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Win 7 64-bit doesnt use all installed RAM

Last response: in Windows 7
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July 8, 2010 4:36:50 PM

I recently purchased a new system (about 2 weeks ago) but I've noticed my 64bit software is only able to use 10 of 12GB installed.

When I look at the system properties I see windows recognizes 12GB RAM installed but sais only 10GB of it is available.


Any thoughts? I paid lots of money for my RAM so I'm not really considering this a luxery problem :/ 

(When I startup it sais the memory frequency is 1066. Not sure if this is useful)

Here are some of my system specs:

Processor: Intel i7 920 2,66Ghz
Ram: Kingston HyperX Triple Channel 1600 MHz (6x 2GB sticks)
Mobo: GigaByte GA-X58A-UD5 (Socket 1366)

I'm not really thinking a faulty stick because windows recognizes al sticks. Only it refuses to use it all....
Any help is appreciated.
a c 352 $ Windows 7
July 8, 2010 4:40:09 PM

Available RAM is what is left over after OS and any other programs load at startup. Start up in Safe Mode, you should see more RAM available.
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a b $ Windows 7
July 8, 2010 4:43:59 PM

you are probably using about 2 GB of RAM for Windows as well as background tasks
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July 8, 2010 4:47:59 PM

Hey guys, thanx for the quick reply.
So are you saying if I have 12GB installed it's normal that I'm not able to fully utilize it in my software?

I just pulled out one stick (2GB) to test and now it sais 10GB installed (correct) but only 6GB available. Kinda strange he takes off 4GB now no?
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a b $ Windows 7
July 8, 2010 5:09:08 PM

you might have a bad stick, try running memtest
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July 8, 2010 5:52:26 PM

I ran memtest, no errors found.

I've stumbled across something else (which I think confirms no sticks are faulty)

1. Took out 4 sticks, Windows succesfully sais 4Gb installed 4GB available
2. I put in an extra one, now it sais 6Gb installed 4GB available
3. I replace the last one with another: same result
4. I leave the last stick and add another, now it sais 8Gb installed 8GB available

I don't understand any of this? The sticks are not faulty cause this test caused trouble and also worked with the same sticks. The result simply changed over setup...
Any thoughts?
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July 8, 2010 6:07:54 PM

More RAM doesn't mean better/faster computer all the time. Their comes a time when all that RAM can actually slow overall performance down. This is interesting, Windows 7 might recognize that and only use when it may need.

Personally i would only use 8 gigs at most myself, unless you need more but thats up to you. I am interested to find out whats causing this.

I am going to do a little looking around.
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July 8, 2010 6:13:16 PM

well I do a lot of rendering with audio, video and 3D software. so I've always figured you can never have enough memory. And in my experience coming from older systems my performance has definitly increased.

I'm also completely clueless about what's causing the problem. Just now I had reinserted al sticks and it showed 8GB out of 12 available. I swapped the position of the last two sticks added and got back to 10GB out of 12 available. It's behavior is starting to look very random to me, which doesnt help me one bit and only causes more confusion :/ 
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a c 352 $ Windows 7
July 8, 2010 6:16:41 PM

I'm not sure why you have the memory swap showing differen amounts, but your available memory will never be the full total in the system. If you have 12gig of RAM, some is always used up by the OS and other running processes. Check your motherboard manual also, you may find something to explain things.
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July 8, 2010 6:41:11 PM

I know it might not use all ram but atleast when I startup the memory check should show the installed amount right?
At boot I'm only seeing 10GB (and it always shows the amount considered 'available' not the amount 'installed' in the system properties when displayed at startup)
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July 8, 2010 6:46:44 PM

Have you looked at your mother board bios? See the amount installed on their?
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July 8, 2010 7:36:51 PM

I don't now where to see that actually?
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a b $ Windows 7
July 8, 2010 7:41:40 PM


The points where you can 'read' usage data differ in how they measure and report data. Often counting cached and swapped data as 'in memory'. While this is technically accurate from a software perspective, it does not directly relate to actual usage of the physical DIMMS.

The easiest way to get an overview of what is going on is to open Resource Monitor - There is a tab for Memory usage which is pretty self explanatory:

Hardware Reserved (gray) This is physical memory that is set aside by the BIOS and other hardware drivers, and can not be used for anything else.

In Use (green) In active use by Windows, running processes, or by device drivers. This is the number that matters: If you consistently fill this green bar across the entire length of the graph, then you are trying to push your physical RAM beyond its capacity. Consider upgrades if that is the case.

Modified (orange) This represents pages of memory that can be used by other programs but would have to be written to the page file before they can be reused.

