Windows 7/XP Memory Usage

10 pts.
Memory management
Microsoft Windows 7
Microsoft Windows XP
Windows Computing
Hi There! I have Windows 7 and Windows XP Machines we support. I am always curious when I notice that say out of 6GB Memory, 50% is used, but when I look at the task manager in private memory set, the largest couple are a few hundred meg each and then there are a few at 40-50 and downwards. It doesn't seem like it's possible for 3GB to be used and as such I am trying to work out how to track the memory more accurately.

Software/Hardware used:
Windows 7 and Windows XP Pro

Answer Wiki

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Available RAM is limited by several items other than the amount physically installed. Limitations include hardware (system) architecture, OS architecture and installed peripherals.

The 32-BIT architecture can address 4 GB (4069 MB) of address space. This address space holds system RAM, system IO and BIOS as well as installed adapter IO and memory. If the hardware or OS is 32-bit then you are limited to the 32-bit address space.

Address space is (normally) parceled out in this order:
* Hardware BIOS
* Hardware IO
* Adapter IO and memory

So RAM gets the address space that is left over. For a 32-bit architecture this is typically from 2.6 GB to 3.2 GB. Thus the maximum RAM your OS will see is limited to the available address space usualy around 3 GB depending on the physical hardware and peripherals.

If you have 64-bit hardware and OS, then the address space is extremely large, 32 EB (exabytes). Thus in today’s hardware you should see all memory installed.

Here is one of many articles on 32-bit vs 64-bit:
Clearing up the 32/64-bit memory limit confusion

Discuss This Question: 3  Replies

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  • Technochic
    Keep in mind that windows XP can only recognize and use 3GB of memory if it is a 32 bit OS. Same with Windows 7 if it is running as 32bit and not 64bit.
    57,010 pointsBadges:
  • Rakei
    Try out process monitor
    3,260 pointsBadges:
  • Markempee
    Perhaps you need to upgrade some of your computer hardware parts like the Random Access Memory or the Operating System itself.
    2,130 pointsBadges:

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