Windows 2003 32-Bit – Enable large memory support (PAE)

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Windows 2003 Server 32-Bit [Datacenter Edition and Enterprise Edition] can support in excess of 4Gb memory but it is not enabled by default. To enable it, do the following:

  1. Open My Computer with Windows Explorer
  2. Ensure that you can see System and Hidden files:
    1. Click on Tools -> Folder Options
    2. Select the View tab
    3. Select the following
      1. Show hidden files and folders
      2. Uncheck Hide extensions for known file types
      3. Uncheck Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)
  1. Click OK
  2. Navigate to C:\
  3. Right-click on boot.ini and click on Properties
  4. Uncheck the Read-Only flag and click OK
  5. Open boot.ini in Notepad
  6. Change your boot.ini entries from something like this:
  7. [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows Server 2003, Enterprise" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptOut

    to this (note the /PAE at the end):

    [boot loader]
    timeout=30
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows Server 2003, Enterprise" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptOut /PAE
  8. Reboot the system.

 

 

You should now see any memory beyond 4Gb. The following maximum’s apply where PAE is enabled:

Version Limit on x86 Limit on X64
Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition 64GB 1TB
Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition 64GB 1TB
Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition 4GB 32GB

 

More info on the /PAE switch can be found here:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa366796%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

 

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