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Can we use more than 4 Gb RAM on 32 bit OS/Hardware..?

Posted on 2011-02-20
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Can we use more than 4 GB RAM on 32 bit OS/Hardware..?
Please suggest if we can use 4GB+ RAM on 32 bit H/w [Desktop/Server] or on OS..?  
And if yes. ..What would be the recommended setting to get the maximum memory benefit on 32 bit environment?
Is there any specific setting required to use 4Gb + ram on 32 bit/64 bit H/W/OS.?
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Question by:patron
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Lee Osborne earned 84 total points
ID: 34937531
Depending on what version of Windows you are using, the memory limits vary for both 32bit and 64bit.

Here the MSDN article listing all memory limits for Microsoft OS's and their variations:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa366778(v=vs.85).aspx

Lee
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by:charlestasse
ID: 34937628
Won't jump on what Lee has already said, his link is the best place for making this determination
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by:MichaelVH
MichaelVH earned 166 total points
ID: 34937723
If your OS does not support more than 4GB, there is always the /3GB switch you can use on the boot loader; which will add another 1GB to the user mode so that applications can actually use it. In a windows environment 2GB is "reserved" for the OS and "only" 2GB is available for applications.

For more information, please check:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb124810(EXCHG.65).aspx
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by:KCTS
KCTS earned 83 total points
ID: 34937969
with Server ENTERPRISE EDITION ONLY - you can use the /PAE switch to address more than 4Gb RAM (the /3GB swich can be used IN ADDITION if you need it - but its the /PAE switch that allows the addtional RAM to be used.

Only ENTERPRISE editions od 32 bit windows server support the /PAE switch

64bit editions of Windows all support more than 4GB RAM natively
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by:garycase
garycase earned 83 total points
ID: 34938066
A 32-bit OS is restricted to a 4GB address space, but there are a few ways to use more RAM ...

=>  As noted above, if you're using an Enterprise or Datacenter version of Server 2003 or 2008 you can access > 4GB

=>  If you're using XP, Vista, Windows 7, or any of the server OS's you can use DataRAM's RAMDisk Plus product to access the additional memory as a RAMDisk:
http://memory.dataram.com/products-and-services/software/ramdisk

Note that the 4GB Tuning parameter (/3GB) does NOT allow access to any more RAM ... it simply changes the size of the virtual address space available to your applications (from 2GB to 3GB).      This has nothing to do with the physical memory installed in the system (other than requiring a min of 2GB installed) -- it simply changes the virtual address space allocation from 2GB app/2GB system to 3GB app/1GB system.
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by:MichaelVH
MichaelVH earned 166 total points
ID: 34938922
Garycase,

indeed it does NOT allow to use more than 4GB; it assigns more of the available memory to the user-space.
Sorry for my confusing english in my post earlier. ;-)

Grts,

Michael
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by:synetron
synetron earned 84 total points
ID: 34940479
another note to consider is that the 4GB max in a Windows OS also includes the video card RAM as well, thus when you have 4GB installed on a Windows Vista 32bit OS you will see only 3 or 3.5GB listed even though you've installed 4GB physically - this is due to (for example) 4GB - 512MB of video.
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by:patron
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