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Windows 7: 4GB of RAM, only 3,5 GB usable

13 Oct 2014   #1
Jaakow22

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
4GB of RAM, only 3,5 GB usable

I recently reinstalled Windows because only 3,5 GB of RAM was usable. After the reinstall, 4 GB was installed and usable, but after a few weeks I noticed that it is again only 3,5 GB usable. I did not change any BIOS settings since I reinstalled Windows. Here is a screenshot from resource monitor:

Like WTF? Any ideas?
Move this thread if it is on the wrong location.
Feedback is much appreciated.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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13 Oct 2014   #2
Mellon Head

Win 7 Pro x64/Win 10 Pro x64 dual boot
 
 

It's normal for the system to reserve memory for the hardware addresses. PCs have hardware which is built into the memory map of the computer, like video memory, drive vectors and caches. The OS can't use these areas for standard memory, so it blocks them off from your use.

In any case, it's normal, and nothing to worry about. You can't change it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2014   #3
LMiller7

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Are you certain you installed 64 bit Windows 7? What you are seeing is typical of a 32 bit OS.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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13 Oct 2014   #4
Tookeri

Windows 7 Pro 32
 
 

For 32 bit it would only be able to use 3 GB, while this example shows 3,5 - 3,6
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2014   #5
LMiller7

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Having 3583 MB available to Windows in a 32 bit OS is unusual but very possible. Some systems have more. My 32 bit Windows 7 system has 3543 MB.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2014   #6
Berton

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, Windows 8.1 64-bit, Mac OS X 10.10, Linux Mint 17, Windows 10 Pro TP
 
 

As far as my experience goes, having 32-bit Windows on a computer with 4GB RAM will show only 3.5 to 3.6 available, maybe as low as 3.3GB. Also remember some of the RAM is allocated to the onboard/built-in video by the BIOS before the Operating System loads. Having 4GB on 32-bit doesn't prevent anything, just can't be all used.
Memory Limits for Windows and Windows Server Releases (Windows)
I have a Dell Inspiron 530S on the bench with just that situation with 4GB RAM.
An interesting read, might have to try it on that computer:
http://www.u nawave.de/windows-7-tipps/32-bit-ram-barrier.html?lang=EN
This site is blocking the full URL so take the space out between the u and n.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2014   #7
Tookeri

Windows 7 Pro 32
 
 

If I check in Control Panel - System, it says: 4,00 GB (2,98 GB usable)

Is that showing more too for those of you that are running 32 bit?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2014   #8
LMiller7

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

My 32 bit system with 4 GB RAM shows 3.46 GB usable in control panel. If you have 2.98 usable it is likely that a portion of RAM is being used by the video system. This is very common in laptops. The exact amount of RAM that is usable depends greatly on the hardware. Typically it will be about 3.25 GB but it can significantly more or less.

I am not saying that the OP is using a 32 but OS. I just want to be sure that a simple explanation is not overlooked.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2014   #9
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

The problem on a 32bit system is not really RAM but address space. I have seen useable numbers up tp 3.6GB. It depends mainly on what the graphics needs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2014   #10
Tookeri

Windows 7 Pro 32
 
 

Thanks guys, this was news to me.

And apologies to OP for maybe going OT with 32-bit stuff.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 4GB of RAM, only 3,5 GB usable




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