XP does fine with 2GB for most any task. Power users may want to install 2 x 2GB and max out the system for heavy tasks like video encoding and such. XP will not address any more than 4GBs and part of that address space is taken by other hardware like a video card needing part of the 4GB limited memory address space. So, XP with 2GB of available system memory is fine for most users. I have many XP systems with 2GB system memory installed.
what do i need to do to use the maximum capacity of my mobo?
i have 2 sticks of ram 2GB each but when i look into mycomputer properties
the ram reading says it only has 3.25 of ram
Various devices in a typical computer require memory-mapped access. This is known as memory-mapped I/O (MMIO). For the MMIO space to be available to 32-bit operating systems, the MMIO space must reside within the first 4 GB of address space.
For example, if you have a video card that has 256 MB of onboard memory, that memory must be mapped within the first 4 GB of address space. If 4 GB of system memory is already installed, part of that address space must be reserved by the graphics memory mapping. Graphics memory mapping overwrites a part of the system memory. These conditions reduce the total amount of system memory that is available to the operating system.
The reduction in available system memory depends on the devices that are installed in the computer. However, to avoid potential driver compatibility issues, the 32-bit versions of Windows Vista limit the total available memory to 3.12 GB. See the "More information" section for information about potential driver compatibility issues.
If a computer has many installed devices, the 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.