How to Solve the 32-Bit Problem: Using Hidden RAM for Speed

Using Hidden RAM Above 4GBIf you own a computer with a 32-bit operating system you may already know that if there are more than 4GB of RAM installed, you can only use that first 3GB due to memory addressing limitations imposed by your 32-bit operating system.

Not sure if you have a 32-bit system? Follow Step 1 in How to Create a High-Speed RAM Disk and you will see your System Type listed in your System Properties menu.

For those of you who have upgraded your RAM beyond 4GB, the 32-bit problem has become an even more painful reality when System Properties shows only 3GB of RAM in use even though you’ve upgraded to 6GB, 8GB or more. Why pay to upgrade RAM if you can’t use it?






Solving the 32-Bit Problem

The best way to improve speed on a computer running a 32-bit operating system with over 4GB of RAM is by creating a RAM disk to use the hidden RAM for temporary file storage.

By using a RAM disk instead of your hard drive, you solve two 32-bit problems: accessibility and speed.

How to Access Hidden RAM

Using hidden (and normally inaccessible) RAM above 4GB to perform reads and writes on a virtual RAM disk reduces activity on the physical hard drive, helping extend the life of your drive. Finding a RAM disk program that has the ability to access RAM hidden above 4GB in 32-bit systems is your first hurdle.

Access RAM Trapped Above 3GBFortunately, RamDisk Plus’ patent-pending technology offers enhanced memory access beyond the limitation imposed by a Windows 32-bit operating system. Not only can RamDisk Plus create RAM disks with the hidden RAM above 4GB; it can also use the inaccessible memory between 3.2GB and 4GB.

RamDisk Plus also allows you to create multiple RAM disks with different settings for the various purposes listed below, including “zeroing” or erasing the contents of the RAM disk upon exit or saving all RAM disk contents at system shutdown.

Speeding Up a 32-Bit System

Activities in RAM execute much quicker than operations performed on your hard drive because a RAM disk can access the data needed from a file simply by using its memory address. Reads and writes (or I/O operations like accessing programs, browsing the Internet, editing files, etc.) in RAM are performed significantly faster due to the lack of physical, mechanical parts in a virtual RAM disk. A traditional hard drive must move around a physical disk searching for data, which leads to slower file access.





First Things First

How to Solve the 32-bit Problem - Using Hidden RAM for SpeedTo solve the 32-bit problem, you must first enable unmanaged memory in RamDisk Plus. Keep in mind, this can only be done if Windows reports the hidden RAM above 4GB. From within RamDisk Plus:

  1. Go to the File menu
  2. Select Memory…
  3. Click the Unmanaged button (if this does not appear, you cannot enable unmanaged RAM or you are not running a 32-bit operating system but you can still use RamDisk Plus with your available RAM)
  4. Select the Configure button
  5. Check Enable use of unmanaged memory (leave the other settings as their defaults)
  6. Select Ok for your new settings and close out of the menus

Now when you create a RAM disk in RamDisk Plus, all unmanaged memory (hidden RAM above 4GB) will be consumed first before your system uses any of the remaining managed Windows memory (the RAM your 32-bit system normally sees).

Best Uses for RAM Hidden Above 4GB

You may want to create separate RAM disks for different programs and activities in order to efficiently use your hidden RAM above 4GB and fix your 32-bit problem.

Create virtual RAM disks from the hidden RAM not being used by your 32-bit operating system in order to:

  • Speed up most Windows activities, like accessing programs and editing files (documents, spreadsheets, photos, etc.) by pointing TEMP files to your RAM disk.
  • Speed up web browsing by pointing your browser cache to a RAM disk. This also keeps your web browsing activities private as the RAM disk wipes out all activity – including browsing history, website login information, website visits and searches – from your browser cache each time you shut down unless you choose otherwise when creating the RAM disk.
  • Speed up access to minimized files when you have multiple applications open and running by placing the pagefile* on a RAM disk.
  • Reduce writes to solid state drives by placing TEMP files or the web browser cache  on a RAM disk

To make these speed improvements, see the instructions for each of the listed uses here: How to Make Your PC 50 Times Faster with RamDisk Plus





*Moving the pagefile to the RAM disk from a Solid State Drive (SSD) is not supported.

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