system's memory. Windows 95 can make use of memory above the first megabyte, so it has to have Himem and Himem.sys "reports" the memory available in the system, that it is limited to 64MB on ISA- based systems. (EISA systems use a different method to report memory, and Himem.sys can handle up to 4GB of memory on those systems.) RESULT= Himem.sys cannot identify or use any memory above this limit. HOWEVER, Himem.sys does "NOT" impose its limitations on Windows. At BOOT, Windows 95 "LOADS IT'S OWN VIRTUAL-MODE DRIVERS", to handle this stuff like, hard disk access and memory management.

The Windows 95 virtual-mode driver does "NOT" have the 64MB limitation and after loading, the virtual-mode driver replaces Himem.sys, and your system is able to make full use of the (128 or whatever installed memory).

However, just because your system can use the memory above 64MB does not mean that it will do so efficiently. Another important factor is whether or not your motherboard's chip set and BIOS are  designed to work with the additional memory.
Again, some systems are not able to cache more than 64MB of memory, so you can actually get a loss of performance by adding more memory in some cases. You may need to increase your secondary system cache (called L2 cache) and you'll need 512KB of L2 cache for 64MB of installed memory.

Regards
Jepe
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