When a reader complained that his PC could utilise only 3.25GB of the 8GB RAM he's installed, our Helproom Expert was quick to diagnose the problem: a 32bit version of Windows 7.

QUESTION: I installed 8GB of DDR3 memory in my Windows 7 computer, but the System information in Control Panel reports that only 3.25GB is installed. How can I make Windows see the full 8GB for gaming purposes? Rich

HELPROOM ANSWER: It sounds as though you're using a 32bit version of Windows 7 (you can check this in the same screen as you verified the amount of installed memory; head to Control Panel, System and Security, System). In order for your computer to take advantage of 4GB or more of RAM, you need to be running a 64bit edition of Windows. Unfortunately, it isn't possible to upgrade from a 32- to 64bit installation as you would from 64bit Windows Vista to 64bit Windows 7. You'll instead need to back up all your files and settings, then perform a clean installation of the operating system.

This step is becoming less necessary as more software and peripherals is designed to operate with 64bit operating systems, but it's worth checking that all your software and hardware drivers will continue to work.

Depending on how you purchased your copy of Windows 7, you may find an installation disc for the 64bit edition in the box. Otherwise, you'll need to fork out for a new copy of the software.

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