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Bios shows 1gb of ram-windows shows 256mb -how come ram is reporting incorrectly?

Posted on 2008-06-16
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Last Modified: 2013-11-10
Bios shows 1gb of ram-windows shows 256mb -how come ram is reporting incorrectly?
have verified that i have two sticks of 512mb of DDR pc3200 ram installed, bios shows correctly, but when windows is up it only shows 256mb. I have a dell dimesion 3000, what could be wrong, i ran chkdsk on the ntfs file sys. but don't know where to go from here.
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Question by:gstevederby
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13 Comments
 
LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:cybrexus
ID: 21792857
Open Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Del) and under the Performance tab, see what it lists under Commit Charge (K)>Limit.

You can also check in Start>Help and Support>Whats new in Windows XP>Tools (bottom left)>My Computer Information. (General Information)

Another way is Start>Run>type: msinfo32 and Enter.
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:speshalyst
ID: 21792876
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LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:PeteJThomas
ID: 21792887
I'd guess that the memory is in use by something - The BIOS is stating actual amount of installed memory, whereas Windows is probably only showing the amount of memory available to it.

I can't say I've seen that before myself, but perhaps a large chunk of memory has been assigned for graphics or something? Do you know how to get into the BIOS on your computer?

And would you know if you have a built-in graphics card, or a 3rd party external graphics card?

If you're not sure of the answers then just say so... :)

Pete
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Expert Comment

by:Jonvee
ID: 21792924
Various suggestions in this earlier, similar thread should help>

"New RAM upgrade not recognized by OS, Shows up in BIOS":
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Hardware/Components/Memory/Q_23124708.html
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:cybrexus
ID: 21792940
do you have a built-in graphic card?
your ram is probably shared for the video
http://searchwincomputing.techtarget.com/tip/0,289483,sid68_gci1245345,00.html#
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Jonvee
ID: 21792994
Had you recently installed the two sticks of 512mb RAM?  
If yes, and from my earlier link it does appear that you  ~may~  have the wrong density RAMs.

If not, its still worthwhile perusing all the comments in that thread.
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LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:PeteJThomas
ID: 21793065
That thread that Jonvee posted is useful - I've read it out of interest, and the 2 things that stood out to me were -

Wrong Density Modules (as Jonvee said though, this wouldn't be likely unless they've been recently installed).

An 'Install Mode' setting in the BIOS (reduces the amount of recognised memory to around 256Mb) - This is intended for OSs that have problems with large amounts of memory - If this option is in your BIOS and enabled, then that will probably be the cause.

And I still think it's possible that it's sharing the memory with your graphics chipset, so worth checking that while your nosing round the BIOS too! :)

Pete
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LVL 34

Accepted Solution

by:
jamietoner earned 500 total points
ID: 21798685
Seen this one many times. Go into the bios and disable os install mode. Os install mode limits the amount of ram the OS will see to 256Mb.
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LVL 34

Expert Comment

by:jamietoner
ID: 21798692
Oops, sorry PeteJThomas didn't mean to repeat.
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Author Closing Comment

by:gstevederby
ID: 31467556
that was right on the money, good going
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Author Comment

by:gstevederby
ID: 21801110
jamietoner: had it right......for the rest of you this was the answer...thank you all..

Seen this one many times. Go into the bios and disable os install mode. Os install mode limits the amount of ram the OS will see to 256Mb.
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LVL 34

Expert Comment

by:jamietoner
ID: 21801629
Actually, PeteJThomas's comment right above mine was the first to mention Os install mode I had missed it before I made my post.
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LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:PeteJThomas
ID: 21801639
Nvm, whatever solves the problem is fine by me, whoever suggested it first... :) I'm sure I'll probably get your points in a mistake at some point Jamie! So just remember what a good sport I am when it happens... HeHe!

Pete
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