Windows Vista forum

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does vista's sp1 fix the 3 gig limit for the 32-bit versions

by ginkosu / May 15, 2008 11:40 AM PDT

pls i need to know, I'm buying a comp with home premium 32 and 4 gigs of ram, does sp1 fix it so it sees the 4 gigs?

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Yep, Maybe...
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / May 15, 2008 12:35 PM PDT

Here's a quote from 'General Improvements and Enhancements" section in the link below:

"With SP1, Windows Vista will report the amount of system memory installed rather than report the amount of system memory available to the OS. Therefore 32-bit systems equipped with 4GB of RAM will report all 4GB in many places throughout the OS, such as the System Control Panel. However, this behavior is dependent on having a compatible BIOS, so not all users may notice this change."

Notable Changes in Windows Vista Service Pack 1

Hope this helps.


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Grif's quote summarizes it nicely, but to clarify, SP1 doesn't fix anything at all. SP1 enables Vista's 32-bit editions to report the full 4GB, but the 4GB will not be accessible 99.99% of the time. The amount of RAM reported without SP1 is all that is addressable/usable, and SP1's installation won't change that.


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SP1 is to fix the amount of memory to show more
by Basket628 / May 15, 2008 6:44 PM PDT
In reply to: No...

SP1 is to fix the amount of memory to show more

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My thought.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 15, 2008 11:57 PM PDT
In reply to: No...

MS was being pinged to do something even if cosmetic since the PC makers were getting deluged with support calls about where the ram you paid for was.

And John is right it didn't and I'll add can't cause the memory to be used in any usable way. To explain why requires a small class on architecture, history lessons and a little more about memory maps.

But it should reduce support calls on this.

-> Did the OP look at the 3GB switch for Vista?
Hint at


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Makes sense
by Willy / May 16, 2008 7:00 AM PDT
In reply to: My thought.

It doesn't seem like a fix at all. Notification but possibility no full use of the ram installed. It a jerry-rig fix(report?) at that, IMHO. Oh well... -----Willy

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by Dango517 / May 16, 2008 1:23 PM PDT
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Let's Hear It For PC Makers
by wexmary / May 16, 2008 9:21 PM PDT
In reply to: Information

For pushing 4 GB RAM on PCs running Vista without specifying that you MUST run 64-bit Vista to use the RAM.

Makes you wonder if next OS for Microsoft will truly be 64-bit.

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Windows 7 will be both 32-bit and 64-bit...
by John.Wilkinson / May 17, 2008 2:05 AM PDT

The next version of Windows will be available in both 32-bit and 64-bit editions, though there is no word on Windows 8. Unfortunately it's not a Windows problem that causes the 3GB-4GB's a 32-bit limitation, and thus affects other operating systems as well. It's a shame manufacturers don't make the limitation clear before purchase, though.


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RAM slots are standardized
by Dango517 / May 17, 2008 9:23 AM PDT

this is so there isn't a different one on each motherboard you buy. In the world of computing the big players are business and government. PC users get the hand-me-downs. Those slots were made to provide for the needs of business. This will not be fixed, this is just the way it is. Two areas drive the development and improvement of and gaming. This being the case, then there needs should come first because in the end we will all gain.

If you would like to get exactly what you pay for, you could buy a motherboard with four slots instead of two then you could configure it to 3.5 GB of RAM but this would cost you more then you would save.

Sometimes things are not as they appear. The wider and deeper ones pool of understanding and knowledge the more one can see.

I think I just had a Zen moment. Ommmm. Grin

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next MS OS
by bruceslog / May 18, 2008 6:32 AM PDT
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32-bit OS addressing is limited to 4G...
by jgsilva / May 17, 2008 4:38 AM PDT

But that is after the hardware addressing.

I have a 4G machine running XP MCE. XP only uses 3G because the first gig addressed is used up by 2 512k video boards.

A dual boot machine with Vista 64-bit on the other side which addresses 5G.

Someone else made note the PC vendors sell 4G machines with a 32-bit OS. My vendor was Gateway.

Both duo and quad core processors can run a 64-bit OS.

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Can to fill us in on what PAE is then?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 17, 2008 5:00 AM PDT

Of course it's like good old EMS from Intel 8088 days. I wonder who will remember that?

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PEA, Physical Address Extension
by Dango517 / May 17, 2008 9:28 AM PDT
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"it may not work on all chip sets."
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 17, 2008 9:34 AM PDT

Sadly I've read (and heard) people claim this as a fix. OUCH!

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This is the old way the new way is.......
by Dango517 / May 17, 2008 10:21 AM PDT
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Mixed results on that one.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 17, 2008 10:40 AM PDT
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hardware-based DEP
by Dango517 / May 18, 2008 8:31 AM PDT
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4 gigs, no more
by pjmarkert / May 17, 2008 2:13 PM PDT

32 bit os only can address a total of 4 gigs. if you have a 512 meg video card then 512m of address space is used by the video card, other devices use some of the space also. whatever is left of the 4 gig is mapped as ram.

Here is an analogy:
11 houses on a street.
All house addresses must be 1 decimal digit (0 to 9)
Video house always has priority to get an address
Only 9 addresses left for Ram houses
10th Ram house has no address, no way to get mail.

thhere are only 4gig possible addresses and video takes 1/2 gig, therefore only 3.5 gig addresses left for ram.

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make sense
by ginkosu / May 18, 2008 2:45 AM PDT
In reply to: 4 gigs, no more

thanks for explaining it like that, i understand how it works now.

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