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Thread: Why exactly does 32-bit windows not recognize full 4GB of memory?

  1. #1
    riceorony Guest

    Default Why exactly does 32-bit windows not recognize full 4GB of memory?

    Hello all!
    I'm trying to understand why upgrading to the full 4 GB of memory on my laptop (or any computer for that matter) can only recognize 3 GB of memory (maybe 3.5 max if you're motherboard supports it)?
    I was reading on sites is that it has to do with the capabilities of your software.
    Basically, the 32-bit windows only has the capacity to recognize the 3-3.5 GB, while the 64-bit version of windows can recognize the full 4GB.
    I have a new server that recognizes 50GB of memory (uber fast!).
    So in the end, just save your money and buy the 3-GB upgrade rather than the 4GB upgrade?

  2. #2
    zaswing Guest

    Default Re: Why exactly does 32-bit windows not recognize full 4GB of memory?

    You asked for it

    Only 4,294,967,297 can fit in 32 bit positions (0 to 31) or four 8-bit bytes, like this:
    11111111 11111111 11111111 11111111

    "Full" 4 gig is exactly 4,294,967,296 or 2 to the 32nd power requiring 33rd bit on the left, like this:
    1 00000000 00000000 00000000 00000000

    Does this answer your query?
    Are you feeling cheated?

    Seriously now,
    A lot of software can only handle 32 bits of data, so in some cases it is a limiting factor. As far as "not recognizing", I'm not sure what it means. Windows has its own uses such as enormous pagefile and its own installation plus hibernation file if one uses it. So certainly 4 gig is not the user space. I'd think that if you bought 3gig, you will also never see 3, but perhaps 2.5 (if that 3.5 is true).

    Message Edited by zasuiteuser on 06-14-2008 12:19 AM

    Message Edited by zasuiteuser on 06-14-2008 12:21 AM

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    8,984

    Default Re: Why exactly does 32-bit windows not recognize full 4GB of memory?

    Gee that is very impressive stuff zasuiteuser.
    Too complicated for me to figure out or understand.
    I just call it something to do with PAE ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_Address_Extension ) and leave it to the experts to explain this physical memory stuff.

    My question would be why anyone actually needs 4 G Ram on windows xp 32 bit.

    64 bit xp I can see it maybe needed, as that gets into the more engineering/designers useage.
    That can be very intensive software and create heavy demands on the computer.

    Or for a home owners windows vista. But a xp version with 4G seems kind of extravangent.
    Still trying to figure out what to do with the usual 1.5 G left over free and unused of the total 2 G ram I got on the computers when idling.

    Oldsod.

    Message Edited by Oldsod on 06-15-2008 10:29 PM
    Best regards.
    oldsod

  4. #4
    zaswing Guest

    Default Re: Why exactly does 32-bit windows not recognize full 4GB of memory?

    Oldsod, could you please, correct one number "Only 4,294,967,297" which makes no sense and should read "Only 4,294,967,295" 1 short from a full 4 gig

    I have XP running on 1 gig Ram, a bit over .5 gig unused.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    8,984

    Default Re: Why exactly does 32-bit windows not recognize full 4GB of memory?

    Done!
    zasuituser best regards.
    Oldsod.
    Best regards.
    oldsod

  6. #6
    riceorony Guest

    Default Re: Why exactly does 32-bit windows not recognize full 4GB of memory?

    Thanks guys, the reason I need more is because my system idles at 1 GB (i have ~92-94 processes running at start up because of Lenovo's bloatware)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    8,984

    Default Re: Why exactly does 32-bit windows not recognize full 4GB of memory?





    If a picure is worth a thousand words.
    I guess this is two thousand worth.
    Have made some changes (trashed the asquared and installed avira premium) since the time these images were first taken, but it is still basically the same.

    Oldsod.

    Message Edited by Oldsod on 06-16-2008 02:37 PM
    Best regards.
    oldsod

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