Description of Windows® 7 32 Bit Memory
What are the memory limits for Windows 7 32 bit?
One of the most basic resources in a PC is physical memory. Windows' memory manager is responsible for populating memory with the code and data of active processes, Operating System, and the device drivers. The amount of memory can, as a result, affect performance because when data or the Operating System needs are not present, the memory manager must bring it in from disk. In addition to affecting performance, the amount of physical memory impacts other resource limits also. Physical memory also contributes to the virtual memory limit of the PC, which is the sum of roughly the size of physical memory plus the maximum configured size of any paging files. Windows support for physical memory is dictated by hardware limitations, licensing, operating system data structures, driver compatibility etc.
More details on the memory limits for 32 bit Windows 7 Operating System are mentioned below:
- Limits on physical memory for 32 bit Windows 7
- Virtual address space
- Features on which the memory limits depend
Limits on physical memory for 32 bit Windows 7
Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows 7 Enterprise, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Home Premium, and Windows 7 Home Basic Operating Systems have a maximum physical memory limit of up to 4 GB for its 32 bit versions. But the Windows 7 Starter Operating System has just a 2GB memory. The total addressable space available in a 32 bit Operating System is 4GB. Because of this, the Operating System runs out of addresses and cannot communicate or locate any more bytes of memory. The problem is that memory is not the only thing which requires an address. If you install a total of 4GB worth of RAM, the PC would use or display less than 4GB of total memory because of address space allocation for other critical functions like System BIOS, Motherboards resources, Memory mapped I/O, Configuration for AGP/PCI-Ex/PCI, and other memory allocations for PCI devices.
Virtual address space
The virtual address space for a process is the set of virtual memory addresses that it can utilize. The address space for each process is personal and cannot be accessed by other processes if it is not shared. It does not represent the actual physical location of an object in memory; instead, the PC maintains a page table for each process, which is an internal data structure used to translate virtual addresses into their corresponding physical addresses. Every time a thread refers an address, the system translates the virtual address to a physical address. The virtual address space for 32-bit Windows is 4 GB in size and divided into two partitions where one is to be used by the process and the other is reserved for use by the system.
Limits on physical memory for 32-bit Operating System depend on the Physical Address Extension (PAE), which allows 32-bit Windows systems to use more than 4GB of physical memory. While 4GB is the licensed limit for 32-bit systems, the effective limit is actually lower and dependent on the system's chipset and connected devices. This is because the physical address map includes not only RAM, but device memory as well. If a PC has 4GB RAM and devices like video, audio, and network adapters, which implement Windows into their device memory that totals to 400MB, 400MB of the 4GB RAM would reside above the 4GB address boundary. The result is that if you have a system with 3GB or more of memory and you are running a 32-bit Windows, you would not be getting the benefit of the whole RAM.
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