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Windows 7 and single program RAM allocation

Last response: in Windows 7
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January 27, 2013 7:45:32 PM

I am running Windows 7 64 bit. When running memtest to check the integrity of the 16GB of RAM I've just installed, it says:

"your version of windows limits the amount of contiguous ram a single program can allocate. To test all your RAM, run more than one copy of memtest at a time."

Is this true?

This is a gaming rig, so does that mean that no matter how much RAM I have installed a game can only perform so well because of an artificial OS limit?

Is there a way to bypass this limit?

Thanks for any insight you might have.
a b $ Windows 7
January 27, 2013 8:41:53 PM

Test the RAM without having Windows running. This means booting your PC from a CD which contains a DOS-based testing utility like memtest86+ : http://www.memtest.org/
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January 27, 2013 8:57:48 PM

Thanks for the response. I'm much more concerned with gaming, though. If that limit applies to memtest wouldn't it also apply to high-end games?
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January 29, 2013 3:44:47 PM

It seems like as games continue to advance and require more resources that this is going to become a pretty serious problem pretty quickly...
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a c 228 $ Windows 7
January 30, 2013 11:28:07 AM

It's not a problem. It's just telling you it can't test all the ram with windows running. Do as phill22 suggests.
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February 2, 2013 6:14:29 AM

We're missing the point here. Memtest can only test around 2 gigs at a time before giving that error message. And the reason for this, according to their error message, is that Windows 7 limits the amount of RAM a single program can allocate at any given time.

So my real question becomes: Is that true? Does Windows 7 limit the amount of RAM a single program can allocate? And if so, doesn't this mean my high-end gaming rig is going to cap the amount of RAM a single game can utilize, therefore rendering my 16 GB of RAM pointless if all I'm using it for is a single game and no other programs are running?

And if "yes" to all of the above, is there a way to bypass this artificial limit? I know I'm biting off a big chunk here, but any insight would any least point me a direction instead of riding out blind.
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Best solution

a c 228 $ Windows 7
February 4, 2013 3:23:28 PM

Something doesn't sound right. Memtest boots off a CD or USB drive. It is not run from within windows. When run properly, windows doesn't even come into play. Memtest doesn't care what OS you use. If you are running the windows based version of memtest, then yes you will get this error. 32 bit programs run in windows can only use 2 gig of application memory. 64 bit programs can utilize all the ram.

Anyhow, if you aren't booting directly into memtest, then you're probably using the wrong version.

http://www.memtest.org/
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February 4, 2013 8:04:25 PM

Best answer selected by lordstaimot.
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February 4, 2013 8:06:41 PM

Yes, I was running the Windows based version. Ok, so as long as it's a 64 bit program, game or whatever, there is no limit on how much RAM it can use. That's all I wanted to know, thanks!!
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