How to Increase the Memory Limit for 32-bit Apps in Win 64-bit OS

By JJ for

Most of us are now probably using a 64-bit Microsoft Operating System like Windows 7 x64 or Windows Vista x64, which allows the computer to address more than 3GB of RAM. Did you know, however, that any 32-bit applications you run are still limited to making use of only 2GB of RAM? This includes many games and probably the version of Microsoft Office you have installed, unless you specifically opted to install the 64-bit version.

You might wonder why this is a problem. Well, obviously if your system has more than 2GB of RAM, it’d be great to allow your applications or games to make use of it. Furthermore, some applications actually crash when they hit this limit, or start popping up boxes with out of memory errors. If you work on large excel files (500,000 rows+) then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

The Solution

Thankfully, there’s a solution! A great coder by the name of Daniel Pistelli has written a little patching application that will modify your 32-bit programs, and allow them to address up to 4GB of RAM. It’s important to remember that this utility is only useful if you are running a 64-bit OS. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then here’s an easy way to check:

1. Go to Control Panel, and click view by “small icons” in the top right hand corner

2. Click System

3. As per the image below, next to System Type, it should say 64-bit operating system. If it doesn’t then this utility is of no use to you.

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9 thoughts on “ How to Increase the Memory Limit for 32-bit Apps in Win 64-bit OS”

  1. @SportsPhotoGuy: I’m amazed that a photographer would ask this question. I use photo editing programs regularly, and because of all the imaging, I occasionally run out of memory and get an error. It’s simple to clear the editor/browser and continue, but it would be nice not to need to. Okay… amazed is too strong…… I’ll go with mildly surprised.

    1. sVen – Read what I actually wrote. We’re talking about 32-bit apps here; I use the 64-bit version of PhotoShop because I know what I’m doing. 🙂 Firefox’s 64-bit version isn’t out of beta yet, and that’s the only 32-bit program I use that is potentially memory-hungry.

      I’ll repeat the question: this is an app-based patch, allowing apps to access more than 2GB of memory. Is there any benefit to applying the patch to programs that don’t use over 2GB of memory?

  2. great stuff coming ffrom pcpitstops newsletter. like the first article i read sounded like it was talking about brain dead people still using windows 95, or something, then you get this page where they can’t even properly link pages together.

    you do know that if such a program as what they’re talking about here was real, it would be all ove the internet, right?

  3. Before everybody runs out and patches all of their 32-bit apps…does it make ANY sense to run this patch if your app doesn’t use more than 2GB of memory? For example, I’m running Firefox 6.0 and, with 8 tabs open, the program is only using 320k of memory according to Task Manager.

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