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Win9x: More than 512 MB of RAM?

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#1
TooMuchFreeTime

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I know that Win9x based OSses are not supposed to support more than 512 MB RAM but:

1. Is there any way to use more RAM on win9x system?

2. Is it possible to change the MaxFileCache setting in the System.ini file to reduce the maximum amount of memory that Vcache uses to 512MB or less DURING windows installation?

I'm asking this because currently my computer has 512 MB of RAM but I have another 512 MB of RAM just waiting to be installed...
and I have heard Windows 98 wont boot if more than 512 MB installed.

Do NOT tell me to "upgrade" to windows XP...
I have a multi boot machine with Win98SE being one of the OSses that I'm going to keep.

Thanks in advance and sorry for bad english!


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#2
Crash&Burn

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EXCEPTION No. 2: VCache increasing above 512 MB can create serious memory handling problems. If you have more than 512 MB of RAM, a VCache maximum of 524,288 KB (or a little less) is recommended. This is obtained by adding a MaxFileCache=x entry in the [vcache]section of SYSTEM.INI, where x is the maximum value you wish to set. VCache is limited internally to a maximum cache size of 800 MB. The problem is that, on computers with large amounts of RAM, the maximum VCache size can be large enough that it consumes all of the available addresses in the system arena, leaving no virtual memory addresses available for other functions such as opening an MS-DOS prompt. This problem may occur more easily if you have an AGP video adapter: The AGP aperture is also mapped to addresses in the system arena, and if VCache is using its entire 800 MB allowance and an AGP video adapter has a 128 MB aperture mapped, there will be very little address space remaining for other system code and data that must occupy the available range of virtual addresses.

More at Ahuma.org

#3
raskren

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Sigh. Yet another wonderful example of how forward thinking Windows 9x is. You can add more than 512 mb of RAM. It requires some modifications but it can be done.

#4
Crash&Burn

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Wow raskren, your post was so insightful and helpful.

#5
RJM

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You might try Gape's Unofficial Win98 SE Service Pack which claims to solve the 512 MB problem.

http://exuberant.ms11.net/98sesp.html
Caution: The information on this web site may be unreliable, misleading, out-of-date, or just plain wrong.

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#6
Crash&Burn

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Missed the installation question..
You shouldn't run into any problems there, I wasn't able to run the OS completely on this PC due to missing MOBO drivers, but I easily installed 98 w/o a hitch, just couldn't make it do much afterwards ;) though it booted.
I had 1 GIG ram, and 128MB AGP video card.

I'd recommend just setting the vcache setting after install, and reboot, before dropping in video drivers et al.
Though that may be over cautious - can't hurt. Not like its not easy to boot to dos and fix files in 98, unlike some more "Forward" OSes heh.

#7
iWindoze

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Missed the installation question..
You shouldn't run into any problems there, I wasn't able to run the OS completely on this PC due to missing MOBO drivers, but I easily installed 98 w/o a hitch, just couldn't make it do much afterwards ;) though it booted.
I had 1 GIG ram, and 128MB AGP video card.

I'd recommend just setting the vcache setting after install, and reboot, before dropping in video drivers et al.
Though that may be over cautious - can't hurt. Not like its not easy to boot to dos and fix files in 98, unlike some more "Forward" OSes heh.



Cool...this is good to know (although I currently only have 512mbs of RAM on my boxen
who knows what tomorrow will bring?) What I'd like to know is what are the feasibility of
telling the OS to load just about everything into a ram disk and running from there...this is
a question especially aimed at those guys running one of the miniwinis...

Any one have personal experience with this?

--iWindoze

#8
RJARRRPCGP

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I know that Win9x based OSses are not supposed to support more than 512 MB RAM but:

1. Is there any way to use more RAM on win9x system?

2. Is it possible to change the MaxFileCache setting in the System.ini file to reduce the maximum amount of memory that Vcache uses to 512MB or less DURING windows installation?

I'm asking this because currently my computer has 512 MB of RAM but I have another 512 MB of RAM just waiting to be installed...
and I have heard Windows 98 wont boot if more than 512 MB installed.

Do NOT tell me to "upgrade" to windows XP...
I have a multi boot machine with Win98SE being one of the OSses that I'm going to keep.

Thanks in advance and sorry for bad english!


Good news, even Microsoft says that it supports 1.0 GB of RAM!

The Vcache issue is a bug. Because Vcache, the Windows 95 and Windows 98 32-bit disk caching system, when not explicitly limited can hog the RAM to the point where Windows runs out of RAM.

The workaround is to:

Open System.ini with Notepad and then look for the following entry:

[vcache]

Add the following entry under "[vcache]":
MaxFileCache=524288

Then save and reboot Windows.

Edited by RJARRRPCGP, 03 November 2005 - 11:56 AM.

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#9
raskren

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Wow raskren, your post was so insightful and helpful.

