Why is my RAM is not fully used in Windows? [duplicate]

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QUESTION :

Possible Duplicate:
4 GB of Ram installed but only 2.97GB usable. What gives?

I got a Dell laptop with Windows 7 Professional. Initially it had 3GB of RAM. Then I upgraded my laptop increasing RAM up to 4GB.

Viewing system details through My Computer icon it is saying that the laptop has got 4GB of memory (BIOS shows the same thing), usable 2.96 GB. According to the task manager my laptop has got only 3GB of memory.

When the RAM consumption reaches > 2GB, Windows shows a pop-up on the screen saying that I am running out of memory. I used to get the same pop up window having 3 GB of RAM.

Why is my RAM is not fully exploited?

ANSWER :

You’re running a 32bit version of Windows and/or your graphics processor reserves some of your system memory for itself.

edit: I just realized, our very own Jeff Atwood wrote an article about exactly this issue.

You are probably running windows 7 32 bit version, which can’t address more than ~3.3 GB at a time.

Upgrading to win7 64bit would solve this problem.

Another possibility is that your GPU reserves memory or your BIOS doesn’t detect your additional stick, you can check that in your BIOS.

32bit Windows 7 will use 32bit addressing thus all device memory space will be retracted from real 4GB memory.
Windows server editions and 64bit editions will get closer to installed memory.
Why? Because page list would take a lot of space and there is no gain trying to address >3,5GB. because gained space will be wasted by memory management.

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