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Getting XP to see 4 Gigs of ram on a Dell Dimension 5150

Posted on 2011-09-19
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
On a Dell Dimension 5150 with XP pro and 1 gig of ram, If I replace the Dell ram chips with 4  1-Gig chips from Dell, do I need to update the boot.ini with the PAE switch or will XP Pro recognize the 4 gigs of ram right away and use it?

I already verified the motherboard ram capacity is 4 gigs.
 
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Question by:Tony Giangreco
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9 Comments
 
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by:bright12
bright12 earned 84 total points
ID: 36560385
If you are running the 32-bit version of XP it will only detect 3 GB of RAM. This is can not be expand without installing XP 64 bit.
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by:eXpeLLeD_4RM_heLL
eXpeLLeD_4RM_heLL earned 84 total points
ID: 36560426
There is a way, but it requires you to edit the boot.ini file

•Right-click My Computer. Click Properties.
•In the System Properties dialog box, click the Advanced tab.
•On the Advanced tab, under Startup and Recovery, click Settings.
•In the Startup and Recovery dialog box, under System startup, click Edit. The Windows boot.ini file will be opened in Microsoft® Notepad.
•Create a backup copy of the boot.ini file. Note: Boot.ini files may vary from computer to computer.
Select the following line in the boot.ini file:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect

•Press Ctrl+C to copy the line and then press Ctrl+V to paste it immediately below the original line.
Note: Your text string may be different from the text string in this solution, so be sure to copy the text string from your boot.ini file, and not the text string included here.
Modify the copied line to include “ /3GB”, as shown in the following example:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional 3GB" /3GB /fastdetect

Note: Do not overwrite any existing lines.

•Save and close the boot.ini file.
•Click OK to close each dialog box.
•Restart your computer.
•During startup, select the 3GB option. Note: If problems occur during startup, you may need to update some of your drivers.

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by:eXpeLLeD_4RM_heLL
ID: 36560434
bright 12s option is still a better option and I find 64bit OS has a better memory management
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LVL 1

Assisted Solution

by:GrX_
GrX_ earned 83 total points
ID: 36560443
Hi,

If your XP pro is a 64bits system then the OS will be recognize the 4Gb, else you will need update the boot.ini with the PAE.

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa366796(v=VS.85).aspx

Cheers.
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by:Wayne Barron
Wayne Barron earned 83 total points
ID: 36560452
@eXpeLLeD
Can you provide some information on this, like a link of something that states that this works and that it will not cause any issues with the system if done this way, also that it will not void any warranties of any kind?

Carrzkiss
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by:Tony Giangreco
ID: 36560458
It's 32 bit XP Pro
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Assisted Solution

by:flubbster
flubbster earned 83 total points
ID: 36560459
A good overview of Windows Server Memory capabilities and memory switches.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/291988
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Accepted Solution

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-tjs earned 83 total points
ID: 36560543
Long story short, you don't have to do anything.  32-bit XP can use roughly the 4gb with no extra config.  just put the chips in and you are good to go,  windows will show you less than 4gb if you ever check (probably in the 3gb-3.4gb range) but this is expected due due to system overhead (builtin hardware stealing ram for themselves, etc).
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Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 36560545
>>It's 32 bit XP Pro

Then at best Windows will make 3 - 3.4GB available to you whether you use the PAE switch or not.  If you really want to see 4GB available you'll need to switch to a 64-bit OS which will mean a complete re-install.
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