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Windows 2003 does not show right size of physical memory

Posted on 2007-11-22
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Last Modified: 2013-11-10
I have installed 4 GB ram modules in a Windows 2003 server but it only shows 3.5 GB on the General tab and in task manager. Why?
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Question by:mortenhem
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9 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 20334493
That's normal. 2k3 server only supports a max of 4GB, and of that about 500MB is used for overhead. To support more memory you need 2k3 advanced or enterprise server (Don't remember the exact name) or above.
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Expert Comment

by:Michael Pfister
ID: 20334494
If you're running the Windows OS on a standard desktop platform, this is normal. 512 MB are invisible to a 32 bit
OS.
You either need a 64 bit OS or a server hardware.
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Author Comment

by:mortenhem
ID: 20334515
OK but should the taskmanger show 4 GB in physical memory?
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Expert Comment

by:Michael Pfister
ID: 20334528
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Accepted Solution

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-DJL- earned 500 total points
ID: 20334531
No - it will only show whats available to the operating system.

32bit operating systems can only address a maximum of 4GB.  That includes not only system memory, but memory on your graphics card, and other peripherals in the computer.  As already said, if you want to use all 4GB of system RAM you need a 64bit OS and processor.
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LVL 18

Expert Comment

by:Andrej Pirman
ID: 20334536
It should show 4 GB.
Try this:
- right-click MyComputer and select Properties
- go to Advanced tab, click on Startup And Recovery button
- there you click on Edit, which will open boot.ini file in Notepad
- edit your default OS selection line and add /PAE switch at the end, for example:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(1)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise" /fastdetect /PAE
- save and restart
Is there any change noticeable?
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Author Comment

by:mortenhem
ID: 20334565
I found this article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/283037 I have a Windows 2003 standard server so I think I got the answer from -DJL and the other persons. -DJL- you say 32bit operating systems can only address a maximum of 4GB. Is it not possible to install Windows 2003 Enterprise 32 bit on a 32 bit hardware and then use uhe /PAE parameter.
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:-DJL-
ID: 20334587
You can enable PAE.

However, it may not be worth it.  You will see a performance loss with PAE enabled - the system has to maintain lookup tables for memory locations.  You may also experiece problems with device drivers not being compatible with PAE.
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 20334781
I agree, PAE is normally not recommended. In rare occasions it is usefull when you have an SQL server, otherwise normally not.
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