Windows – do I have less memory with 32 bit OS


Possible Duplicate:
Will Windows 7 32 bit edition support 8 GB RAM?

I have a brand new machine at work, i7 quad core with 8GB of ram. Mainly, I use it to develop JAVA applications using Eclipse.

I have to choose an operating system. Unfortunately, it has to be a flavor of Windows, and it has to be 32 bit in order to connect to my company's network.

I've been told that if I install Windows 7 32bit, that I will loose the use of some of the RAM and that instead of 8GB, I will effectively have about 4GB.

2 Questions:
Is this true – will Windows 7, 32 bit OS give me less RAM to use?

Is there any flavor of 32 bit Windows that will let me have the use of 8GB of RAM.

If I had a choice I would probably take 8GB running Windows XP over 4GB running Windows 7.

Best Answer

  • There's a great table here on Wikipedia showing the maximum addressable physical memory for various versions of Windows.

    First of all, a 32-bit OS using PAE can use more than 4GB of RAM. Second, yes, it appears true that no version of 32-bit Windows 7 has this feature enabled.

    The good news is that there are 32-bit versions of MS Windows which support more than 4GB of RAM. The bad news is that they don't tend to be aimed at consumers, so I hope your company will buy them for you! They are:

    • Windows 2000 Advanced Server (8 GB) or Datacenter (32 GB)
    • Windows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition (16 GB), R2 Enterprise Edition (64 GB), R2 Datacenter (128 GB), or Datacenter Edition (16 GB)
    • Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, Datacenter (64 GB)
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