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I'm looking into getting a high-end PC which will have more than 16 GB of RAM. However, I know that Windows 7 64-bit Home Premium has a 16 GB limit on addressable memory.

If I had a machine with 32GB of RAM, would that be half wasted? Or is there some way to utilize it? Would I be better off just moving up to Windows 7 Professional, which has a 192 GB limit?

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Even if you were able to circumvent the 16 GB limit for Windows 7 Home Premium, you would be breaking the EULA. My advice would be to go with Windows 7 Professional, since the Enterprise and Ultimate also have a 192 GB limit on RAM. The only main features you would be missing would be BitLocker and extended language support. –  iglvzx Jul 1 '12 at 2:50
    
@iglvzx: Depends on what "some way to utilize it" means. For example, one could imagine using it for a virtual machine, not the Windows Home instance, and that wouldn't be any violation. –  Ben Voigt Jul 1 '12 at 2:57
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@iglvzx Why is that a comment not an answer? –  trideceth12 Jul 1 '12 at 2:59
    
@ben It won't work unless something else is the host that can handle it, like linux –  Canadian Luke Jul 1 '12 at 3:04
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@MasterWaldo it sounds like for your application, you'll be much better off just adding Windows 7 Professional. Do they let you select no OS at all? If so, you might consider buying your own OEM copy of Windows 7 Pro (it's only $136 on Amazon) if it costs more than that much to upgrade to Pro from the site you're using. Or, consider building your own PC! –  nhinkle Jul 1 '12 at 5:25

1 Answer 1

up vote 10 down vote accepted

The Windows 7 Home Premium EULA does not specifically place a restriction on physical memory. However, it does mention that unauthorized changes invalidate your license:

§ 5.C. If, after a validation check, the software is found to be counterfeit, improperly licensed, a non-genuine Windows product, or include unauthorized changes, the functionality and experience of using the software will be affected... 1

If you research the matter, you will find that groups have already made efforts to circumvent the memory restrictions in Windows 7. In summary, these methods require unsupported, unauthorized modification of systems files -- some specifically related to licensing -- in one way or another.

My advice would be to go with Windows 7 Professional, since the Enterprise and Ultimate editions also have a 192 GB limit on RAM. 2 The only main features you would be missing would be BitLocker and extended language support. 3


References:

  1. Windows 7 Home Premium EULA
    Note: If the link expires, visit Microsoft | License Terms to download the EULA.

  2. Physical Memory Limits: Windows 7

  3. Compare Windows 7: Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate

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