Did I buy bad memory? (Win32 error)

So I’ve been to the computer store to get some new memory for my desktop computor. I currently have 512Mb, residing in 2 of 3 slots on the motherboard; but I want more RAM… so I bought 512 Mb more!

I installed it in the motherboard, and booted up… to get the message “Win32 error, not enough memory” (I’m not sure that’s exactly right, but pretty close…). Hmm, I thought.

I got the computer booted up, and set about investigating. System Properties shows the new memory (as did the POST, for that matter). But System Resources shows that I’m running about 65% free, and things are running a bit slow. I opened up the system monitor to note that the processor is showing continuous 100% usage, I watched for several minutes, and it never dipped below 100%). That’s odd. To get below 100% usage of the processor, I cntl/alt/del’d to close down, one by one, the things running in the background… eventually I got the processor freed up again. I rebooted and repeated this process several times, and was unable to determine exactly what I shut down that freed up the processor (at first I thought it was Norton AV, and I was about to uninstall and reinstall that… but after a few reboots, I’m not sure what is sucking up my processor).


I’m out of ideas! I’m pretty sure the new memory isn’t completely to blame, as the computer has been running oddly for a few days… since my last defrag, as a matter of fact. I suspect that something weird happened when I defragged…

I’m currently running a scan disk in Safe Mode, while typing this on my notebook.

Anyone have any ideas?

My OS is Win 98 SE, running on a P4, 1.7 Ghz desktop, 1024Mbs of RAM (512 Mbs of which is brand new, of course).

Thanks in advance!

Windows 95/98/ME support up to 512MB of RAM. Installing more completely breaks Windows’ memory management system, thus giving you errors like the one you saw. Your options are to drop back to 512MB, or upgrade to Windows 2000 or XP.

Is it additionally possible that SDRAM was put into a DDR slot, or vice versa? I’m not sure whether this would matter or not.
Aeleoron is right, but if you upgrade you may wish to check.

Due to the physical construction of DDR and SDR slots, you can’t put the wrong kind of memory in a slot, it simply won’t fit. This was an important consideration when the 184pin DDR DIMM spec was designed.

I see. Thank you for clearing that up. I was wondering what that slot was for. :embarrassed:



Guess I’m going to have to take the new memory back… that stinks.

Thanks for the info!


I’m back on the desktop now… after removing the new memory. Seems to be back up and more or less working again, at the moment.

Interestingly, I can’t view the System Monitor at all now. When I open it up, I get a blank grey box with the tool bar at the top, but nothing showing in the actual viewing area at all! Weirdness… I think I may have to just reformat the hard drive and reinstall Win 98 eventually. I’ve been thinking about doing that for a while, but it’s such a PITA that I haven’t done it yet. (earlier I did a Win 98 reinstall, hoping to fix the memory error that way without loosing any settings or data…)

Anyways, thanks for the info!

Why you’re running Win 98 on a P4?

Please, please, do not use Windows 98.

W98 is excellent as a matter of fact yesterday I was looking at prices people pay now for W98 & I was surprised. $60-80.00
Astroboy14, why do you need so much memory?

What kind of a question is that??? More memory=Faster, dude.

And there is a reason Windows 98 is cheap!

Guess why.

Why am I running Win98 on the desktop? Because I have it! One of these days I’m going to build a new desktop, and I’ll probably use WinXP on that… but I have no plans to change OS on this computer. Right now, I have this desktop running 98SE, my wife’s laptop running XP (Korean version), and my laptop running 2000 Pro. As I’m studying networking right now, I want to have a variety of Win versions at hand so I can compare and contrast.

As for the memory, it was kind of an impulse buy… I was at the computer store getting some Cat 5 cable and some memory for my notebook (which really needed it!), I happened to see 168 pin SDRAM was fairly cheap and thought ‘What the heck!’ not realizing that I’d already reached the upper limit of RAM on the desktop… c’est la vie! Please note, also, that it was a learning experience; next time someone asks me about errors such as I had last night, I’ll have one more option to think about!

Anyways, back to the computer store later to return the RAM… maybe I’ll pick up another new toy!:smiley:

Sure why not.

Most gamers run 98, as it is very stable for such a thing.

I’m running a P4 2.8 ghz dual boot, 98 for games, XP for everything else.

BTW 98 is cheap because it’s old and no longer supported, not because it sucks.

Why not? Win 98 is pretty damn stable. I ran it for years with few to no problems, until I finally upgraded to XP about a year ago. XP has a lot of nice features and enhancements, but it’s not much more stable than 98 was.

We 98 users also benefit from not having to worry about new viruses as much. Virus writers have started going after the newer operating systems.

“And there is a reason Windows 98 is cheap!”

$70 for used W98 is not cheap, it only cost me $99 new in when let’s see, hmm, 1998.

$15 for Mac OS8, now that’s cheap.

These days you can almost get a whole new 2-2.4ghz computer with XP Home for the price of the cpu, board & OS. (Around $350, but I saw one today for $270 for a 2ghz)

This isn’t neccesarily true. The 512 meg limit isn’t really a hard limit, it’s more of a “You may have problems when you do this, so don’t do it” kind of limit.

The problem with using more than 512 megs of ram in 98 is the way Vcache handles memory addressing. You may be able to workaround the problem by editing your system.ini file and changing the MaxFileCache setting to 512 megs or less.

Huh… that’s interesting! I’ve already taken the RAM back, but just out of curiosity, I opened up the system.ini file to take a look, and there is no “MaxFileCache” line at all. I take it that there should be one?

Perhaps that might explain some of the problems that I’m having right now… I’m on the desktop at the moment, so I can get it booted up and running, but I’m having all sorts of problems with memory allocation and processor usage. What should the “MaxFileCache” say?

I’m becoming more and more sure that I’ll need to simply reformat the disk and reinstall everything tomorrow or the next day…

Just came across this site: TweakhomePC

So I have placed a MaxFileCache and MinFileCache line in my system.ini file.

Rebooting now! Wish me luck!:smiley:

Nope… that didn’t help. Hmmm…