Why is Ubuntu showing and using less memory (RAM) than originally installed?

Suhel October 4, 2011

I’ve got 6GB RAM on my laptop. I just happened to open system monitor on Ubuntu and it shows I got only 2.94 GB RAM, while on Windows it shows I got 6GB RAM. This is really strange. Why is Ubuntu not detecting the original RAM that I have?

  1. Asdaft
    January 25, 2012 at 9:57 am

    I added 8G new memory to my existing 12G, but unfortunately ubuntu detects only 8G :( what can i do now? I use 4 core intel xeon processor)

  2. Mike
    October 5, 2011 at 10:08 am

    My first guess would be that you installed a 32bit version of Ubuntu which simply cannot address more then 4GB of memory.

    Assuming your laptop has a decent graphics card with 1GB of dedicated memory this would explain why you are down to 2.94GB (the remaning MB missing are reserved for other hardware addresses).

    • Suhel
      October 5, 2011 at 10:11 am

      I guess your asumption is correct, its been like more than 12horus since I posted this question and between it got published and you replied I had spent 4 hours Googling all the possible ways of upgrading from 32 to 64bit, pros and cons of 64bits, etc etc lol

      • Mike
        October 5, 2011 at 12:51 pm

        Then you probably already know that there is no official or safe upgrade path from 32bit to 64bit. You can read a few opinions and suggestions on that matter on Askubuntu.

        Another topic that may be interesting to you is enabling Physical Address Extension. If your hardware supports it this will allow you to access all 6GB of memory.
        As always things can go wrong too but it seems to be safer then trying to upgrade to 64bit.

        • Suhel
          October 6, 2011 at 11:20 am

          Hi Mike,

          I need to tell you the reviews of what I did :

          1. Downloaded 64bit 11.10 beta release, burned it to a cd
          2. Installed it on my existing linux partition (without formatting)
          3. GOT IT WORKING
          4. GOT FRUSTRATED/TIRED/RAGED cause my laptop became so buggy
          5. Got an Idea, Updated the updates via update manager
          6. HAPPY, became less buggy still very buggy
          7. GOT FRUSTRATED/TIRED/RAGED cause my laptop was still so buggy
          8. installed the 64 bit programs, as none of the old worked
          9. DISAPPOINTED, thought tis a beta release so it ought to have bugs and ignored it
          10. all the above steps made me awake whole night, so just slept.
          11. Got up in the morning, switched on my laptop, used a bit and the interface kept getting hanged
          12. copied the /var/cache/apt/archives folder on my windows OS drive
          13. Booted a GPARTED LIVE CD and formatted the linux partition
          14. Installed 11.10 again, still buggy, applications crashed, clicked on report problem, report said "YOU'VE OBSOLETE APPLICATIONS"
          15. Got an Idea, Updated the updates via update manager
          16. Restarted my laptop, copied the backed up cache folder back to its place
          17. used software center to install softwares, softwares got installed without downloading

        • Mike
          October 6, 2011 at 12:26 pm

          Thanks for sharing your story ~ I guess that's a good reference for future questions regarding this topic.

        • Suhel
          October 7, 2011 at 4:10 am

          one thing I would like to add is if you are installing 11.10 on a laptop straightaway I'd say STOP FOR NOW wait for a better release there has been a major bug in this new version, it cuts your battery life. while with Natty I was able to use my laptop for more than 2hours now with Ocelot it hardly lasts 1 hour and all  I do in that less than one hour is just surfing

    • A2251711
      January 18, 2012 at 6:42 am

      Great Mike really dynamic answer.

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