Boot.ini & only 3.5 of 4gb ram recognized in XP

Riddle me this. I got my HDD partitioned into 250 & 250 GB, one with an old XP install, and one with a new. The boot.ini is located on the old XP install partition. If i format that partition what will happen when i boot my PC? Will it know what to do? Should I copy the boot.ini to the active XP install before i format the inactive one?

Second question. I have 4gigs of Dual channel ram picked up in bios, windows recognizes 3.5gigs of it. Theres something about a 3GB switch or /PAE switch i can use in the boot.ini to change the way the ram is allocated. Any recommendations? I kinda understand how the ram is allocated, but its still a little vauge. I realize vista & 64bit xp do not have this problem, but i am not planning on using either anytime soon, and 500mb of ram would help me alot with my photoshop/quarkexpress work.

Any advice is appreciated.
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  1. sorry but the 32 bit version has a sweet spot of 2Gig of ram, and if windows sees 3.5Gig you are way ahead of the game
  2. The switch won't work properly with XP Home / Pro. Your drivers must also support /PAE and they likely won't. If you really need 4GB+... you're better off using a 64-bit OS or Windows Server 2003.
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