Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard - Usable RAM is 50% of installed RAM

Hi Experts,

We have a box running Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard.
We recently replaced the RAM with 4 sticks, each of 2 GB (the same 4 sticks worked OK in another PC).

Now Windows Computer Properties reports:

Installed memory (RAM): 8.00 GB (3.99 GB usable)

Is there something we need to do to make all the RAM usable?

Who is Participating?
Andrej PirmanConnect With a Mentor Commented:
First question is: is it 32- or 64-bit system? If it is 32-bit, then it is normal and you won't get more than 4 GB out of it.

Second question is, did you populate DIMM slots with RAM modules properly? There are 2 or 3 memory controller channels and each has many banks. You must populate them with RAM modules in order:
first RAM into 1st channel, 1st bank,
second RAM into 2nd channel, 1st bank
third RAM inot 1st channel, 2nd bank
fourth RAM into 2nd channel, 2nd bank
(this is for 2-channels controller)

Third question is, did you check the BIOS - DIMM slots might also be disabled.
Also, some servers support RAM Mirroring setup, which gives you only half of RAM usable.
This is all setup in BIOS.

Fourth question, are all RAM modules of the same type and speed? There might be difference in SIZE, but must NOT be difference in speed.
JAN PAKULAICT Infranstructure ManagerCommented:
are you sure that this server is r2 not sp2?

It looks like you have 32 bits system - it is maximum it will support - to support more then 4GB you will need 64 bits R2 system

LeighWardleAuthor Commented:
Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard only comes in 64-bit.
Simplify Active Directory Administration

Administration of Active Directory does not have to be hard.  Too often what should be a simple task is made more difficult than it needs to be.The solution?  Hyena from SystemTools Software.  With ease-of-use as well as powerful importing and bulk updating capabilities.

Purple_TidderConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Try moving the sticks of ram, install them in reverse order of what they are now.  Fixed a similar issue I had with a high-end windows 7 machine that had ECC.
Also, is this a Dell?  I know I've seen some BIOS options on a few Dell servers that will allocate ram as "Spare" instead of normal or "optimized".  Have you checked your BIOS for any weird ram options?
LeighWardleAuthor Commented:
Hi Guys,

I decided to buy 16 GB (4 x 4GB) to replace the 50% functioning 8 GB.

We couldn't afford to have any server downtime if we attempted to move the 4 x 2 GB sticks.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.