Install Vista SP1 and get 674 MB of memory, free!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/05/15 10:01 -04:00, original URI:

An experiment -- I am wondering the spam filters will pick up comments with the above title as spam, especially since registered users can't change the title!

Regular readers may recall when I mentioned in Pretty damn close to top of the line and referenced Raymond's discussion of that whole limitation around not being able to see 4gb on these laptops with 32-bit chipsets. If not, then here is a screenshot of it (from my Dell Precision Mobile Workstation):

See that 3326 MB there?

Interestingly, I was one of a small number if people who ended up with a free gigabyte of RAM because when I complained to Dell about how I would not have bought 4 GB if I knew that I wouldn't be able to see  so much of it, the person in customer support transferred me to customer satisfaction to arrange to return the memory, and the person in customer satisfaction gave me the credit but had me keep the memory. I didn't ask for this special benefit specifically, and I'm told they aren't doing this anymore, though I was apparently not the only one who received this benefit at the time....

Anyway, after installing SP1, things looked a little different on my MacBook Pro:

and in Explorer as well:

Of course, the real truth is not to be denied by components less subject to the influence of marketing like Task Manager:

Check out that Physical Memory number. Heh.

anyway, looking at the 64-bit partition, pre SP1 install:

Okay, note that it shows slightly less than 4 GB here.

Keep in mind that this is an "honest" pre-SP1 answer.

And here is the Task Manager view:

Okay, now to install SP1.

I actually found it easier to reformat and reinstall the 64-bit partition rather then try to find a way to get 10 GB free on that C drive (after two failed installs each of which added several gigabytes and failed to successfully clean the drive up despite taking 45 minutes to do its restore, I finally gave up -- there is likely a moral to this story though I assume it is something to do with the inadvisability of 40 GB partitions for Vista 64-bit), so after the Vista reinstall and SP1 install, we'll be able to see what the dialogs say.

Hang on, this will take a minute. Or two.

Ah, cool -- the parity issue is resolved. :-)

This will probably cut down on the support calls, at least....

I could be upset that Vista is fibbing here, but that would be kind of silly. Since the original problem amounted to Vista lying about how much memory was on the machine, a fib to make up for as lie that almost has everything back to where it should be is okay, in my book! :-)


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# Michael S. Kaplan on 16 May 2008 2:23 AM:

For those who want a more official way to get the true available memory size once you have SP1 installed, look for your hyberfil.sys file in the root of your system drive (it may be hidden, so you can run dir with the /ah flag to find it).

If it is not there, then run:


from an elevated command prompt. The file will then be the same size as the available memory on your machine.

# Yuhong Bao on 17 May 2008 8:33 PM:

I talked to Larry Osterman about releasing an update to allow client versions of Windows to address additional memory via PAE, and he didn't do so because of the cost of testing, or at least that is what he said.

# Yuhong Bao on 15 Aug 2009 10:29 PM:

Yep, Geoff Chappell wrote an article about this and more:

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