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RAM for 32bit machine running 64bit VM

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January 27, 2010 2:54:39 PM

Hi,

I have a PC which I want to increase the memory of, I know the motherboard will let me install more (at least 4gb).

It's running Vista 32bit so i'm assuming that in a normal situation I could only increase to about 3gb RAM as the OS would only 'see' that amount. Does this mean that if I install more than 3gb other software (other than the OS) would not be able to access more than 3gb RAM either?

A complication is that i'm running VirtualBox on it (hence the need for more RAM), my VM is running OpenSUSE 11.2 64bit, so would the VM's OS be able to make use of the extra memory even if Windows can't?

Or would it just be easier to upgrade my Windows to 64bit?

On a related note if I upgrade my OS does it retain the installed programs etc.?

Many thanks,

Guy
January 27, 2010 4:01:35 PM

I believe you'll BSOD the minute a 64-bit OS in a VM running on a host 32-bit OS. At the end of the day, the host OS is 32-bit. You can try, but I wouldn't expect success.

To upgrade from 32-bit to 64-bit, you have to do a clean install.
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January 27, 2010 4:24:20 PM

If you have a cpu with virtualization support then it is very possible to run a 64bit guest on a 32bit host. And yes, it can use memory that your host wont touch.
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January 27, 2010 8:08:23 PM

mikrev007 said:
If you have a cpu with virtualization support then it is very possible to run a 64bit guest on a 32bit host. And yes, it can use memory that your host wont touch.


Thank you - I do have virtualisation support and the VM is up and running (so far!) ok. Very useful to know that the extra Ram could be used. I'll go ahead and get the RAM and see what happens. If push comes to shove i'll upgrade to 64 bit Win. but would be good to avoid a clean install.
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February 3, 2010 7:47:19 AM

Best answer selected by faffer.
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