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Dumb question ahead, because I'm pretty new to the gig:

I've taken over administration of a small business network (2 locations, 2 win2003 Servers, 1 win2003 test server, 30 PC's, 40 users, router-based VPN, DSL internet). Both servers are basically little more than terminal services servers.

So, I'm having performance problems with server1 which is the busier server, more terminal sessions, etc. These are old machines and I tell users to log in only once, kick inactive sessions, etc.

We're using server2003 standard edition which limits at 4gb, and the page faults graph tells me we need more RAM. However, "my computer/properties" on server1 shows 3.49 GB but the same popup on server2 reports 4 GB. They're both Dell 800 series with P4 single-core hyperthread procs and they're identical except for the second RAID array and the backup system. The only significant difference is that server1 is the ActiveDirectory controller, server2, of course, is not.

I'm not sure what is allocating that 50MB. Is that normal in AD, or should I be looking for something aside from shared video memory, which just occurred to me?

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

The 3.5GB limit you're seeing is an artifact of 32-bit Windows. What I'm more intrigued by is server2 reporting 4GB ... unless that happens to be a 64-bit server? Alternatively is AWE enabled on the server reporting 4GB?

More details of this 3.5GB limit at ... although this concentrates on Win7/Vista, it's still all valid for Server 2003 as well.

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Thanks for your response. That would make sense, but I thought 32 bit mem limited at 4gb, not less.. AWE is not explicitly enabled in boot.ini in either machine. As far as I can tell, neither machine is running in 64 bit mode. Server2 is a Poweredge830 which supports 64bit procs while server1 is a Poweredge800 which does not, but the MoBo in server1 has been replaced in the past so i'm not convinced it's the same as the original config. Would a server 2003 system normally report 50MB less than physical mem in the "My Computer" pop-up? I have 2 other servers that say otherwise. – Ken Jul 18 '11 at 3:38
I'm marking this answer as correct because it leads to so many useful resources, and your answer is so verifiably correct. I still don't get why 3 out of my 4 servers show 4gb, but it's about to become irrelevant. I suspect that either AWE is enabled on the 4gb servers and I don't have the right KB patches to see it, or that somehow running 64bit hardware with a 32bit system makes Windows report inaccurately. After ten (or more) years of operation, only Tron knows what this server's been through. – Ken May 11 '12 at 1:30

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