XP not recognizing all of installed memory

I have a Dell OptiPlex 380 with Windows XP SP3 installed.  I have a 2GB RAM module installed that is recognized as such in BIOS.  However, once Windows is booted only 512MB is usable.  I have tried replacing the module, placing 2x2GB modules in the available slots, and replacing the mobo but nothing has worked.  Windows does recognize that a 2GB stick is installed, but only 512MB is usable.  Anyone have any ideas about what may be causing this?
Dustin23IT DirectorAsked:
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dbruntonConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Note garycase's comment about OS Install mode.

See http://www.techsupportforum.com/forums/f10/os-alert-os-install-mode-enabled-how-can-i-change-this-mode-415445.html

A variety of solutions offered there.
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AriMcCommented:
- Where do you get this information that only 512 MB is usable?

- If you right-click on "My Computer" and check the amount of RAM, is that 512 MB?

- Could you post the contents of your (probably hidden) c:\boot.ini file?

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dbruntonCommented:
>>  I have tried replacing the module, placing 2x2GB modules in the available slots, and replacing the mobo but nothing has worked.

What does BIOS say?


>>  However, once Windows is booted only 512MB is usable.

Where do you get this information from?  When you click on the System applet in Control Panel how much memory shows there?

Or Start --> Run and type msinfo32 and see how much Total Physical memory is there.

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JohnDeckerCommented:
Try taking one 2Gb stick out and see what it reads. Perhaps it is a mismatch between the sticks
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Look in the BIOS and see if the OS Install mode is set.     If so, this limits the amount of memory that is enumerated to the OS.    If that's the case, just disable this and you should see all of your memory.

If that's not the case, post the details asked for in the previous comments.
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Dustin23IT DirectorAuthor Commented:
General tab under System Properties tells me I have 512MB of RAM.  System Information (msinfo32) says total physical memory is 2GB.  I can also see this information using Belarc Advisor; it acknowledges a 2GB stick in mem. slot 1, but only 512MB usable.  BIOS simply tells me the total physical memory installed, 2GB.  Here is the requested information from the boot.ini file:

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
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AriMcCommented:
Is your XP by any chance "starter edition"? That one will allow only 512 MB.

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PowerEdgeTechIT ConsultantCommented:
It's worth checking the OS Install Mode, but that usuallly restricts it to 256MB on a Dell.

Do you have any special hardware installed - video cards, etc.?
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Dustin23IT DirectorAuthor Commented:
@ PowerEdgeTech

Nothing special installed.  Just the standard 380s we've been purchasing for a while.  I will check the BIOS...
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Dustin23IT DirectorAuthor Commented:
arby636's solution on the techsupportforum thread worked like a charm.  In msconfig, the MAXRAM field was indeed set to 512MB.  I have no idea how this happened, but it's fixed now.  Thanks for all the help!
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