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RAM dilema!

Posted on 2001-06-04
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Last Modified: 2013-12-28
What does it likely mean when you have 128 MB RAM installed but get the following information:

1.  The boot-up screen lists 32 MB of RAM
2.  START --> RUN --> COMMAND --> MEM  lists 64 MB of TOTAL RAM & 128 MB of FREE RAM!!!!!!

I know I have a RAM problem but this info seems crazy!  Anyway, thanks for any & all feedback.
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Question by:heat_doctor
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by:stevenlewis
ID: 6154700
first if the post screen is only counting 32 mb of ram, and you have 128 installed, then your mobo may not be recognizing it. Is it one stick of 128 or 2 x 64, or 4 x 32? Is it matched? sounds like mismatched ram to me, or they may not be seated correctly. If it is one stick, then take it back and get new ram
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by:heat_doctor
ID: 6154734
This is a friends computer.  Don't know the stick (board) configuration!  This is a 2 year old computer and the RAM (memory) problem has just raised it's ugly head (as in "not enough memory to run programs" messages).  I figure the problem is either a virus or a bad board.  So, I will proceed as follows unless someone has a better idea.

1. Will run a virus check after installing a virus program (the original virus program was not on the computer).  Even if a virus is detected, there is probably no guarantee that this will solve the problem.  

2.  Next step (before opening up the computer) will be to reformat the hard drive & reinstall windows.  Who knows what that will achieve (if the cause was a virus).  The computer needs a reformat in any case.

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by:stevenlewis
ID: 6154746
sounds like a plan. Has this RAm config been in the machine all along, or did they just change it?
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by:heat_doctor
ID: 6154749
No change...
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by:teohkahhoe
ID: 6155078
maybe your motherboard'S RAM slot couldn't support your 128RAM,I SUGGEST YOU TO change your 128RAM to 64 b'coz
either your RAMslot is damaged or couldn't support it
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by:Matt_Houben
ID: 6155345
- What kind of motherboard is it?
- Did the problem appear right after the memory was extended to 128 MB.

what I suspect is a type of chipset on the motherboard that does not cope with 128 MB very well.

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by:kneea
ID: 6155384
What does it say when you look at properties of 'my computer'

Does it say 128mb there too?

How many pieces of sdram do you have?

A single piece of 128Mb will only work in pcs that support 100MHz or higher memory. (there might be a pc whic breaks the rule, but I've never seen one)

Try a single 64mb instead, and then add a second 64mb.

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by:heat_doctor
ID: 6156967
The computer (a Gateway) CAME with 128 MB of RAM.  Therefore it is COMPATABLE.
I said the problem JUST raised its ugly head.

My Computer Properties says 128 MB.  Crazy...
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Expert Comment

by:the3rd
ID: 6157914
Heat,
  I think you should reseat your ram. They do become corroded after time. Mostly because this just started.
A lot easier than re-formating.

Regards, Bud
http://www.wintrouble.net
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by:heat_doctor
ID: 6157938
Good point Bud...

Can anyone explain why the Boot screen shows 32 MB of RAM while the START -->
RUN --> COMMAND --> MEM shows 64 MB TOTAL RAM and the MY COMPUTER -->
PROPERTIES shows 128 MB????
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by:kneea
ID: 6157948
Could the 32mb at start up is the video ram?
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by:kneea
ID: 6157960
The MEM command is for MS DOS and does not involve windows.

I get 64Mb on my pc with MEM and my pc has 128MB.

Look at the free column - in there I get something near to 128Mb

I don't think that MS DOS could ever cope with more than 64Mb.  That is the limit and at the dos prompt that is all you will get.

...unless someone proves me wrong!
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by:Darker
ID: 6158239
Heat Doctor,
The 32MB RAM you are seeing at boot is from your video card.  This is the first info you see having to do with the video card BIOS, and it is showing that the card has 32MB of RAM.

The 64MB you are seeing with the MEM command is because that is the cacheable limit of DOS.  You could have 1 GB of RAM in your machine and DOS would only be able to utilize 64 MB of it.

The way to test if your RAM is being detected is to look in your BIOS or system properties.

Regarding you "Not Enough Memory" errors, it sounds like there is a memory leak somewhere.  Do you still get this problem after a re-format and re-install of JUST Windows? If so that means one of the other programs you are intalling is leaking memory and using up all your RAM.
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by:heat_doctor
ID: 6158315
From what you guys are telling me, there could actually be NO problem with the installed RAM.  So, how do I tell if the 128 MB of RAM is really working on the system?
"darker":  you mention looking in the BIOS or system properties... by "system properties", do you mean MY COMPUTER -->PROPERTIES --> PERFORMANCE?  Is the latter the real reflection of OPERATING RAM?  Someone from GATEWAY told me that TOTAL memory from the MEM command was the "operating" RAM!!!  Someone from Comcast At Home Cable told me they were measuring 32 MB of RAM on the system (HOW ARE THEY ABLE TO DO THAT???).

I already solved the memory leak issue by getting rid of a bunch of stuff in the system tray... No more "not enough memory" errors since.  But I'm still wondering whether I have 128 MB of "operating" RAM!!
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by:Matt_Houben
ID: 6158697
If you want to be sure that your RAM is ok, just run a memory diagnostic software. Go to www.ontrack.com and download the free evaluation copy of their Ontrack Data Advisor 5.00

It tests all your RAM and HDDs. It runs from a boot diskette, so no windows etc. present.
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Expert Comment

by:the3rd
ID: 6159609
Heat,
 All this can be resolved without speculating as to what or how many sticks you have by cracking the hood/taling off the cover and looking at your ram modules.

An while you there, re-seat them.

also see:
http://www.wintrouble.net/discus/messages/58/2637.html?991325393

Regards, Bud
http://www.wintrouble.net
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Darker earned 50 total points
ID: 6159985
Heat,
Yes in the Performance tab, if it is showing 128MB of RAM then Windows is utilizing 128 MB of RAM, no problem there unless you have more than 128MB installed, which you don't.  Windows won't detect the RAM and not use it, so the only problem would be if that showed less than 128MB.

As for the Gateway person telling you that the MEM command gave the "operating" RAM, I don't think he/she know exactly what they were talking about.  MEM is a DOS command and as I said before DOS can't do anything with more than 64MB.  So when they said "operating" RAM, it's possbile they mean't for DOS.  But the MEM command definately doesn't show what Windows is using.

There is no need to open your computer if you know that there is 128MB installed and Windows is detecting 128MB (verify this in My Comp->Properties->Performance.) If Windows is telling you that you have 128MB and you know that is what is installed then you have no problems.
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Author Comment

by:heat_doctor
ID: 6160103
Many thanks Darker:  you are the only one who seems to UNDERSTAND what I was trying to determine.  And yes, the Gateway tech. person was misleading me (nothing unusual there!!!).  
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