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4 Gig ram feasible on 32 bit system?

I bought a new computer the other day. It came with 2 1-gig sticks. One of the memory sticks went bad, which pissed me off, but oh wells. Any ways I run vista ultimate 32-bit. And my motherboard has 4 ram slots. Specs say it is expandable to 8 gigs of ram. So when I went to replace my blown 1-gig stick I got 2 more in addition. When I put all the sticks in, totaling 4 gigs. I noticed it only pulled up 3. Also within BIOS it seems to pick up only 3 gigs. Is it possible that one of my RAM slots have gone bad?
It's possible that your bios will only support 3 gigs, but I think it doesn't matter what bit os you have installed to how much bios detects.
If the BIOS only reads 3 GB then one of the RAM modules isn't working and it's not related to the OS. Check your motherboard manual to see if your configuration is supported (notice double sided//speed factors too!). Maybe you didn't insert a module correctly? Maybe you need a BIOS flash?
Although as have been stated above, it does sound like a bad DIMM, regarding your original question:

Yes is possible for a 32-bit OS to support 4gigs of RAM, HOWEVER, Windows 32-bit OSes will not. They will take advantage of about 3gigs but due to address space limitations it's not going to happen. You CAN however, use patches/hacks for Linux, I believe distros such as Ubuntu make it quite easy. However, if you have a 64-bit CPU and run Linux you should install 64-bit over 32-bit. With Windows Vista there are understandably issues finding 32-bit drivers much less 64-bit drivers, which is unfortunate. You may want to just dual boot Vista and Linux or 32-bit Vista and 64-bit Vista (the latter I'm not sure if that's legal or not; read over the license terms).

Oh and there is some argument here whether or not you can force Windows to see the physical 4gb.

Good luck, you might want to run memtest86+ while you are at it.
Specs on the motherboard, or what? ...I have known mother boards to not play well with different sizes of RAM. (Like this one for example.) ...Another thing you can try is changing the order of the RAM. ...Sometimes that will cut you a break.
Might I recommend using Gentoos AMD64 if you plan on switching to a 64 bit system, it's great, well worth the effort of learning how to use if you've never used linux before. You might not want to ever go back to Windows.
32-bit systems can address 4 GB of memory, but 1 GB will always be reserved.

No more than 3 GB can be used on Xp or Vista...
It could also be a dead slot that made the original stick look faulty.
For the part about Windows handling ~4GB memory - you may want to read these articles from Microsoft Knowledge base - and

Technically, it is possible.
It's simple, Windows won't read more than 3GB on a 32 bit system. If you want the full 4GB with dual channel you'll have to go 64 bit.
I would wait a bit before switching, at least until a new line of intel processors.
i just have 3.5 gb of my 4 .. this is sad
Good discussion. Learned something here from you guys. Very Happy
the mac pro can run up to 16GB of ram Shocked
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