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How To Fix Windows 8.1 Issue Where It Doesn’t Recognize All Installed RAM

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I just recently upgraded from a 27″ iMac to a new custom build PC of which I installed Windows 8.1. The build process was smoother than expected although I ran into a frustrating issue where my motherboard was recognizing all four RAM sticks which totaled 32GB of RAM yet Windows 8.1 would only recognize 24GB of RAM when under the “System” window.

After fiddling around through the settings, I finally was able to pinpoint the cause of the issue which was directly related to a hidden Windows 8.1 setting. While it may not fix this RAM issue for everyone, here is what I did to solve my issue:

Step #1

Drag your mouse over the Start Menu at the bottom left and right-click on the Windows icon then click on “Run”.


Step #2

When the Run window appears, type in “msconfig” then click okay.


Step #3

Under the “System Configuration Window” click on the “Boot” Tab then click the “Advanced Options” button.


Step #4

At the “BOOT Advanced Options” screen, make sure “Maximum memory” is unchecked then click “OK”. When I checked this setting for the first time, this check-box was activate and was set to limit the maximum memory to only 24GB.


Step #5

When the “System Configuration” screen returns, click the “Apply” button to save the changes to your settings.


Step #6

Reboot your system then open the “System” window again to verify all the correct amount of RAM is now being recognized.


Now this process might not solve everyone's RAM problems, but in my case it was just that. I hope it helps a large percentage of readers solve fix their RAM issue and for those that do I hope you'll leave a comment in the section below letting me know this “how to” guide was worth my while.

Keep in mind, if your motherboard isn't recognizing all of your RAM sticks then this situation is likely due to a hardware issue rather than a Windows 8.1 software-related problem. I'd recommend re-seating all of your RAM sticks and if that doesn't work, you should swap out the modules to different spots to determine whether your motherboard or RAM sticks themselves are faulty.

Photo Credit: Flickr

  • Colt, great bit of info, thanks!

    Your reviews are very informative.
    I’m currently contemplating a new system for photo and video editing and the Win vs Mac debate is in full swing. Apple’s prices are a factor along with the lack of access to their ‘closed’ design; I’ve also read they can run hot. Their OS seems to be more stable and efficient at handling system resources compared to Windows – which tends to get bogged down and sluggish.
    You recently switched from a 27inch iMac to a self-built Win8.1 PC; could you explain what made you switch and how your new system has impacted your productivity?
    Many thanks,

  • hey, for me, it appeared when I “checked” the Maximum Memory to 4096MB and not “unchecked” this box. Thanks but it worked for me and also my main issue with the laptop which was “wifi icon missing from Windows 8.1” got solved as well.

  • for some reason it does not work for me 🙁 i see all 16GB in BIOS, but even following your guide, system says only 8GB is usable…

  • for some reason it does not work for me too i see all 32GB in BIOS, but even following your guide, system says only 16GB is usable…

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