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Server will not boot after adding /PAE to boot.ini in order to use 16gb ram

Posted on 2008-06-25
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Last Modified: 2013-11-10
I upgraded a server from Windows 2000 Server Standard edition to Windows 2003 Enterprise edition by running the upgrade procedure from CD - (in other words, not a fresh install of 2003). I have 16gb ram which BIOS sees. Windows will only see 4gb of ram. After adding /PAE switch the server will not boot. I can boot in safe mode and remove /PAE and come back up normal. Of course the purpose of all this is for windows to see 16gb ram. Should /PAE work after doing an upgrade or does it have to be a new installation?
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Question by:csouth29073
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by:kosmoraios
ID: 21867109
Server Standard Edition doesn't support /PAE. According to Microsoft:

"PAE is the added ability of the IA32 processor to address more than 4 GB of physical memory. The following operating systems can use PAE to take advantage of physical memory beyond 4 GB:
"      Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
"      Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
"      Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition
"      Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition
"

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.  :(
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by:kosmoraios
ID: 21867122
Sorry if I wasn't clear on the above comment. I do believe it has to be a new installation of Server 2K3 Enterprise.
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by:graye
ID: 21870014
I wouldn't think that the /PAE mode would require a reinstall (vs an upgrade).   OK, I'll admit, I can't find any evidence to support that theory, but it just *seems* right to me

Tell us more about the hardware.   Recall, the PAE mode required a compatible CPU and BIOS
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by:csouth29073
ID: 21876761
Server is brand new and has dual quad core Intel XEON processors. Microsoft's hardware specs call for Pentium-1 or better. I also could not find any documentation stating that the upgrade could not utilize PAE. I am going to install Win2003 service pack 2 and then try PAE again.
Also  - I have the server cloned so I think I am going to wipe it out and do a new fresh install of win2003 - if PAE works then its an upgrade issue, if not then must be hardware.  
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csouth29073 earned 0 total points
ID: 21887597
Problem Solved - I installed Windows 2003 service pack 2 and after it rebooted Windows has 16gb ram. I didn't even have to add the switch.
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