Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: RAM use in XP ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: RAM use in XP
Category: Computers > Operating Systems
Asked by: bigjim-ga
List Price: $3.00
Posted: 25 Jul 2002 13:07 PDT
Expires: 24 Aug 2002 13:07 PDT
Question ID: 45111
How much Ram does the XP operating system use? Does it use more ram if
say you upgrade from 256Mg to 512?
Subject: Re: RAM use in XP
Answered By: netcrazy-ga on 25 Jul 2002 14:02 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars

As per Microsoft site, minimum supported RAM by XP Professional is
64MB and minimum recommended RAM is 128MB. With 64MB, it may limit the

According to this site also, 128MB is the recommended memory for XP.

Now if you upgrade your system from 256 to 512MB, XP will still use
the minimum RAM but if you are adding any additional software like XP
Office (additional 8 MB of RAM for each Office application, such as
Microsoft Word) or something else, then definitely more RAM is
required. However, XP will not consume more RAM if you are adding more
RAM to the system. Infact the performance will get improved to an
extent with this increase.

Check this out for XP

For Office XP Developer System requirements

Search term used:

RAM used by XP

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask for a clarification and if you are
satisfied with this answer, then do rate it.


Request for Answer Clarification by bigjim-ga on 26 Jul 2002 11:58 PDT
In regard to RAM use in XP is concerned,I guess what I'm trying to
figure out is why, when I went from 256+(304 actual)MB of RAM to
512(504 actual)MB,I only seem to have about 250 MB available (running
the exact same configuration-apps)with IE and Outlook Express running.
Seems like I should have more.(Please understand I am not some kind of
"RAM Hog" I just want to be able to run hearty (RAM demanding)
programs like Adobe Premeire or Pro tools effectively.Could you please
clarify this a little more for me? Thanks,bigjim

Clarification of Answer by netcrazy-ga on 26 Jul 2002 13:45 PDT
Hello and thanks for giving such a nice rating. 

The only reason I'm able to foresee is that when you had 256, it was
using some paging file or in other words “Virtual Memory” for your
software. Now when you moved to 512, instead of using the virtual
memory, it used the added 256 MB of RAM, as a result you still see a
less memory instead of 256 MB. As more memory is used and comes to a
full, system will again start using virtual memory to keep the things
working. To see how virtual memory works, check this one. It has a
nice explanation about how it works and why it is used.

I hope this will help in solving your mystery.

bigjim-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
Pretty helpful,but could be more in depth and a little less
generic.Very helpful link provided however(Why it rates 4 instead of
only 3 stars)

Subject: Re: RAM use in XP
From: blader-ga on 25 Jul 2002 14:25 PDT
Dear bigjim:

I believe there was a limit of 256 mb of RAM that Win98 actually uses.
Anything over that Win98 doesn't see. However, Win XP is based on the
NT kernel, so you can add up to 4 GB of RAM, and it will be taken
advantage of.

Best Regards,
Subject: Re: RAM use in XP
From: expertlaw-ga on 25 Jul 2002 14:32 PDT
As an unfortunate user of XP Pro, imho if you purchase XP, it isn't
just the RAM which Microsoft exploits. To my eye, XP seems to still be
in beta.
Subject: Re: RAM use in XP
From: cogpsych-ga on 25 Jul 2002 16:46 PDT
The older Windows releases (95, 98, Me) would not utilize more than
768 MB of RAM, according to some research I did about a year ago. This
is stated somewhere in Microsoft's knowledge base, but I can't
remember where. I have personally used each of these OS releases and
found no improvement even with 512 MB of RAM.

This led me to upgrade my system to Windows 2000 Pro, which (as stated
by blader-ga) can handle RAM in the GB range. I remember hearing
somewhere that the upper limit was 2 GB, but perhaps it is more (I
don't have enough memory slots to support that much anyway!) Since
Windows XP is essentially a "beautified" version of Windows 2000, you
should see a benefit with the addition of more RAM.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy