Why Is Only Half My RAM Usable?

Why Is Only Half My RAM Usable?

Are you unable to figure out why you can use only a part of your RAM? A lot of people often complain about not being able to use their entire RAM. Even when you purchase a new laptop, you won’t be able to utilize it to its full potential. And you keep asking yourself why is only half my RAM usable? Hence, what can be done?

Understanding The Concept Of RAM

For all you newbies out there who are confused, this is what RAM stands for –Random Access Memory. Just like how the human brain has a short-term memory, which is used to carry outexecutive functions, your computer uses RAM to do so. RAM is referred to as a computer’s ‘short-term memory.’ It is incredibly fast where data can be stored temporarily. The data stored in this space needs to get accessed instantly or in a couple of minutes. All the programs that you run on your computer at the moment – all need RAM to run.

Now that I have let you know why RAM is important, you know why more amount of RAM is needed. It is never a bad option to get more RAM as it is directly proportional to your computer’s performance. The more amount of RAM is present, the faster your computer will carry out tasks. However, buying a computer with a certain amount of it and unable to use RAM can be a tough spot to be in. This is a prevalent problem encountered by Windows 10 users. It can happen when:

  1. When a large amount of RAM is mostly reserved for hardware, the reserved memory is probably being used for the internal graphics adapter on your computer. But this is only possible if you have a graphics card present on your computer, this might not be the cause.
  2. There is an issue with the configuration and the BIOS of the motherboard.
  3. It might be just a hardware issue, and you have to replace it.
  4. You are using a 34 bit Windows 10 OS. It only allows you to use 3.5 GB RAM.

What can you do about it?

I will recommend you follow these solutions if you are asking yourself why is only half my RAM usable?  The solutions are:

Checking your OS

Before you decide to carry out any of the other solutions, you need to check your OS specifications. As I have mentioned above, using a 34 bit Windows OS will not allow you to use more than 3.5 GB RAM. Hence, you will have to upgrade to a 64 bit Windows OS. To check the specifications, you need to:

  1. Press as well as Hold the Windows Key
  2. Then, Press R
  3. A Run Dialog box will appear where you will have to type ‘msinfo32’
  4. Press Enter
  5. The system information window will appear where you have to look for the option ‘system type’. It will be present on the pane on your right.
  6. If your ‘system type’ is ‘x86’, then you are using a 34 bit Windows OS. If you see ‘x64’ there, it is a 64 bit Windows OS.
  7. In the case of the latter scenario, you will have to upgrade your OS.

Modifying the RAM on your computer’s Boot

Often, your computer reserves way more RAM than it needs for opening. Hence, you can modify the RAM requirements on your Boot. To do so, you need to:

  1. Press the Windows Key as well as Hold the Key’ R’.
  2. A Run dialogue box will appear where you have to type in ‘msconfig.’
  3. Press Enter
  4. When the system configuration window opens, select the tab for ‘Boot.’
  5. If you have more than one OS, you may have to click on the one you want to work with
  6. Click the button for ‘Advanced Options’
  7. You have to clear the checkbox present on your screen’s upper right corner, next to the ‘Maximum Memory’ option.
  8. Click on ‘Ok’
  9. Restart your computer

Physically inspect the RAM

If the previous solution that I recommended for inaccessible RAM did not pan out properly, you could choose to inspect the RAM hardware physically. In a few instances, you may not be able to use the entire RAM due to some physical defect.Dust also get accumulated over time and cause issues. Moreover, the slots on which the RAM is placed might also be defective. You have to thoroughly check it to know whether this is the real cause or not. You will have to:

  1. Unplug all kinds of wires to avoid accidents
  2. Remove the cover of your computer
  3. Next to the big fans installed to combat heating, you will be able to see rectangular sticks. That is the hardware of your RAM. There might be two or four slots of RAM – which depends on your computer.
  4. You will be able to see clips beside the slots. You have to toggle the clips to unplug the RAM. Ensure that the contacts are clean.
  5. Check for dust inside the slots and remove it, in case there is any.
  6. If there are multiple RAM sticks, you need to remove them one by one and turn on your computer. In case you cannot run your computer on anyone’s stick, then that stick is a defective one.
  7. In case you want to check the slots, you have to put in a working stick of RAM. If the computer cannot run on just that one slot, then that slot might be faulty.
  8. You can also put in different sticks in different slots and check whether it solves the issue or not.

Checking the BIOS setting

You have to check the BIOS configuration to check if there are any limitations on the RAM which you are using. If it is using RAM for an unnecessary unit, you will have to turn it off.

To do so, you need to:

  1. Restart your computer
  2. Turn it on using the UEFI/BIOS setup
  3. Check your computer’s model to understand which key to use to enter the BIOS. It can be any of the following keys – Esc, F12, F1, or F2
  4. Once you have accessed the setup, you need to search for Internal Graphics or Onboard Graphics, or iGPU.
  5. On finding it, you need to turn it off or disable it
  6. You need to look for the feature for ‘Memory-Map.’ It looks after the RAM access to Windows.
  7. Then you have to enable or turn on this feature
  8. Also, you may have to enable the ‘Render Standby’ feature, disable the ‘multimonitor’ feature, and put the iGPU memory on Auto mode. All these features are available in the BIOS setup.
  9. Restart your computer to check status of the issue.

Updating your BIOS version

If you keep asking why is only half my RAM usable, then this can also happen due to an outdated BIOS version. It will lead to a memory bug that stops you from using the entire RAM in your computer’s system.

Hence, you need to visit your computer manufacturer’s website. Please search for the latest BIOS system and download it to eradicate the issue.

About the Author Michael E. Yates

Hi! The words you are going to read comes from me! A geek passionately and a writer of 5+ years professionally. If you ask about my likings, well, I love to tag along with upcoming technology trends. Though I also have contributed to many more technology sites through my writings. If you ask about my dreams, then one of them is finding an instant solution for every device malfunction, so I am creating a blog post. A blog post that will help more people like me. I, introduce thepcstuff.com the result of my hard work and patience. Do not worry, with me and my team behind the computers will make sure every vital information related to technology reaches all of you people. So, if you are ready to go on an adventurous ride with thepcstuff.com and me, let's get started!

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