Here's another insightful and helpful post, Crash&Burn.

Just last night I upgraded the RAM in my Xp laptop from 512 MB to 2 GB. I just slid it in, powered on, and Windows Xp worked like a charm.

Look ma', no editing vcache values!

#10
eidenk

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Don't worry for raskren. He does not come often around here, but when he does it is ALWAYS for subtly bashing 9x users.
Asus A8V Deluxe - Athlon 64 FX-55 2.6Ghz - 1GB DDRAM 400 - Windows ME (IE 5.5 SP2 Shell) + KernelEx 4.0 and Revolutions Pack 10

#11
Crash&Burn

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*chuckle* Yeah I was gonna reply to him again, but I said F-it ;)

#12
somewan

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Missed the installation question..
You shouldn't run into any problems there, I wasn't able to run the OS completely on this PC due to missing MOBO drivers, but I easily installed 98 w/o a hitch, just couldn't make it do much afterwards ;) though it booted.
I had 1 GIG ram, and 128MB AGP video card.

I'd recommend just setting the vcache setting after install, and reboot, before dropping in video drivers et al.
Though that may be over cautious - can't hurt. Not like its not easy to boot to dos and fix files in 98, unlike some more "Forward" OSes heh.



Cool...this is good to know (although I currently only have 512mbs of RAM on my boxen
who knows what tomorrow will bring?) What I'd like to know is what are the feasibility of
telling the OS to load just about everything into a ram disk and running from there...this is
a question especially aimed at those guys running one of the miniwinis...

Any one have personal experience with this?

--iWindoze


I haven't heard of ram-disk software for the Win9x-series, although I'd be surprised if none exist.

In any case, you could try one of the numerous DOS-based ram-disk drivers - a great example of the flexibility available to users of operating systems that take compatibility seriously.

#13
Crash&Burn

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Microsoft could of retained compatibility w/ MSDOS on NT5+ if they had wished. LFN's has been shown to be doable on FreeDOS variants. Code recompiled to 32 or 64 bit. And MSDOS apps run in a "Sandboxed" Dos window. NTFS has been shown to be DOS useable by Sysinternals and others.

Anyone that has to boot into Win2K's "repair" utility (that takes what 5-10 mins to boot up?) must seriously wonder why a MSDOS variant isn't available.

#14
K e n

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I currently have 98se running on a system with 768mb no probs, It
crashed multiple times during the rebooting after installing drivers
though.
I ended up reinstalling it with just 512mb of ram , installing the
unofficial service pack 1.5,, {{1.5 because it was the most stable & had
the most eye candy relevant to tweaking the appearance}} Then after
installing the service pack put the extra 256mb in & ran sweet, has
never seen one bsod or crashed now for over a year, although I have
to say the extra ram made no difference to the speed or running of
apps in any way though,, & the only reason I upgraded was the system
dual boots with 2000 Pro,, which runs many apps at once during the day.
I could post the system.ini file if that helps you at all,, that is , I'm
thinking thats where the tweaks were applied for the extra ram...

& please dont get into a post bashing about service pack 1.5 as all the later
builds ALWAYS bsod'd at least once a month on this system, 1.5 has
NEVER bsod'd for me...

Edited by K e n, 06 November 2005 - 08:12 PM.


#15
Jlo555

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Your system probably hasn't crashed with the extra ram because the unofficial service pack puts the maxfilecache string in system.ini. That's kind of odd that your system crashes with all the USP's above 1.5. It is true that Windows 98 can support up to 1GB of RAM; at least for me that's true. I've heard of other people using up to 1.5gigs, and I've never seen how that's possible because whenever I tried that, I got the "out of memory" message upon bootup.

#16
K e n

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Your system probably hasn't crashed with the extra ram because the unofficial service pack puts the maxfilecache string in system.ini.

I remember reading that a tweak was applied to the system.ini, just could'nt
remeber what it was..

This system was always OK at 1st with the later USP's, that is until a bunch of apps were
eventually installed over a 1 month period, then the greif started, Yet whenever I
set a win98se system up using the 1.5 usp then go to windows update I never have a problem.
1.62 was the worst for me, it would bsob within the 1st week guaranteed, & had no eyecandy
appearance tweaks like 1.5..

I'll reboot into the 98 system & post the system.ini for the
original poster later..

#17
Crash&Burn

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RAMDISKs are available right out of the box w/ Win98... The install itself creates one to preload. All thats required is some minor config.sys autoexec.bat editing. I have to wonder why people always refer to getting "some software" to do one :blink:

#18
K e n

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As Jlo555 mentioned.

Posted Image

Edited by K e n, 07 November 2005 - 12:04 AM.


#19
ChrisX64

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I tried installing both 98SE and ME (yes, you read right, ME) on my desktop with a gig of RAM and I couldn't even complete the install. Windows would just hang right after the first reboot when it's supposed to detect hardware. Is the only way to install it to remove RAM? Certainly there has to be a better way. Is there any install file that can be modified to set it up correctly OOB?