Standby (blue) This is the amount of memory that Windows 7 is using for cacheing ('Superfetch', etc). It tries very hard to keep this as full as possible. If you start a new process that needs memory, the lowest-priority pages on this list are discarded and made available to the new process. This is transparent to the user and to applications, and should not interfere at all with performance.

Free (light blue) As I pointed out above, Windows Vista and 7 try very hard to avoid leaving any memory completely free. Over time, Windows will use idle cycles to slowly fill this up with items it thinks you may use. This is at a very low priority and will not interfere with system performance.

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a c 209 $ Windows 7
July 8, 2010 8:29:45 PM

Jenovation said:
I recently purchased a new system (about 2 weeks ago) but I've noticed my 64bit software is only able to use 10 of 12GB installed.
This is completely normal. Some memory is in use by the OS itself, some memory is used for file caching, and a some is used for services and applications you're running (Explorer, the desktop shell, your browser, etc). Windows also pre-fetches stuff it thinks you may need to use in the future so that you won't have to wait when you want it.

It's all good stuff that's getting effective and efficient use of your memory. What's the point of having 12GB of memory if it's always 100% free?

Should you load up enough programs such that you actually use up all of the 10GB, Windows will start unloading stuff it deems less critical. You'll never reach a hard limit until the aggregate total of the programs you're running tries to use more memory than you have in RAM and pagefile space combined.

It's a non-issue, don't worry about it!
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July 8, 2010 9:35:07 PM

@Scotteq: I've checked the resource monitor and I think you and sminlal are right.
If I count up all the megs including the gray zone I get at 12228mb so I guess the computer really is using everything.

It's just so weird how it behaved when I started removing and adding sticks, seems like windows randomly decides when it'll leave everything available or give it all free.

Either way, I'm pretty relieved. 10Gigs are already nice but the idea of a new computer malfuctioning was just a pain for me.
Thx guys for clearing this out! :) 
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a c 352 $ Windows 7
July 8, 2010 9:37:43 PM

Jenovation said:
@Scotteq: I've checked the resource monitor and I think you and sminlal are right.
If I count up all the megs including the gray zone I get at 12228mb so I guess the computer really is using everything.

It's just so weird how it behaved when I started removing and adding sticks, seems like windows randomly decides when it'll leave everything available or give it all free.

Either way, I'm pretty relieved. 10Gigs are already nice but the idea of a new computer malfuctioning was just a pain for me.
Thx huys for clearing this out! :) 



Hey, what you mean they are right, I told you the same thing 5 posts ago :non:  ;)  Actually, in the first reply to your question hehe.
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July 8, 2010 10:02:53 PM

@hang-the-9 yes true ^_^ but I tried the safe mode thing and it showed the same amount of memory, at the same time boot only showed 10 gigs as well. it's thx to the monitor that I can really see that all the memory is used and how its devided. thx anyway ;) 
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a c 352 $ Windows 7
July 8, 2010 10:04:50 PM

Jenovation said:
@hang-the-9 yes true ^_^ but I tried the safe mode thing and it showed the same amount of memory, at the same time boot only showed 10 gigs as well. it's thx to the monitor that I can really see that all the memory is used and how its devided. thx anyway ;) 


I meant about the fact that Windows and default programs use up RAM so your usable ram will always show up less than what you physically have installed.
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July 8, 2010 10:36:37 PM

Windows 7 is making good use of available memory. Since you have lot of it, it will use it because it is faster than a swap file on the hdd, and will cache some other bits for faster application performance. rest assured, if more ram is needed, then it will release some and will eventually create a swap file.
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July 8, 2010 11:55:49 PM

have you checked for the memory ramapping feature in the bios? enable it so windows will recognize all the installed ram. Also you can look in "msconfig", go into the boot tab, advanced options and make sure "maximum memory" is left unchecked, if it's checked, unchecked it and after a reboot you should have windows recognizing all of your memory, but try the memory remapping thing first. And if everything fails, go for an bios update.
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July 9, 2010 10:11:14 AM

hang-the-9 said:
I meant about the fact that Windows and default programs use up RAM so your usable ram will always show up less than what you physically have installed.


I know, but then the boot should show the full amount installed right?
Either way, thx a bunch hang ;) 



@Lopok are you sure it's even necessary now to enable the remapping? O_o
if it's windows and processes using the RAM it's prob better to leave it off no?
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July 9, 2010 7:52:25 PM

Jenovation said:
I know, but then the boot should show the full amount installed right?
Either way, thx a bunch hang ;) 



@Lopok are you sure it's even necessary now to enable the remapping? O_o
if it's windows and processes using the RAM it's prob better to leave it off no?


