32 BIT WINDOWS AND THE 3GB LIMIT…




32 BIT WINDOWS AND THE 3GB LIMIT…

This past week, I dealt with a customer who wanted to use all the memory in his various versions of 32 bit windows… He had a lab with various versions of windows in there from xp to 10. I asked him why he needed me. He said that he had tried everything and he needed an extra pair of eyes and ears and he felt I was the best choice…

So we began to mess around with the various computers. We tried

1. The rampatch… It worked great with windows 7, 8, 10… it didn’t work 100 percent but when it worked it worked…
2. We then tried patchpae… It was a lot more involved and had the same results…

Since we were playing with hardware… I asked if he had windows server software around… We booted them all everything above 2003 to the present and there was no need… the server software recognized all of the ram… no patching needed…

You could enable PAE in 2003… thats the physical address extension that lets it break the 3gb barrier.. by going to the following link and going through the steps it outlines…

WINDOWS 2003 PAE EXTENSION ENABLING

Then we decided to go back to the windows 7, 8, 10… we installed different video cards and things started to go haywire… We quickly learned why microsoft limited the ram.

The issue was that the video drivers were not always written well enough to perform in the new environment and rather than dealing with that headache… they limited the memory and then seeing a sales opportunity… they marketed a 64 bit version of windows… in the hopes that the hardware vendors would make a driver more compatible with their 64 bit windows and if it didn’t work… it would be seen as the hardware vendors fault… very nice way of deferring blame.

Now a couple things to note… the patches… rewrite the kernel… if you don’t know how to remove them then your best bet is to reinstall windows. So don’t do this on a production system or a system that has sensitive data…

Ohhh I almost forgot about xp… we tried xp and then tried a game… it crashed with a bsod…

Now… a couple notes… on extending the memory for 32 bit windows…
1. your mileage will vary even with generic systems… no bells no whistles…
2. Drivers in particular graphics drivers have issues in this scenario
3. Don’t enable it if at best you don’t know how to fix your settings from the commandline and at worst don’t have the windows cd to reinstall…
4. This is not supported by windows… so you are on your own…
5. Your interests are far better served getting a 64 bit windows operating system…
6. If you see a 32 bit version of windows that is not a server.. that is using ram above 3gb… inform the customer that they are doing this at their own risk… Microsoft does not support it and neither can you… if they have a 64 bit os… cool… if not… Walk away.. walk away fast…

Now if you really must use a larger portion of memory with a 32 bit os then your best bet is a virtualization option like virtualbox or vmware. They tend to work very well in these situations and if they crash… well its the sandbox that crashed and not your entire system…

One last note… suping up your system like this is equivalent to overclocking… or cryptocurrency mining… Its cool to do but it has no business on a commercial or critical system. Your taking the security of your data into your own hands…

If you do this… take all your important data and software off the system and then go right ahead… if not then its your own fault not if but when it crashes…

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