Thanks,
Chris.

#20
eidenk

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RAMDISKs are available right out of the box w/ Win98... The install itself creates one to preload. All thats required is some minor config.sys autoexec.bat editing. I have to wonder why people always refer to getting "some software" to do one

Because of the limitation in size I think.

Edited by eidenk, 07 November 2005 - 12:17 AM.

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#21
Crash&Burn

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Maybe it has to do w/ Hardware Chris, cuz I had no trouble installing 98SE on an AMD 64, Asus mobo w/ 1 Gig of ram even after multiple reboots.

But if it stalls just boot into command prompt, and edit the system.ini & add under [Vcache]:
MaxFileCache=524,288

98 does have the advantage of dos ;)

#22
ChrisX64

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Maybe it has to do w/ Hardware Chris, cuz I had no trouble installing 98SE on an AMD 64, Asus mobo w/ 1 Gig of ram even after multiple reboots.

But if it stalls just boot into command prompt, and edit the system.ini & add under [Vcache]:
MaxFileCache=524,288

98 does have the advantage of dos ;)


Yes, that it does. That's the one thing I really miss about NT/2k/xp, ect...the ability to perform tasks in DOS. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll try it out.

Chris.

#23
TooMuchFreeTime

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You might try Gape's Unofficial Win98 SE Service Pack which claims to solve the 512 MB problem.

I don't think installing unofficial SPs that are made "*only* for WINDOWS 98 SECOND EDITION ENGLISH."
into finnish version of Windows 98 SE is a good idea...
Does anyone know HOW it solves 512 MB problem?

Well my Win98 OS booted after I installed my extra RAM but it was VERY unstable until I edited my system.ini...

Is [Vcache]: MaxFileCache=524,288 the only way to use more RAM?

BTW: I'm suprised that my topic got so many replies.

#24
randiroo76073

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Well my Win98 OS booted after I installed my extra RAM but it was VERY unstable until I edited my system.ini...

Is [Vcache]: MaxFileCache=524,288 the only way to use more RAM?

BTW: I'm suprised that my topic got so many replies.

Ya, it's the best[simplest] way outside of USP2, I edited my Vcache before I used USP, found it on some forum & was running 768mbs, am now running 1GB w/no probs :whistle:

#25
somewan

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Microsoft could of retained compatibility w/ MSDOS on NT5+ if they had wished. LFN's has been shown to be doable on FreeDOS variants. Code recompiled to 32 or 64 bit. And MSDOS apps run in a "Sandboxed" Dos window. NTFS has been shown to be DOS useable by Sysinternals and others.


A 32-bit or 64-bit MS-DOS is closer to rewriting than recompiling, but
that is far from impossible, as demonstrated by Microsoft: most of
DOS is already re-implemented in 32-bits in the form of the core Win9x
VxDs. As an example, in order to provide file access to Windows
applications, KERNEL32 puts the MS-DOS function number in a register
and calls the VWIN32 VxD through an undocumented API. VWIN32
forwards the request down the chain of installed INT 21 handlers...

Your system probably hasn't crashed with the extra ram because the unofficial service pack puts the maxfilecache string in system.ini. That's kind of odd that your system crashes with all the USP's above 1.5. It is true that Windows 98 can support up to 1GB of RAM; at least for me that's true. I've heard of other people using up to 1.5gigs, and I've never seen how that's possible because whenever I tried that, I got the "out of memory" message upon bootup.


There are inherent problems with multi-gigabyte amounts of RAM on
the 32-bit 386+ architecture. A maximum of 4 GB is directly addressable,
and at the time that architecture was designed, no-one ever imagined
that more than a tiny fraction would be actual, physical RAM. It was
expected that advanced operating system would use it for providing
virtual memory - that is, paging/swapping.

Windows 9x reserves the top 1 GB of the address space for the
kernel (VxDs), at least 1 GB for DLLs, VMs, XMS, DOS-extended
and Win16 applications, and at least 1 GB for the "private" arena
of the current Win32 process. Also, hardware devices - especially
modern graphics adapters may require hundreds of megabytes.

I suspect that VCACHE tries to map those huge quantities of
unused (and unneeded) physical RAM into the 1 GB kernel address
space (or possibly the shared DLL/DOS/Win16 area) - eventually
running out, not of memory but of space to map it into - which can
be reasonably expected to render the system unstable.

The good news is that even 384 MB, which I have, is more than enough
and I don't recall running out of memory while I had 128 MB either.
If you have too much money on your hands and want to spend it on
hardware, go for something more useful. Do you have a 15000 rpm
SCSI disk yet? How about a SDLT drive for backups? (I have 73 GB
10000 rpm disk and haven't partitioned it all...)




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