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 Aug 25, 2009 - 02:57 PM - by Michael
* WinXP 4GB memory limit illegitimate?

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PC Games/Hardware/Microsoft
An interesting article indicating that Microsoft could easily patch XP to use more than 4GB of RAM, but chooses not to do so in order to push sales of Vista and Win7:

Yet although Dell?s statement is true, it is not the whole truth: there is something that Microsoft does not tell you, and perhaps does not tell Dell.

That 32-bit editions of Windows Vista are limited to 4GB is not because of any physical or technical constraint on 32-bit operating systems. The 32-bit editions of Windows Vista all contain code for using physical memory above 4GB. Microsoft just doesn?t license you to use that code.

Well, to say it that way is perhaps to put words in Microsoft?s mouth. I say the restriction to 4GB is a licensing issue because that?s how Microsoft?s programmers evidently have thought of it. The 4GB limit is retrieved from the registry by calling a function named ZwQueryLicenseValue, which is itself called from an internal procedure which Microsoft?s published symbol files name as MxMemoryLicense. If you remove this check for the licensed memory limit then a restriction to 4GB is demonstrably not enforced by other means. Yet I must admit that I have not found where Microsoft says directly that 32-bit Windows Vista is limited to 4GB only by licensing. The supposed License Agreement doesn?t even mention the word memory. What, really, is going on?
Ouch.
 

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