...OK, I read the FAQ on this however in my case, none of the conditions applied. I was very careful to make sure the second 2GB module I purchased for my notebook matched the speed and type (DDR2). However instead of 4GB I am seeing only a total installed RAM of 2.99GB (not "available" RAM) listed. This is leaving me with only 1.2 GB allocated to application usage which is why I believe one of my apps (DazStudio 3A) keeps crashing during image rendering processes with relative frequency. The usual error I get when this occurs relates to some kind of memory allocation issue. What is odd, when I only had 2.5GB, the crash issue was nearly not as frequent.
Now supposedly under 32bit, with 4GB installed (3GB available), I should still have 2GB allocated for application use, so I do not understand why I am getting shortchanged by .8GB. The notebook has integrated graphics but that should only take a small amount (about 8MB as mentioned in the FAQ not 800).
Is there something I need to adjust in the in the system setup for it to give me the full 2GB allocation allowed under 32 bit?
IF you're using any 32 bit windows installation, then 3 gb is the maximum windows will recognize (so 2.99 is reasonable). You have to decide at what price point it's worth it for you to make the change to 64 bit. I bought my windows 7 on craigslist for $65 used which included both 32 and 64 bit dvd's, so it was worth it to me.
...unfortunately, moving to 64 bit means getting a new machine as the only way to get my system to recognise a 64 bit OS would be to update the BIOS. I have read enough horror stores about people killing their systems attempting to upgrade from 32 to 64 bit to dissuade me from even thinking about it.
I'm more frustrated by the fact that the memory allocation for applications (which is different from the total available memory) did not seem to improve much if at all with the RAM upgrade.
32-bit windows can use 4GB of addressable memory space. Since your RAM is only using 2.99 that means 1.1GB is being used for your devices including your Graphics Card. If you have a 1GB graphics card, switch to a 512MB one and that will net you some additional memory addresses. Also, go into the BIOS and turn off all devices you're not using since each one uses a little bit of space. The AMD build I put together for my cousin over a year ago had a Radeon 4850 512MB and most of the onboard devices that weren't in use turned off leaving windows to report 3.5GB of memory.
Anyway, updating the BIOS isn't really that scary. Most board manufacturers have tools for you to even update it through windows so you don't have to worry about screwing up with a bootable disk.
Notebooks can be VERY picky on Ram. I bought Ram to upgrade my notebook, I matched identical specs and emailed the company and they indicated Yes - BUT it did not work, repurchased for Company B and worked great. I have incountered this on more than one laptop when upgrading the memory.
?? in bios you are seeing 4 gigs installed, and in win 7 4 gigs installed. Available = 3 gigs and Free = 1.2 gigs. If that is correct, I would then use CPUID CPU-Z to verify memory is installed/running correct (ie daul channel). Also download Prime 95 and run it to verify no memory errors.
For 32 bit your stats are probably correct (if looking at performance tab);
My Laptop: Win 7 32 Bit using intergraded GPU, Mem 4 gigs install (2.87 Avail). Loking at Performance tab, on fresh boot, approx 2 gigs Free. You only seem low on "Free" . This will depend on programs loaded during boot. Unless you are experiencing a high disk activity (swaping memory -> HDD and back) then may not be a problem with "Free memory".
Windows 32-bit can recognize more than 2.9GB, the typical is ~3.5GB. Yes, the onboard GPU will typically pull 0.25~0.5GB. In the BIOS you can adjust this 'shared' amount -- since this is a DDR2 notebook my assumption is more like 128MB~256MB which still leaves some RAM unaccounted for and 'might be' salvageable. Look in your BIOS for 'Memory Mapping' and even then might not make a difference.
^ From OP "However instead of 4GB I am seeing only a total installed RAM of 2.99GB (not "available" RAM) listed." My first question should have been where did you get this value from. If from Win 7 control panel, show Proces & memory then is a memory/bios problem and You may be correct on "Memory Mapping"
^ Yeah, the other 'missing' is going to H/W Reserved -> which is what I'm trying to help the OP recapture 'if possible' and remains to be seen. Different Devices use different amounts of RAM. The 'shared' would show-up the same way - I am not confused at all.