I have 2 Win7 x64 systems, and one Vista x64 running 8,6,4 gb ram. In all 3 I have memory remap enabled, and at boot a 3 show full amount of memory so yes I think it is
required for proper 64 bit usage of memory configurations of 4gb or greater on a 64 bit OS. It even mentions in my bios setting only enable on 64 bit OS with 4gb and up memory the memory remap feature.
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July 9, 2010 8:43:22 PM

A_Real_Overclocker said:
I have 2 Win7 x64 systems, and one Vista x64 running 8,6,4 gb ram. In all 3 I have memory remap enabled, and at boot a 3 show full amount of memory so yes I think it is
required for proper 64 bit usage of memory configurations of 4gb or greater on a 64 bit OS. It even mentions in my bios setting only enable on 64 bit OS with 4gb and up memory the memory remap feature.


any hints on where in the bios to find this? :??: 
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July 12, 2010 10:29:45 AM

Jenovation said:
any hints on where in the bios to find this? :??: 


Ok so now I have my eyes open, and after further checking my EX58 Extreme does not have the mem remap feature in bios. :o  I assumed :non:  ugggh that it did as my p35 p45 chip boards both did. Why is that I forgot the memory controller is on cpu die for 1366 processors where it is on motherboard for the p35 p45. Duhh! sorry my bad yet another case of never just assume.
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July 12, 2010 11:01:35 AM

I already found the mem remapping but it caused BSOD's.
I just changed my memory freq to 1333, seems to work fine now.
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August 21, 2011 10:30:10 PM

Jenovation said:
well I do a lot of rendering with audio, video and 3D software. so I've always figured you can never have enough memory. And in my experience coming from older systems my performance has definitly increased.

I'm also completely clueless about what's causing the problem. Just now I had reinserted al sticks and it showed 8GB out of 12 available. I swapped the position of the last two sticks added and got back to 10GB out of 12 available. It's behavior is starting to look very random to me, which doesnt help me one bit and only causes more confusion :/ 

I read in certain tech threads that boards must have the higher ammounts of ram installed first bank and then in the second bank the lower ammount. I. E. 2 -4gb in bank 0 and 2-2gb sticks in bank 1. also if the timings such as dual or triple channel do not match along with timing rates (like 9-9-24) this will cause freze ups and misreporting.
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November 8, 2011 12:51:27 PM

sminlal said:
This is completely normal. Some memory is in use by the OS itself, some memory is used for file caching, and a some is used for services and applications you're running (Explorer, the desktop shell, your browser, etc). Windows also pre-fetches stuff it thinks you may need to use in the future so that you won't have to wait when you want it.

It's all good stuff that's getting effective and efficient use of your memory. What's the point of having 12GB of memory if it's always 100% free?

Should you load up enough programs such that you actually use up all of the 10GB, Windows will start unloading stuff it deems less critical. You'll never reach a hard limit until the aggregate total of the programs you're running tries to use more memory than you have in RAM and pagefile space combined.

It's a non-issue, don't worry about it!


How can you guys take this so lightly? The OP said that if he installs 4GB, Windows reports 4GB available, but if he installes 12 GB Windows reports 10 GB available. So you say that Windows does not use any RAM for drivers and Kernel if you have less RAM?

Look at his test cases:

4 GB installed -> 4 GB available (you say windows uses 0 GB here)
6 GB installed -> 4 GB available (you say Windows uses 2 GB here)
8 GB installed -> 8 GB available (you say windows uses 0 GB here)
10 GB installed -> 6 GB available (you say Windows uses 4 GB here)
12 GB installed -> 10 GB available (you say widows uses 2 GB here)

As you can see, it makes no sense to attribute the above behaviour to Windows using memory for drivers and kernel. The missing amounts are more likely due to faulty DIMM slots, or memory configurations. While the DIMMS themselves might be OK, the slots on the motherboard might be faulty.
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June 30, 2012 12:22:32 AM

Jenovation said:
I recently purchased a new system (about 2 weeks ago) but I've noticed my 64bit software is only able to use 10 of 12GB installed.

When I look at the system properties I see windows recognizes 12GB RAM installed but sais only 10GB of it is available.


Any thoughts? I paid lots of money for my RAM so I'm not really considering this a luxery problem :/ 

(When I startup it sais the memory frequency is 1066. Not sure if this is useful)

Here are some of my system specs:

Processor: Intel i7 920 2,66Ghz
Ram: Kingston HyperX Triple Channel 1600 MHz (6x 2GB sticks)
Mobo: GigaByte GA-X58A-UD5 (Socket 1366)

I'm not really thinking a faulty stick because windows recognizes al sticks. Only it refuses to use it all....
Any help is appreciated.


I have, rather had same issue until found answer on u-tube. In MSconfig/boot/advanced options remove check marks for number of processors-to use all processors and for maximum memory to use all memory
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