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TooMuchFreeTime

Win9x: More than 512 MB of RAM?

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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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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.
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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.

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Wow raskren, your post was so insightful and helpful.

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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.

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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

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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
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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!

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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
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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.

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