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Windows Not Reporting All RAM

With RAM being very cheap these days and constantly getting cheaper, purchasing more memory for your computer has always made for one of the most affordable and effective hardware upgrades. With more RAM, you can run more programs, open larger files and run more memory-intensive applications and games. These days, four gigabytes of RAM is fairly standard, even on more modest machines including both laptop and desktop computers. If you've just upgraded your computer with more memory, and you find that not all of the memory is being reported, it can be a frustrating problem to say the least.

You can see how much memory is available to Windows by right-clicking on "Computer" in the start menu. You'll be presented with your computer's specifications. Under the "System" section, you'll see how much memory is physically installed as well as how much memory is actually usable by Windows. If this is the case, then it is because you have a 32-bit operating system installed and you're trying to use more memory than such an operating system can register. You'll also see under these specifications whether you're running a 32- or 64-bit operating system.

Unfortunately, there's no way around this other than to install a 64-bit version of Windows. Since all modern processors (except some of those used in netbook computers) are 64-bit, you should always be running a 64-bit edition of Windows these days. The lack of Windows being able to register all of your memory is a hardware limitation for which there is no possible workaround. A 32-bit operating system is only able to register a maximum of 4 gigabytes of memory. This also includes graphics memory, hence the reason why you'll normally see something like only 3.2 gigabytes of usable RAM being reported.

The only other case where Windows will not report all of your available system memory is when that extra memory is being allocated to the graphics chip. This is often the case with laptop computers which usually have integrated graphics cards. You can increase the amount of memory used as regular system memory by altering a setting in the BIOS. Since, however, every BIOS is slightly different, you should refer to your computer's manual for further instructions on how to do this.


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