BIOS Says 4gb RAM, Vista says 3gb

By DTM426 ยท 10 replies
Jan 24, 2008
  1. I recently just purchased 2x 1gb sticks of RAM from newegg, to add on to my original 2gb. This was supposed to give me 4gb of RAM. When I rebooted my computer, I checked my BIOS to see if everything was functioning correctly, and it did say that my computer has 4gb of RAM. However, when I start up Vista, I go to Start > Control Panel > System, and the system information reads that I have 3070mb of RAM in my computer. Is there a reason for this, and can it be fixed?
  2. Route44

    Route44 TechSpot Ambassador Posts: 11,984   +72

    Is your Vista the 32 bit OS? If so it will not recognize nor utilize 4 gigs. Now if your Vista is 64 and it doesn't recognize it then that is an issue.
  3. DTM426

    DTM426 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Darn. Yeah, it's the 32bit OS. I didn't know it didn't utilize more than 3gb. Hm... looks like I'll have to sell one of my 1gb sticks to a buddy then! Haha, thanks for the info, very helpful.
  4. Cybersciver

    Cybersciver TS Rookie Posts: 35

    Guess you were joking about selling one of your sticks, but in case you weren't there are 2 good reasons why you shouldn't.
    First is you will eliminate dual channel access mode so your memory will run slower.
    Second is that Windows maps the memory of any devices with memory of their own to RAM. Also it automatically sets aside about 250MB for other devices. So, if you've got a GTX with 768MB of GDDR3 you only have about 3gigs of available memory anyway, and Windows 32 can access all of it.
  5. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

    If it will make you feel better to see Windows report 4GB, then just wait it out until SP1 is released. They are going to 'fix' this issue which doesn't change anything in how Windows utilizes it, but it will display 4GB.
  6. DTM426

    DTM426 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yeah, I figured I'd keep it in for dual channel purposes, but I didn't know the rest. Thanks.
  7. subcan

    subcan TS Rookie Posts: 51

    There is a Microsoft Techinical Bulletin regarding this issue. Your video card will use up some of this 4GB of ram and that is why it reports up to 3.12GB of Ram available. Here is the link: you will have to copy it to the address bar. I am not powerful enough yet to post with links or images <hehe>
  8. hanaleia

    hanaleia TS Rookie Posts: 35

    Vista WILL recognise 4GB of RAM

    I just had the same issue on my Acer Aspire 5050 laptop, after installing 4GB of RAM yesterday only 2 showed up, After Installing SP1 for Vista, I found out that
    SP1 has addressed the issue and after installing it 'Viola' I now have all 4 Gigs of Ram showing on my 32-bit Vista laptop. I may actually keep Vista on my laptop now, it also fixed several other issues I had been having, so before you go fiddling with a bios flash you may want to give it a try.
    "SP1 for Vista, good for what ails you"
  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

    Yeh, SP1 'fixes' how it displays. But its just a cosmetic thing to hopefully quiet the masses of people that don't understand why it was showing less than that originally. This 'fix' doesn't change anything in how the OS behaves and utilizes the RAM though.
  10. chirag_gada

    chirag_gada TS Rookie

    hey that was a bug in vista.... its been taken care of in service pack 1...
  11. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +422

    Its not a bug. In effect Microsoft created an error just to keep people that don't know how memory is reserved in a 32bit OS from constantly complaining about 'incorrect' RAM reporting.

    Raymond Chen has this to say
    Ian Griffiths gives some more detail:
    Here is an illustration about it: (Stolen from CodingHorror but not hotlinked)

    So all Vista SP1 did, was cosmetically 'fix' this so the true amount of RAM avaiable to the OS is no longer showing, and instead shows the total amount of RAM installed. They didn't fix a bug, they changed what they are reporting.

    More detailed on the material in this post can be found here, where most of what I said was taken from.
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