Server 2008 - One shows 3GB and another shows 4GB Memory

Posted on 2010-11-30
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hello Everyone,

I have two servers, theoretically identical (Not cloned, but built via a standard spec).  They are both Win2K8 32bit.  Both are on VM ESXi 4.1 with exact configurations on the guest machines.  Both have VM tools and again, should be the same configuration.

One server shows 3GB of ram and the other shows 4GB of ram.  I am checking some other things but this is the first time I've seen this happen with the same builds.

Service packs are up to date.  No special memory switches on startup either.

Anything would help.

Question by:Attenuation
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Rainer Meller
ID: 34239240
Did you assign the same memory to them?
LVL 28

Expert Comment

ID: 34239261
Do both have the /PAE switch in the boot.ini?
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LVL 23

Expert Comment

by:Luciano Patrão
ID: 34239345

With 32bits on Windows Standard the limit is 4Gb

Check this treaht that can help you understand the memory limits and sizes.

There are many hardware or features that can reduce the memory alocated.


Author Comment

ID: 34239417
I appreciate the quick responses, but as above, there are no memory switches that I put in (nor anyone else) and the memory allocation is the same on both.
LVL 40

Expert Comment

ID: 34239439
It is odd that you even see 4GB on 1 of your VMs. I personally can't comment on why you do see 4GB on 1 VM. If you have allocated 4GB for each VM, for your VM to be able to 'see' all the RAM, since it's a 32-bit OS, you have to set the PAE switch.

LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Rainer Meller
ID: 34239559
as said, please check which amount of RAM you did assign to each virtual machine.

Author Comment

ID: 34239626
This might be it - DEP getting turned on enables PAE.  Another person had made DEP forced off on the 3GB machine and is enabled on the 4GB machine.

I'm just surprised that shutting off DEP killed the apparent PAE.

Let me change these and I'll see if we're on to something.

LVL 40

Accepted Solution

coolsport00 earned 500 total points
ID: 34239736
That is correct; see Enabling PAE section in the MS KB I posted:


Author Comment

ID: 34287939
So I guess I shouldn't have overlooked someone else fiddling.  The PAE was off.  DEP was on, which told me that PAE would be on too.  Also, if DEP is turned off, PAE is told to remain unaffected.  I forced PAE on with DEP off, and we're good now.

Sorry I didn't see this sooner.  We restarted the machine this last weekend.

Thanks for the time!

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