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Why does Windows only show about 3.5 GB of my more than 4 GB of RAM?

I have 4 GB of RAM which I understand is the maximum for Windows 7 32 bit. My system recognizes the 4 GB and is able to use 2.9 GB. Of course, I'm interested in using all 4 GB. I have tried booting with PAE on, but I still get only 2.9 GB usable. How is this? Is the rest of the RAM actually mapped, and the system just doesn't realize this, or do I have to do something else to get maximum performance for my 4 GB of RAM?

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marked as duplicate by ChrisF, heavyd, random Aug 9 '10 at 13:37

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

I know that question refers to XP not Windows 7, but the key thing is that you're running a 32 bit OS. –  ChrisF Aug 9 '10 at 12:12
Not really though, because "not possible" is not really the answer I'm looking for. I Know it requires a hacky solution, but that's why I am asking. The adresses are being used right now, but I want to force the adresses to my RAM so I can use them fully. So what I am actually looking for is what I am asking for; WHY - when I am using the PAE - Physical address extension, is it not working? –  Jakob Aug 9 '10 at 15:00

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