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Windows 7 does not recognize all my RAM

My basic desktop specs are as follows:

cpu: Intel i7 950 3.07ghz
ram: 12gb DDR3 1066mhz SDRAM
video card: ATI Radeon 4850 512mb

When I got this machine it came on Vista 64 bit.  Vista showed 12gb of ram when I right-clicked Computer and went to properties, showing under computer performance.  After I installed Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit, it only shows 8gb of Ram.  How do I fix this?
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Gewgala
Asked:
Gewgala
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2 Solutions
 
Syed Mutahir AliTechnology ConsultantCommented:
maybe onboard graphics enabled?

Disable it in the bios to save ram when using a slot card

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/1427-63-windows-doesnt-recognize

Run msconfig.exe and select the Boot tab. Click the Advanced options button. Look to see if 'Maximum memory:' is checked and is limiting the maximum amount of memory to use.
http://www.sevenforums.com/general-discussion/47982-win7-ultimate-x64-wont-recognize-all-ram.html
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GewgalaAuthor Commented:
I went into the bios looking for OnBoard graphics settings, and the only configurable option displayed for video was the below:

Primary Video Adapter:   [PCI-E x16]

Other options for it to be set to are:  [PCI-E x4]
                                                           [PCI-E x1]

It is currently set to (and has been) PCI-E x16.  I'm assuming that's my Radeon card.

The only other option that I could not identify is:

Onboard 1394: [Enabled]

I don't know what that is so I wasn't about to mess with it to see what happened.

In the bios it showed the following RAM settings:

Memory Bank 1: 2048 mb/DDR3 SDRAM
Memory Bank 2: 2048 mb/DDR3 SDRAM
Memory Bank 3: Not Installed
Memory Bank 4: Not Installed
Memory Bank 5: 2048 mb/DDR3 SDRAM
Memory Bank 6:  2048 mb/DDR3 SDRAM

I know that I ordered 6, 2gb ram cards for this computer and I swear Vista 64 showed all 12 installed when Windows was running.  So, I unplugged everything and opened up the box and sure enough, there are 6 ram cards plugged into each corresponding ram slot.  

So the problem is clear, for some reason the 2 cards plugged into slots 3 and 4 are not registering somehow, and that's down in the BIOS level.  I have NEVER opened up my box prior to just now to write this reply.  When I received the computer in the mail, I plugged the keyboard in, monitor, speakers, etc and ran it just fine with Vista 64 which it came with.  A few weeks ago I upgraded to 7 Ultimate and now it only recognizes 8gb of ram instead of 12gb.  As I said before, for the first time in the life of this box at my home I opened up the case and looked in and saw that all 6 ram cards are accounted for.

Anybody have any ideas?  Should I try unplugging 3 and 4 and plugging them back in?
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GewgalaAuthor Commented:
Also, I ran msconfig.exe as suggested and the "Maximum Memory" is not configured, so that's not the problem.  Thanks for that, though.
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arixsinCommented:
You have 1 of 3 issues:

2 bad memory modules. Troubleshoot by moving the modules around and check the BIOS again to see if the same 2 don't register.

Bad motherboard. The motherboard may have a defect that is not allowing those 2 memory slots to be read.

BIOS update.  You should check to see if a BIOS update is available.
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GewgalaAuthor Commented:
How do I check for a bios update?
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nobusCommented:
you can also run a ram test -  it may or not show all the ram  :    www.memtest86+
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nobusCommented:
sorry, should be www.memtest.org
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h2g2guyCommented:
Typically, the best way to search for a BIOS update is to check your manufacturer's website.  If you don't find one there, try the company that makes your motherboard.
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gatekeeper6838Commented:
"Anybody have any ideas?  Should I try unplugging 3 and 4 and plugging them back in?"

Yes. This is an excellent idea. Re-seating hardware is never a bad idea in this kind of situation, especially if the computer recognized all the RAM at first. While it is possible that the RAM chips went bad (or the motherboard itself), it's also possible that heat or some other condition had made the RAM sticks loose. It's also possible that the factory didn't put the RAM in securely. Try taking them all the way out and putting them back in and see what happens.

If that doesn't work, take out the sticks in slots 3 and 4 completely, and try putting sticks 5 and 6 in slots 3 and 4. If those sticks aren't recognized, then slots 3 and 4 are probably defective. In that case, hopefully your machine is still under warranty.
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nobusCommented:
you can test the ram also on a pc that accepts the ram
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GewgalaAuthor Commented:
Arixsin suggested that I try updating the Bios.  I did that.  I went to the manufacturer's site from where I ordered the computer and was able to type in my model number and download a bios update for Windows 7 64 bit.  Unfortunately though, after running the update it did not solve the problem, so that is eliminated.  I just got of a brutally frustrating phone call that lasted a long time with the company's support department.

I am unable to carefully remove the RAM cards from the slots because it is surrounded by other parts of the case/motherboard/video card.  If I could remove the video card, I could probably do it but the video card has a plastic zip tie fastening it to the motherboard.  That immediately raises the "do not proceed" feeling because the only reason why that would be there is to inform the company if they ever had to fix something that the card had previously been removed.  When I asked the tech support agent if I could remove the card to get to the ram better, he said yes do it.  I then explained the whole bit about the plastic zip tie and wanted to be guaranteed that if I cut it and remove the card my warranty would not be void.  He then told me that I am not allowed to cut the zip tie and to not remove the video card, but to proceed with pulling out the ram cards one by one.  I communicated that he clearly understands that I cannot carefully remove the ram because I don't have sufficient space, and that since he was telling me to do so as a support agent from the company that I fully expect the company to reimburse and repair anything and everything that I might damage trying to follow his instructions.  He then told me to not remove the RAM and that he would investigate my issue further and call me back.

That's what I'm waiting on at the moment.

When I installed Windows 7, I installed it as an upgrade from my previous version of Windows Vista Home Premium.  Should I try to reformat my drive and install Windows 7 as a clean install and not an upgrade?  I purchased the full version of the OS, not an upgrade so that is doable.  I don't really see how that would change anything though.  Would that be worth a try?
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gatekeeper6838Commented:
While I would always recommend a clean Windows install over an in-place upgrade, I don't think it will help with the issue you are experiencing. If the BIOS refuses to even see the RAM properly, then it is extremely unlikely that a new OS install will either. This definitely sounds like a hardware problem, though hopefully not a defective hardware problem.

Just out of curiosity, who is the manufacturer of this PC? I know HP usually has a hardware maintenance and upgrade guide for their computers. This usually provides simple diagrams and tricks for swapping out the most basic components such as RAM. Sometimes you can get around the problem you described because they have a hidden access panel behind the face plate or something like that. Might be worth looking into.
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GewgalaAuthor Commented:
It's HP.  Yeah, I'll look at the user guide and report back.  Still haven't received my callback, and I don't think I will.  I think he just wanted to bail ;)
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nobusCommented:
well - you can still test the ram - it won't hurt any warranty issues..
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GewgalaAuthor Commented:
Hi nobus,

Call it paranoia but I am hesitant whenever I download software online.  I've managed to keep my PCs in my history clean of viruses and spyware because of it, though.  HP has a built in RAM diagnostic checker, when you turn on the computer you press F9 at the same time you would press the necessary key and go into the bios.  It reported 8GB of ram and after running the test it informed me that everything is working perfectly.  This was when the tech support agent tried to tell me that I only have 8GB of ram and not 12 and that everything is working properly and that there is no problem (this was also when my voice got a little louder on the phone -- I'm not perfect, I just got very irritated that he ignored my previous 5 times telling him what the problem was with him simply ignoring me and reading the next script that came up on his screen).

So, can you personally vouch for that program to run the memory test?  And secondly, do you think it would report anything different than HP's memory test?
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nobusCommented:
yes i can
you can also download safely  the ubcd -  it has ram and disk diags and much more : http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/      

guaranteed !!!! you can look at posts here on EE
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arixsinCommented:
There is no point in running that program (no disrepect nobus) but this is a HARDWARE failure. HP needs to replace the RAM and/or motherboard.
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nobusCommented:
and that will be proved by the diag..
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gatekeeper6838Commented:
The problem with using those RAM testing applications in this scenario is that it will likely only test the RAM that the PC is already able to see. It won't be able to address the RAM that the BIOS won't even look at. It will probably only see and test the 8 GB that is already visible to the operating system / BIOS. I don't think it will prove that the modules are bad unless the testing application can actually see that there are modules inserted.
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GewgalaAuthor Commented:
Arixsin - 400 points for suggesting I update the BIOS, which I did.  This was necessary as my motherboard put out a bios update for Windows 7 64 bit which I did not previously have installed.  He was also the first to suggest removing the ram from the slots the BIOS couldn't read and swapping them with two that the BIOS read fine.  This is what I did.  I swapped slots 3 & 4 (the troublesome slots) with 5 & 6.  After turning the computer back on again the BIOS recognized all 6 ram cards of 2gb each.

gatekeeper6838 -- 100 points for suggesting I look up the user guide for upgrades and servicing for my particular PC to get around the problem of too many things in the way to successfully remove the ram.  I would not have been able to figure out how to do that without the guide - this box is pretty complex.

To everyone -- Thank you so much for helping me and giving ideas to try.  I am very grateful for your help.  Good luck!!
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PCBONEZCommented:
Nobody even asked what the motherboard is.
Not all DDR3 motherboards support 3-channel memory.
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GewgalaAuthor Commented:
Well seeing how I ordered the PC from HP that would not have been an issue.
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