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Can't access 2.5G of RAM


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#1 chus

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 10:46 AM

Purchased a custom-built computer with 4G of RAM. On start-up, the System Info page shows about 2.7 remaining. [It does show the full 4G at start-up.] But anywhere from 2.3 to 2.5 it will stop opening up programs, site pages, etc. -- as if it's out of memory, and I even occasionally get that error msg while opening an email. [Example: it will flash the opening "page" of the program you're attempting to open and then won't open it.] I, in effect, have less accessible memory with this brand new computer than I did with a six-year-old one that just crashed. This has been going on for some time, and the people who built it apparently have no idea what to do. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

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#2 dc3

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 11:36 AM

Hi Chus, and welcome to BleepingComputer.

Is this a 32-bit or 64-bit operating system? A 32-bit Windows operating system will recognize up to 4GB of RAM, but will not show the total amount because of the draw from critical functions such as the system BIOS, motherboard resources, memory mapped I/O, AGP, PCI, PCI-E, and other memory allocations for PCI devices.

Different onboard devices and different add-on cards (devices) will result in different total memory size. This means that the more PCI cards installed will require more memory resources, resulting of less memory free for other uses.

This will explain some of the unseen RAM, but not the amount that you seem to be missing. Two things that you can do, download CPUZ and see what is showing up for you RAM, if you look at SPD it will show each module, make sure that all modules are showing. Second, download and Memtest86 and run it, the longer that you run the Memtest86 the more accurate the results will be, I would suggest at least one hour.

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#3 chus

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 09:57 AM

Many thanks for your response and help, dc3. In response to your Qs, the processor is an "AMD Athlon 64 X2 dual core processor 4600+ ". Slots 1 and 2 each show 2048Mb of DDR2 memory with PC2-6400 (400 MHz) Max. Bandwidth (if that's helpful). The successful completion of the memtest: "Pass complete, no errors."

My initial errant attempts to run the memtest were repeatedly met with a error msg. re: the 16-bit MS-DOS subsystem. When I attempt to run an old program, this is frequently an early indicator when the memory appears to get “tight.”

Also, the computer builder suggested and installed a program providing virtually continuous defragmentation, which I disabled. (Is it still true that defragging is not something you want to do too frequently?) I am doing it manually occasionally. It is my understanding that he also expanded the page file space yet again (to 9.09GB) Altho it initially bogged down even sooner than normal -- when I first wrote yesterday -- it did seem to help after a manual defragmentation, and I noticed that the "available memory" late yesterday had gotten all the way down to 2.0 GB, whereas before it had never been below 2.3. (I was still unable to open my ACT! 2000 program at this level.) Do you think these two moves he made are significant? Other thoughts/ideas?

Thanks again.

#4 dpunisher

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Posted 03 December 2008 - 10:18 AM

Is this a 32-bit or 64-bit operating system?


It would help if someone would tell us. What does task manager show as far as mem usage/available when slowdowns occur?

Edited by dpunisher, 03 December 2008 - 10:22 AM.

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#5 chus

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 11:06 PM

I've had to re-boot, and I'll be out of my office for several days. I'll let you know ASAP, but it takes a few days of normal use to get to that point. Thanks for your interest.

#6 chus

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Posted 08 December 2008 - 05:20 PM

I trust this is what you're looking for: under the Performance Tab the Total Physical Memory shows 3.40; System Cache - 1.33; and Available 2.67.

Again encountered the problems, even after defragmenting: web site pages just stop opening, again encountered the error msg. re: the 16-bit subsytem, and the ACT! program would again not open.

#7 chus

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 07:31 AM

Does anyone else have any more ideas?

#8 hamluis

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Posted 18 December 2008 - 06:21 PM

FWIW:

a. Web page problems...are probably an indication that you need to dump your cache, at best, particularly if that is the only time those types of errors happen. If it's a given site or type of site, that could indicate that your browser settings or browser may need an overhaul.

b. ACT 2000 may indicate a problem with the program, not a system issue. It's been some time ago and programs and, if it hasn't been updated...therein might lie a clue.

c. Memtest errors need attention. You need to try single sticks and then various combinations until you have an idea of what works and what might be the problem.

Louis




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