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Windows XP/Ram problem with XP windows


I have got a Dell optiplex 9010 core i7 with 20GB Ram , I want to install windows xp for better performance , I installed once but it couldn't recognize 20GB Ram , it shows 3GB or 4GB, Can you PLEASE HELP ME!!

Greetings Farzad,
I’m sorry I took a bit to get back to you, but I would be happy to try help.

For most modern versions of Windows, including WindowsXP, there are two versions available: 32-bit and 64-bit. The main difference can be thought of as ‘lanes on a road’, or ‘branches on a tree’, in how the Operating System can ‘talk’ to the Main Processor (CPU) and Memory (RAM) of the system. The 32-bit version can have ’32 lanes on the road, or 32 branches that connect to the tree’, where the 64-bit versions can have ’64 lanes on the road, or 64 branches that connect to the tree’. The effect that this has at the computing level, is that the 64-bit versions can access much more data at one time, processing more instructions (things the CPU knows how to do) and can access much more Memory (RAM) that you may have installed.

One of the benefits of having a 64-bit based system (CPU, Operating System, RAM, etc) is that you can utilize much more RAM, if you have it installed. A limitation of the 32-bit version of Windows, for instance, is that it can only ‘see’ (work with, access) up to 4GB of RAM, no matter how much you have installed (Windows will also ‘reserve’ about a gigabyte of RAM for it’s own special usage, so it may display 3GB or 3.25GB of RAM available). If you would like to take advantage of the extra RAM you have installed, you would have to install the 64-bit version of an Operating System – in your case, you would have to run/install the 64-bit version of WindowsXP.

Just to make sure and see what version of Windows you have installed, here is an instruction page with steps, from Microsoft, on how to see whether you have the 32-bit or 64-bit version installed:
(this link above is from when I access Microsoft from where I live in Canada, but the Website should detect where you are from and display it to you in your own language)

Unless there is something wrong hardware-wise (a problem with the motherboard or RAM modules themselves), this should be the only limitation on why Windows is not ‘seeing’ all of the RAM you have installed. If you can install the 64-bit version of WindowsXP, it should then recognize all of your [in your case] 20GB of RAM.

I hope that everything works out fine for you, Farzad!

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Troy M. MCSE, CNA, MCP, CST, IC3, Aplus


Hi there! Even though I am relatively new around here, I have been having great fun with PCs for over two decades now, becoming familiar with Windows through versions 3.x/9x/Me/2000/XP/2003/7/8/10. I enjoy helping others with what I feel is an exciting industry - computers are always changing, improving and offering new opportunities for learning. I look forward to assisting you with questions concerning Windows, how it interacts with your PC Hardware, configuration/settings or just general tips and ideas. Besides troubleshooting questions, feel free to ask the basics, as well. I will always start there, and I firmly believe that there is no such thing as a dumb question - we are all ‘Beginners’ at one time or another!


I am an A+ Certified, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer with Computer Service Technician and LAN Administration diplomas and over 15 years direct experience with PCs including assembly, troubleshooting/support and upgrading. I have worked for retail outlets, schools and businesses, and have been an Instructor in the past as well – helping others, just like you, understand and enjoy computers!

MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer), CNA (Certified Novell Administrator), MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional), CST (Computer Service Technician (Formerly Computer Engineering Technician)(Hardware/OS servicing Diploma), IC3 (Internet and Core Computing Certification)(Hardware/OperatingSystem/Internet Fundamentals Certification), A+ (Computing Technology Industry Association Hardware/Operating System Certification)

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