Login    Forum    Search    FAQ

Board index » Upgrading and Repairing Forum » Scott's Tips




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Vista SP1 and later "lies" about memory!, film at 11...
 Post Posted: Sun Nov 23, 2008 6:07 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:44 am
Posts: 5787
Up until Service Pack 1 for Vista was released, Windows would report the amount of *usable* physical memory in the System Properties dialog box. This would be the amount of memory that Windows could actually see and use on the system, and until people started installing 4GB or more, this would almost always equal the amount of memory that was physically installed. However, when 4GB or more is installed the PC motherboard chipset must either disable or remap most of the RAM that falls in the 4th gigabyte of address space, since other system hardware is already using that space. With most of the RAM in the 4th gigabyte disabled, Windows cannot see it and would therefore report only about 3GB to 3.5GB total memory. Microsoft began to receive numerous questions about this, and in response they wrote several articles trying to explain that this behavior was normal:


I also wrote a detailed post about this, including a diagram showing where the disabled or remapped memory was located in the address space:


Most likely as a fallout from all of the questions Microsoft must have received on the subject, Windows Vista was recently changed to effectively hide or mask this issue. More specifically Microsoft changed the System Properties dialog box in Vista SP1 and later to report the amount of *installed* physical memory instead of the amount of *usable* physical memory, as was reported in pre-SP1 Vista as well as all versions of XP:


Note that this is only a change in what is reported, and does not in any way change how much memory Windows can actually see and/or use, which remains the same as before. For those who wish to see a more honest, accurate and detailed reporting of memory, I recommend using the following Windows diagnostic tools instead:

  • The Performance tab in the Task Manager (TaskMgr.exe)
  • The WinVer command (WinVer.exe)
  • The DirectX Diagnostic Tool (DXDiag.exe)
  • The System Information Tool (MSinfo32.exe)

For more information on what is reported by some of these tools (and why it can vary from tool to tool), see the following article:


Bottom line: When running 32-bit versions of Windows, if you have 4GB or more RAM installed, Windows will only be able to see and use from 3GB to 3.5GB total, with the precise amount depending on the specific hardware involved. This behavior is entirely normal and expected. If however, your motherboard supports remapping the memory (and you have the remap enabled in the BIOS Setup), and you install a 64-bit version of Windows, then the otherwise missing memory will be both visible and usable to Windows.

In addition to the reporting issue, there have been other problems with Windows and large amounts of RAM, as seen in the following articles:


Most of these are fixed by various Updates, Hotfixes, or Service Packs, while some have work-arounds. Scott.


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Vista SP1 "lies" about memory!, film at 11...
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 3:58 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:33 pm
Posts: 52
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Hi Scott,
Yes, I know....did you tell Carey yet ? <g>
Rod.


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Vista SP1 "lies" about memory!, film at 11...
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 24, 2008 7:37 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:44 am
Posts: 5787
Neither of us knew during the show, but we know now. <g> Scott.


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Vista SP1 "lies" about memory!, film at 11...
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 7:08 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue May 08, 2007 8:54 pm
Posts: 1360
Wow, another reason for me to hate Vista. I think this is a very deceptive move by Microsoft. My reasoning is the average consumer will think they have 4GB of usuable system memory...The person selling them the pc may or may not tell them the truth. Even though it may not matter much to the consumer, they should still know this. On the other hand I guess this can increase sales for big retailers like Best Buy!(Sarcasm).


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Vista SP1 "lies" about memory!, film at 11...
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 8:32 am 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:59 am
Posts: 429
I don't know if I would call it deceptive. If a system has 4 GB of ram, it's got 4 GB. It doesn't say that it's 4 GB or usable memory, just that it has 4 GB. I can't blame them for changing that, I'm sure they got a ton of phone calls over that.


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Vista SP1 "lies" about memory!, film at 11...
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 3:47 pm 
Offline

Joined: Tue May 08, 2007 8:54 pm
Posts: 1360
That makes sense Mike. I'm still gonna add to my list of reasons for me not to like Vista.


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 Post subject: Re: Vista SP1 "lies" about memory!, film at 11...
 Post Posted: Wed Nov 26, 2008 3:51 pm 
Offline
Site Admin

Joined: Sun Feb 04, 2007 11:59 am
Posts: 429
I don't have a list of reasons to not like vista, it would be too long.


Top 
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 7 posts ] 

Board index » Upgrading and Repairing Forum » Scott's Tips


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

 
 

 
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron