The Computer Corner For Businesses

Why Can’t Windows See ALL My Ram?

Why isn’t Windows seeing your entire RAM?

Upgrade the RAM on a desktop computer should be pretty much a straightforward undertaking. A computer technician can quickly direct you on how to install RAM which you can later do on your own. Nevertheless, there are still some complications that may arise when new RAM is being installed into a computer. Some instances the complications are manifested as windows not being able to recognize and show the entire RAM you have installed.

The architecture of the System

Using a 32-bit architecture for windows limits the cumulative memory available. For Windows based operating systems, Windows XP, Vista, 7 and 8 the maximum Ram supported by 32-bit versions is 4GB. Therefore RAM that exceeds 4GB requires a 64-bit version of Windows. One can easily find out what version of windows is installed by pressing Windows and typing system then selecting system option. For windows 8.0 and 8.1 you will first click settings before selecting System. A 64-bit architecture will provide full advantage of the entire RAM installed in the computer.

Existence of a RAM limit in you version of Windows

Various editions of Windows have limitations on the maximum useable Ram. This may culminate in some of the installed RAM being rendered inactive. For a computer running on Windows 7 Starter, only up to 2GB of RAM can be used while on Windows 7 Home Basic only up to 8GB of RAM can be used even when running a 64-bit architecture. A comprehensive list of all the limitations is available on Microsoft’s MSDN website.

Allocation of memory to other hardware or Internal Graphics

The hardware component in a computer will utilize some of the internal Ram of your system. For instance unlike discreet graphics cards (GPU) that come with their own RAM, integrated graphics also known as onboard graphics derive their video memory from art of your installed RAM. You have to consult your computer specialist for more counsel on this matter.

A motherboard with RAM restrictions

Computer motherboards also have maximum RAM limits. This implies that you may fix TAM sticks into your computer slots but still the motherboard fails to exploit all of the installed RAM. To determine the RAM capabilities of your motherboard you have to access the BIOS settings of the computer. This is accomplished by restarting and disrupting normal startup which for most computers is achieved by pressing Delete or F2.

From the BIOS display, you can make a definitive diagnosis of where the problem is related to the motherboard or to windows. If BIOS shows all the RAM that can’t be seen on windows, then it is a problem with windows. However, if even BIOS doesn’t show all of the installed RAM, then it is the motherboard that can’t support the installed RAM.

Other causes

  1. Incorrectly positioning of RAM sticks- it may be that you did not install the RAM correctly, and that’s why it is invisible to your computer.
  2. Faulty RAM stick- the problem could also be with the RAM itself which means you might have to get a replacement.
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