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I have a core duo system with DDR3 RAM 2 GB. My motherboard says it can handle 8 GB of RAM. My question is if I add 8 gb RAM to system will windows7 32 bit support it?

2 Answers 2

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No, it won't - 32bit OS can only use 4Gb RAM. And some of this will be reserved for the OS, giving you about 3GB RAM for your programs.

You need a 64bit OS to use more than 4GB RAM (assuming the software is also 64bit).

Furthermore, as per Michael Kjörling excellent comments, "Even if you use only 32-bit applications on a 64-bit OS, each application can get its own 4 GiB virtual address space. So even such an environment can benefit from >4 GiB RAM."

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    Even if you use only 32-bit applications on a 64-bit OS, each application can get its own 4 GiB virtual address space. So even such an environment can benefit from >4 GiB RAM.
    – user
    Dec 19, 2012 at 10:44
  • @MichaelKjörling - I agree, but, let's not confuse the OP :) Although thank you for the comment, I will include in my answer.
    – Dave
    Dec 19, 2012 at 10:45
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    A 32-bit application will only use more than 2 GB of user mode virtual address space if it is marked large address space aware. However the OP was asking about physical memory. Dec 19, 2012 at 11:04
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    @Offler - Except were not talking about Windows Server software we are talking about Windows 7 x86 and it only supports 4GB.
    – Ramhound
    Dec 19, 2012 at 12:23
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    @Offler - The user is not using a 10k+ operating system like Windows Server 2008 Datacenter Edition. Furthermore the comments I have made and others have made have been directed to 32-bit Windows 7 not Windows Server which ( by the way ) is no longer offered as a 32-bit operating system.
    – Ramhound
    Dec 19, 2012 at 12:49
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No it won't, you'd need to go to 64bit. officially 32bit only supports 4Gb but you'll only ever see about 3.2Gb.

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    Is this not what I wrote?
    – Dave
    Dec 19, 2012 at 10:43
  • @Offler - Except they are right. Windows 7 x86 only supports 4GB.
    – Ramhound
    Dec 19, 2012 at 12:22
  • @RamHound they are completly wrong. look in the other comment.
    – Offler
    Dec 19, 2012 at 12:29
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    @Offler - So your counter argument is PAE, you have to be kidding me, that causes all sorts of problems on your everyday desktop computer. As for hacking the kernel....You have to be kidding me.
    – Ramhound
    Dec 19, 2012 at 12:37
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    @Offler - Again...This answer was in reference to Windows 7 not Windows Server 2008 or Linux. The only way for a 32-bit Windows 7/Windows Vista/Windows 8 system to use more then 4GB ( even with PAE enabled ) is to hack the kernel.
    – Ramhound
    Dec 19, 2012 at 13:17

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