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As far as I am aware, one can view the RAM Size in System Properties:

From the above screenshot it seems that My RAM is 3.5 GB, but as far as I can tell I actually inserted 2 two GB RAM into my motherboard.

Is it that my memory is faulty, or that the information displayed in System Properties is faulty?

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-1 asked and answered all over the place already. –  TheSmurf Nov 24 '09 at 22:53
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@DannySmurf, the very fact that people are still viewing this question ( presumably they are coming from Google) proves that there is a huge value in it. –  Graviton Nov 3 '10 at 16:06
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9 Answers

up vote 27 down vote accepted

It's because your OS is 32-bit. Check out Dude, Where's My 4 Gigabytes of RAM?

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Not neccesasrily. I only have 3 GiB of my 4, due to a chipset limitation. But yes, it's probably the 32-bittiness. –  Јοеу Aug 21 '09 at 10:57
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Erm, the chipset is rather irrelevant. 32-bit Windows (excepting Server editions and PAE hacks) will not see 4GB of RAM. –  ThatGraemeGuy Sep 17 '09 at 21:00
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http://www.cpuid.com/cpuz.php

This will tell you everything about the memory installed in your machine along with the cpu. It will show which slots contain what size sticks and what speed they are running at.

The link JP posted from coding horror explains exactly why you only see 3.5gb out of the 4 you have installed is because of a 32bit OS.

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CPUID is a great tool! –  kamleshrao Aug 21 '09 at 9:13
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This is a fantastic tool. I use it whenever I need to know what hardware a system has. –  Nighthawk Sep 17 '09 at 20:05
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Because you are running 32Bit Windows 3.5GB is the maximum amount of RAM you can support.

A 64bit Operating system is required to use any more RAM. So currently you are wasting 512MB of RAM.

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The maximum is 4GB minus (amount of virtual address space consumed by various other devices), which isn't necessarily 3.5GB. The maximum I've seen so far is 3.75GB on a virtual server. –  ThatGraemeGuy Sep 17 '09 at 21:03
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4GB Ram is the maximum allowed in 32bit operating systems.

I suspect that because your Video Card uses 1/2GB, that leaves 3.5 GB left.

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Check memory with memtest86

Or use Everest or other hardware recognition software

UPDATE:

Your question is wrong. Better is "Why my XP see only 3.5GB RAM?"

Answer from JP is right

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Or try the Crucial system scanner.

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the reason is not the operating system (which supports 4 GB), it is the 32-bit hardware architecture.

and while we're recommending software, here's another goodie:

SIW - System Information for Windows

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Another way to check the memory size is:

  1. Click the Start Menu and choose Run.
  2. Type msinfo32.exe and press return.
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Download CPU-Z... Will detect whatever is in your slot... ;)

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