October 10, 2009
A server with more than 4 GB of memory is usually a beautiful thing. Unless that extra hardware is going to waste that is. *cry*
Allow me to explain.
A 32-bit system can't use more than 4 GB of memory without the help from something called Physical Address Extension (PAE).
PAE allows for extra breathing room through a special mapping area. Up to 64 GB in fact. All you need need is a CPU purchased in the last 8 years along with Microsoft Windows Server 2000 and above.
Of course, if you are already running the 64-bit Windows Server 2008 R2 then please go enjoy your 2 TB of memory, 256 processors and lack of female companionship elsewhere please.
For the rest of us, let's get our memory back!
These instructions are for Windows Server 2003 although they can easily apply to other versions.
Right click on "My Computer" and choose properties.
Click on the "Advanced" tab.
Click on "Settings" within the "Startup and Recovery" section.
Add the option "/pae" to the end of the line for your particular OS under "[operating systems]".
Save the boot.ini file.
After the reboot, right click on "My Computer" and choose properties again. You should see more memory and the term "Physical Address Extension" underneath your CPU and RAM metrics.