troubleshooting Question

Why can a 32bit operating system only see 4GB RAM but can see 2TB hard drives?

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SoLostFlag for New Zealand asked on
Operating SystemsStorageStorage Hardware
17 Comments2 Solutions278 ViewsLast Modified:
Hi there,
This is for my own knowledge more than anything else but lots of failed Google searches haven't found me the answer and it's niggling at me.

I understand the reason why a 32bit operating system can only see up to 4GB of RAM as 4GB is the maximum addressing range for a 32 bit number ( 2^32 = 4GB ).

But with that in mind, how come a 32bit operating system is able to see a much larger hard drive? Up to 2TB if I recall.

How have they overcome this particular limitation for hard drives but not for RAM?
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