are you sure that wasnt 96mb for video card memoery, not system memory? i dont think you can run a os on only 96mb memory
I recently got one very old configuration P4 machine.
It contains 512MB RAM card, as checked by me.
The problem here is, in system properties it shows only "96MB of RAM".
I didn't find any configuration in BIOS(Although I am weak at checking BIOS).
According to what I think, RAM might be faulty or properly working.
if it is faulty the system wont boot.
But here, I am unable to understand the issue.