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Windows xp sp3 only recognizing 2gb ram

I have been trying time and time again and have checked multiple forum answers but just cant figure out why windows will not recognize more then 2gbs of ram. I have 2 1 gigabyte sticks and 1 2gigabyte stick. I have tried just putting the 2 gb and the one gigabye together still only reads in windows as 2gb. I have also tried putting the lower one in the first slot as someone had mentioned some computers have trouble with 2 different ammounts of ram chips. I know my motherboard can handle up to 2gb per slot, I have gone to bios and the ram shows up in the memory menu. No matter which slots its in the ram shows up in bios but always says 2gb ram in windows. I keep restarting and trying new configurations but nothing seems to work.

I have ran cpu-z and the new 2gb ram chip is the exact same specifications as the previous 2 1gb chips. exactly the same hertz and latency and exactly the same voltage in all areas. Right now im only using 2 of the chips attempting to get 3gbs to work and it states im running in dual channel mode not sure if that matters/has anything to do with it.. im really at a loss I cant get it to recognize more then 2gb. please help. Do I just absolutely NEED the exact same type of card? i am running an older computer but its designed for expandability (Dell xps 600 desktop) and gaming so I would assume they wouldnt make it too complicated to add ram. I am using windows xp media center edition (SP3) 32bit pc. Any suggestions? please help

cpu-z recognizes all the ram being there but windows will not utilize the maximum 3.45 or whatever it is for a 32bit pc.

ive also already tried checking the max ram or whatever it is specifically in the boot.ini file (already set to no max)

I am really at a loss please let me know what you think?
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about windows recognizing
  1. 32bit OSs will not use 4gb of RAM. You need to upgrade to a 64 bit OS to use it all.

    You most likely have a GPU reserving the other portion of the ram for system use.
  2. Best answer
    MEMORY FAQ (please read before posting)
    How much memory will my system recognize?
    Every system has its own limit on the memory size which varies with each Operating System and motherboard. Check with your motherboard manual on how much memory your motherboard supports. Desktop motherboard limits are typically 3GB or 4GB.



    Q: My system does not recognize the full capacity of the modules I installed. How do I fix this?
    1. If the system memory appears to be off by several megabytes, then check to see if you have an on-board graphics processor on your motherboard. Often, on motherboards with integrated VGA, a portion of the system memory, such as 8MB, is placed aside for video memory.
    2. If the system is recognizing only a fraction, such as 1/2 or 1/4, of the total capacity of the module, then the problem is most likely due to you using modules with memory chips that are too high in density. Many older systems require lower density memory parts. As memory modules with higher megabytes are developed, the density of the memory chips also must increase. Older, lower density memory parts are phased out and become harder to find. Current modules with high density memory components may not work with the older systems.

    Q: I added more memory to my system, but I still get warnings that my system resources are low. How can I fix this?
    A: System resources and system memory are not the same thing. System memory refers to the physical memory installed on the system- if you have a 128MB module installed on your motherboard, then you should have 128MB of system memory. System resources are areas of memory used to keep track of the windows that are open and displaying objects on the screen. If this area becomes full, programs may not load properly and Windows may become unstable, no matter how much free system memory you have. Closing some running applications can free up your system resources, but some software may not release its resources as readily and you may need to reboot Windows.

    Q: I added more memory in my system, but now I get "Out of Memory" error messages in Windows. How can I fix this?
    A: If your system memory is 512MB or above and are running Windows 95/98/Me, please consult Microsoft for the fix.

    Q: How do I test my memory for errors?
    A: Memtest86 (from
  3. 32bit operating systems max out at 4 gigs.. i am trying to get the maximum of 4 gigs. i can only get 2 gigs no matter the combo or setup i use. each slot is capable of 2 gigs each. the maximum the motherboard can handle is 8 gigabytes. i dont need to use memtest86 as the memory is clearly functioning just not being recognized as i have tested each ram stick as functioning atleast enough to run windows. therefore if i have more then 2gb i should be able to see them if all of them are atleast functioning.. bios recognizes them, cpu-z recognizes them, i should be able to atleast put the 2 matching in dual dimm with the extra 2 in the other set slot. i dont know im just not understanding i guess im going to try to find the manual online and see what it says but there should be no reason its not being utilized.
  4. incorrect. a 32bit OS can use 3.25 gb maximum.

    Do you have a dedicated video card? or are you running integrated?
    as i said before, the other gb is most likely being used by your gpu as shared system memory.
  5. It may read as high as 3.5 gb
  6. no its not i found it in the manual. for some stupid reason my motherboard only allows 2gb for 32bit operating systems and 8gb for 64bit. Must say its strange that it even says that i really dont understand why. a limitation for no reason other then they were trying to hustle 64bit operating systems at the time? thats what im getting out of it. the manual says DELL IS CRAP. thanks for the assistance anyways.
  7. Best answer selected by dmfree88.
  8. This topic has been closed by Nikorr
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