What is the accurate amount of RAM a 32-bit Windows 7 can address?

susendeep dutta December 14, 2010
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It’s recommended that 2 GB RAM is used for Windows 7 32-bit and 1 GB is minimum requirement.

Will Windows 7 32-bit Ultimate run at full speed with 2 GB of RAM?
If no, then how much RAM will it need to run at full speed?

Some sites say that 32-bit versions of Windows will address less than 3 GB, some say 3.5 GB, and Wikipedia says 4 GB. I’m totally confused with this.
Will 32-bit Windows OS with 3 GB address the full memory?

How much on-board graphics memory today’s motherboard comes up with? Can I disable the on-board graphics and use graphics card to gain the memory used by on-board graphics? If yes, then how much RAM will Windows 7 read if I install 4 GB RAM?

Why does Microsoft limit its client version of 32-bit OS to address no more than 4 GB RAM and it gives its server version 192 GB RAM?

  1. Anonymous
    December 15, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    This 4GB limit is still in place for Windows 7 32-bit. If you want to see more than 4GB of RAM you will have to use a 64-bit version of Windows.Typically a 32-Bit system will have somewhere between 2.2 and 3.5GB available.

    Memory Limits for Windows Releases

    HOW to enable PAE for Windows7 x86

    This option to use PAE to see more than 4GB of RAM is still available on 32-bit Server versions of Windows which I assume is down to a better quality of drivers expected for the kind of hardware you'd run Windows Server on

    a group of programmers have released a kernel patch for Windows 7 to allow the usage of more than 4gb of RAM under Windows 7
    The patch basically modifies the Windows 7 Kernel to be more like the Windows Server 2003 Datacenter Edition, which is compatible with up to 8gb of RAM under 32-bit mode.

    The patch allows you to extend the PAE well into 8gb of RAM under Windows 7 32-bit. For more information about why Microsoft implemented this technical limitation, see this article.

    As mentioned above, note that individual processes will still be limited to 4gb even if the system can access more... Although if you had 8gb of RAM, then at least you'd still have another 4gb for other

    you should definitely see more than 3GB available to the BIOS (Windows, maybe not, but the BIOS should see more). For some reason, your motherboard isn’t detecting all your memory. Verify that the motherboard supports more than 3GB, and try reseating each memory chip.

    It has to do with the Kernel. Each bit of memmory needs to have an address. A 32bit Kernal allows for addresses to have 32 bits where as a 64 can be a 64bit address. The 64 bit addresses are longer allowing for more possible addresses thus allowing you to see all your memory

    6 gig of ram requires literaly 51,539,607,552 adresses for every bit. Thats 8 bits per byte, 1024 bytes per KB etc. It’s not taking into account any other hardware that reserves memory space

    In short 32 bit kernel will allow you to address roughly 4 gig of ram less other reserved.

    32 bit = 34,359,738,368 addresses.
    64 bit = 1,099,511,627,776 addresses

    Currently, the AMD64 architecture only has 52-bits to address physical memory, but that’s still 4PB (Petabytes), which is 4,096 GB…

    Byte -> Kilobyte -> Megabyte -> Gigabyte -> Petabyte -> Exabyte -> Zettabyte -> Yottabyte

    32-bit-Linux can utilize up to 64 GB RAM through PAE ( physical adress extention ) just fine.Windows with /pae also could support more than 4 gig the same way linux dose. However it dose not work with all MS operating systems.

    PAE can be enabled in vista using the BCDEdit /set utility.

    Supposedly, you can enable PAE in Vista by running "BCDEdit", the boot configuration editor that is included in Vista. You should run this in "administrative mode".

    Typing "cmd" in the "start" "search" space, and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter. This runs "cmd" in Administrator Mode.

    Then type - "run" Type - BCDEdit /set PAE forceenable
    "BCDEdit /deletevalue PAE" should remove the command, again, at the Admin level
    It will speed up your system in the way that extra RAM would. PAE is best used when you have a 64-bit processor AND Operating System (Such as Windows XP Professional 64 or Vista 64) along with 4GB or more of RAM. If you meet all of these items, you can go into the BIOS on your motherboard and enable it there. Windows will see the additional memory and be able to use it.

    Of course, if your system didn't meet the requirements shown in that KnowledgeBase article, it won't work.

    If a computer has 4 gigabytes (GB) of memory (RAM), memory system is shown in the System Information dialog box of Windows Vista is less than it should be.

    For example, the System Information dialog box may indicate 3 120 megabytes (MB) of system memory on a computer that has 4 GB of memory (4096 MB).

    This behavior is the expected result of certain factors, hardware and software.

    If a computer has many installed devices, available memory may be reduced to 3 GB or less. However, the maximum memory available in 32-bit versions of Windows Vista is typically 3.12 GB

    • Susendeep dutta
      December 17, 2010 at 8:05 am

      Thank you very much for the rare information.