Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Windows 98 Maximum RAM ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: Windows 98 Maximum RAM
Category: Computers > Hardware
Asked by: clubknowledge-ga
List Price: $15.00
Posted: 21 Apr 2004 07:57 PDT
Expires: 21 May 2004 07:57 PDT
Question ID: 333688
I want THE answer to how much RAM Window 98 SE can actually use.
Subject: Re: Windows 98 Maximum RAM
Answered By: till-ga on 21 Apr 2004 08:27 PDT
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Win 98 does in fact have RAM limit of 2 GB, but as there is a bug in
the memory managenment there may be problems when you install more
than 512 MB:

"Does Windows ?98 SE have a RAM limit?
"PROBLEM: I recently read that Windows 98 Second Edition can recognize
only 128MB of RAM, and that purchasing more memory is not productive.
Is this true?
SOLUTION: No. It?s an urban legend. From time to time you?ll see
postings claiming that Windows 98, SE, ME, NT, 2000 (take your pick)
can recognize only 64MB, 128MB, 256MB, or who-knows-how-many megabytes
of memory. In fact, all modern versions of Windows can handle 2GB of
memory; far more than most of us are likely to encounter in the
foreseeable future.
There?s one minor gotcha, though: A bug in Windows 95, 98, SE, and ME
crops up if you have more than 512MB of memory installed. The part of
Windows that moves files in and out of the main computer sets aside
enough memory so it can work with big files, and if the amount of
available memory is large, the memory chunk that?s set aside is large,
too. Unfortunately, if the amount of available memory is huge?more
than 512MB-the file?handling routines can grab so much memory that
nothing is left for more mundane functions. Paradoxically, if Windows
hits this bug, it may report the problem to you by saying ?There is
not enough memory available to run this program. Quit one or more
programs, and then try again.? Or it may hang completely.
To warn Windows that you have more than 512MB of memory installed, add
the following line to the [VCache] section of your win.ini file:
MaxFileCache = 524288."
( )

Microft´s knowledge base has more detailed information about the problem:
"Out of Memory" Error Messages with Large Amounts of RAM Installed

This article was previously published under Q253912 
If this article does not describe your hardware-related issue, please
see the following Microsoft Web site to view more articles about
If a computer that is running any of the versions of Windows that are
listed above contains more than 512 megabytes (for example, 768
megabytes) of physical memory (RAM), you may experience one or more of
the following symptoms:
You may be unable to open an MS-DOS session (or command prompt) while
Windows is running. Attempts to do so may generate the following error
There is not enough memory available to run this program.
Quit one or more programs, and then try again.
The computer may stop responding (hang) while Windows is starting, or
halt and display the following error message:

Insufficient memory to initialize windows. Quit one or more
memory-resident programs or remove unnecessary utilities from your
Config.sys and Autoexec.bat files, and restart your computer.
The Windows 32-bit protected-mode cache driver (Vcache) determines the
maximum cache size based on the amount of RAM that is present when
Windows starts. Vcache then reserves enough memory addresses to permit
it to access a cache of the maximum size so that it can increase the
cache to that size if needed. These addresses are allocated in a range
of virtual addresses from 0xC0000000 through 0xFFFFFFFF (3 to 4
gigabytes) known as the system arena.

On computers with large amounts of RAM, the maximum cache size can be
large enough that Vcache consumes all of the addresses in the system
arena, leaving no virtual memory addresses available for other
functions such as opening an MS-DOS prompt (creating a new virtual
To work around this problem, use one of the following methods: 
Use the MaxFileCache setting in the System.ini file to reduce the
maximum amount of memory that Vcache uses to 512 megabytes (524,288
KB) or less. For additional information about how to use the
MaxFileCache setting, click the article number below to view the
article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
108079 32-Bit File Access Maximum Cache Size 

Use the System Configuration utility to limit the amount of memory
that Windows uses to 512 megabytes (MB) or less.For additional
information about how to use the System Configuration utility, click
the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft
Knowledge Base:
181966 System Configuration Utility Advanced Troubleshooting Settings 

Reduce the amount of memory that is installed in your computer to 512 MB or less.
Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft
products that are listed at the beginning of this article.
Vcache is limited internally to a maximum cache size of 800 MB.

This problem may occur more readily with Advanced Graphics Port (AGP)
video adapters because the AGP aperture is also mapped to addresses in
the system arena. For example, if Vcache is using a maximum cache size
of 800 MB and an AGP video adapter has a 128-MB aperture mapped, there
is very little address space remaining for the other system code and
data that must occupy this range of virtual addresses. "
Microsoft knowledge base
(;EN-US;253912 )

So there´s a workaround given and you should be able to put more RAM
in your computer without any problems. My experience however is that
here is not much sense in doing this. Speed won´t really go up.

I had a Win98 SE machine for some years and had a lot of RAM related
trouble as I had 768 MB of memory installed. Unless you have other
reasons to use the Win98 I would change to Win2000. I´ve never had any
RAM related problems with my Win2000 machine.


Search strategy:
( ://
clubknowledge-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Windows 98 Maximum RAM
From: mattgraham-ga on 21 Apr 2004 12:14 PDT
As well as solving most RAM-related problems, upgrading to Windows
2000 (or XP, if you can cope with it), will also result in a
significant speed increase on computers wth large amounts of RAM. 
Windows 98 seems to ignore it, while Windows 2000 / XP uses it.
Subject: Re: Windows 98 Maximum RAM
From: clubknowledge-ga on 28 Apr 2004 07:44 PDT
Just to let everyone know I installed 1Gig of ram without a single
issue and performance is 1000% better
Subject: Re: Windows 98 Maximum RAM
From: mindflux-ga on 27 Jul 2004 12:28 PDT
MaxFileCache goes in the system.ini, not the win.ini for future reference.

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