Windows XP fails to see all of my RAM memory

Dell Dimension 3000 desktop
January 8, 2011 at 07:32:11
Specs: Windows XP, 2.4Ghz Pentium 4 Dell Dim3000/512Mbx2 (total=1024Mb RAM)
I have a Dell (yuck!) Dimension 3000 Pentium 4 with Windows XP Pro SP3 installed.

When I got the computer, there was one 512mb RAM stick installed and I decided to install another 512mb stick as well because it was incredibly slow. With either or both sticks installed, the results are always the same: BIOS reads correct RAM capacity, Windows shows the correct capacity when clicking on System Information in the Help and support menu. However, the Task Manager always reads 256MB RAM and performs at that level. In addition, right-clicking on My Computer and checking the Properties yields the same 256MB RAM reading.

I have already checked MSCONFIG to see if the BOOT.INI advanced options MAXMEM was limiting it from working, and that is definitely not the case.

Any suggestions? I AM ALL EARS.........

See More: Windows XP fails to see all of my RAM memory

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January 8, 2011 at 08:08:11
While 512MB isn't a lot of RAM these days, your system should not run "incredibly slow" with it, so my guess is you have something else going on. Could be the P4 is running hot & throttling, system is infected, tons of apps loading at startup, tons of garbage files slowing performance, HDD isn't defregged regularly, etc. And the Dimension 3000 is an outdated machine with horrible onboard graphics & only PCI slots for upgrades, not to mention the P4 is not a good CPU. If you have the 533MHz FSB version, you should be running DDR333, if you have the 800MHz FSB version, you have no choice but DDR400.

The BIOS sees the RAM & Windows info sees the RAM, so I doubt there's a problem. When you added the RAM, did you check for dust buildup on the fans & heatsinks? Hopefully you cleaned them out if you did. Other than that, it's time to clean house. Here's a few things that will help you out:

How to use MSCONFIG in Windows XP

CCleaner-Slim (last on list)

Defraggler-Slim (last on list)

Which antivirus program are you running? If it's a resource hog such as Norton or Mcafee, dump it & replace with this:

Microsoft Security Essentials

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January 8, 2011 at 08:26:51
Check in the BIOS configuration for something like "Install mode". Some Dell's have such an option and it will limit RAM to 256 MB. I have no idea why.

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January 8, 2011 at 09:56:36
To make sure I am not being misunderstood, I am going to clarify a couple of things right now. First, there are 2 RAM sticks with 512Mb each (1024Mb total) and it is running slower than a fat lady going uphill. Also, when I CTRL+ALT+DEL and look at the performance figures in the Task Manager, it shows my total physical memory to be 260,080kb, and is obviously operating in a manner that tries to keep the memory usage under 180Mb. Checking out the properties under MY COMPUTER, it shows that I have 256Mb of RAM. The BIOS shows 1024Mb, and any Windows function that tests the RAM before delivering a verdict shows 1024Mb. It is like it is there, but Windows just refuses to use it! I'll take suggestions from anyone who's offering....

Also, I use Avast! for my virus protection because I learned my lesson about Norton and McAfee a long time ago. I was only running one 256Mb stick in my other computer (not the problematic one) and I was on the verge of crashing all of the time because of the time it took to load things when McAfee was running.

Anyhow, I just wanted to clear up the bit about the ram and what is happening with the computer.


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Related Solutions

January 8, 2011 at 11:01:01
It's probably a good idea to check the amount of RAM that your computer can handle. Your BIOS reads it correctly, however your computer refuses to use the additional RAM because the amount may be limited as LMiller7 stated in a previous post.

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January 8, 2011 at 14:13:40
I guess running a scan in isn't too far out of the question LOL

Some HELP in posting on plus free progs and instructions Cheers

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January 9, 2011 at 18:09:43
Shutdown, unplug the power cord, use the Clear CMOS jumper to reset the BIOS. Once you've done that, restart, then immediately enter the BIOS & correct all the settings that have reset. Since you have a Dell, there won't be too many options you'll need to correct. Then check the memory count in Windows.

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