Computer not using all RAM? How to increase usable RAM

by Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Milan Stanojevic
Windows & Software Expert
Milan has been enthusiastic about PCs ever since his childhood days, and this led him to take interest in all PC-related technologies. Before joining WindowsReport, he worked as... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • If Windows 10 isn't using all RAM, make sure that you have the right version installed.
  • Checking that the existing memory is compatible with the motherboard is crucial.
  • Tweaking some BIOS settings and testing your RAM can help if you're having this issue.
windows 10 not using all ram

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Memory is a crucial resource since it allows you to enjoy multiple apps simultaneously on your PC. In case you run out of memory, you might encounter various performance issues.

In some instances, Windows 10 isn’t using all your RAM, and this can be a major problem because you have memory that won’t ever be accessed.

This means that you’re not using your computer to its full potential and utilizing its resources properly. Depending on the amount of unused RAM, this might lead to slowdowns and other problems.

Luckily, there are ways to deal with this issue, and in today’s guide, we’re going to show you how to fix the problem with unused memory.

Why isn’t my PC using all RAM?

There are several reasons for this, but most likely is that you’re using a 32-bit version of Windows. Alternatively, it might be your integrated graphics that is using some of your memory.

Incompatible or improperly arranged RAM can also cause problems such as these. Lastly, there’s always a possibility that your hardware is not working properly.

What happens when the PC isn’t using all of my RAM?

If your PC isn’t using all your RAM, you’ll have fewer resources to work with and you’ll experience a performance drop.

Let’s say you have 16GB of RAM, but your PC just detects 8GB. You’ll have twice as little memory to work with, and you’ll experience issues when multitasking or when using more demanding applications.

What can I do if Windows 10 isn’t using all RAM?

  1. Use the 64-bit version of Windows
  2. Turn off Auto RAM Virtualization
  3. Check if your RAM is properly seated
  4. Check if your RAM is faulty
  5. Rearrange your RAM modules
  6. Change your BIOS settings
  7. Use msconfig
  8. Modify your registry
  9. Check if your RAM is compatible with your motherboard
  10. Update your BIOS
  11. Be sure that you’re using an official BIOS
  12. Check if you have integrated graphics
  13. Check if BIOS recognizes your RAM

1. Use the 64-bit version of Windows

  1. Press Windows key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Head over to the System section.
  3. Select About from the left pane. In the right pane locate System type.

If you’re not using the 64-bit version, you’ll have to perform a clean install of Windows 10 with Refresh Tool. Keep in mind that this version requires a 64-bit processor.

The process will remove all files from your system partition, so be sure to back them up beforehand. After you install the 64-bit version of Windows, your PC should utilize all your available RAM.

Quick warning, if you already have a 64-bit version and Windows isn’t using all your RAM, there’s no need to reinstall it. Instead, try one of our other solutions.

2. Turn off Auto RAM Virtualization

  1. Press Windows key + S and enter advanced. Choose View advanced system settings from the menu.
  2. When System Properties window opens, click the Settings button in the Performance section.
  3. Performance Options window will appear. Go to the Advanced tab and click on Change.
  4. In the Virtual Memory window, uncheck Automatically manage paging file size for all drives option. Now select each drive on the list and choose No paging file option. Click OK to save changes.

After you make the necessary changes, restart your PC. Up next, check if the problem still appears. If not, you can enable Automatically manage paging file size for all drives feature again.

3. Check if your RAM is properly seated

  1. Turn off your PC.
  2. Disconnect the power cable.
  3. Open the computer case.
  4. Locate the RAM modules.
  5. Make sure that all modules are properly inserted and locked.

If you’re not sure how to check your RAM, it might be best to contact an expert.

4. Check if your RAM is faulty

  1. Download MemTest86 tool and create a bootable media.
  2. Restart your PC and boot from the bootable media.
  3. MemTest will automatically start scanning your RAM.
  4. Leave it running for a few hours.
  5. If an issue is detected, it means that one of your modules is damaged and in need of replacement.
  6. To find out damaged module, scan one memory at the time until you do.

5. Rearrange your RAM modules

  1. Turn off your PC and disconnect the power cable.
  2. Open the computer case and locate your RAM modules.
  3. Get your motherboard manual.
  4. Check the order in which memory should be installed.
  5. If the models aren’t arranged properly, be sure to move them to the correct slots.

6. Change your BIOS settings

  1. Press F2 or Del key while your system boots to access BIOS.
  2. Change the following values:
    • Vitualization – ON.
    • iGPUOFF.
    • Render Stability Enabled
    • iGPU memory Auto
    • Multimonitor Disabled
    • Frame Buffer LocationBelow 4G
  3. Navigate to the Advanced section and select System Agent Configuration.
  4. Select Memory Remap and set it to Enabled.

7. Use msconfig

Note icon
It’s also worth mentioning that many users managed to solve this problem simply by unchecking the Maximum memory option. If it is enabled in Windows, be sure to disable it and check if that solves the problem.

  1. Press Windows key + R and enter msconfig. Press Enter.
  2. System Configuration window will now appear. Navigate to the Boot tab and click on Advanced options.
  3. Check the Maximum memory option and enter the amount you have in MB. 1GB is 1024MB, and since we have 4GB RAM on our PC, that’s 4096MB. For your PC, be sure to enter the correct amount of RAM in MB. After you’re done, click on OK.
  4. Save changes and restart the computer.

8. Modify your registry

  1. Press Windows key + R and enter regedit. Press Enter.
  2. In the left pane navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management
  3. In the right pane, double-click the ClearPageFileAtShutdown DWORD to open its properties.
  4. Set the Value data to 1 and click on OK.
  5. Optional: Several users claim that you need to set Value data for ClearPageFileAtShutdown DWORD to 2 and save changes. After doing that, set the Value data for the same DWORD to 0 and save changes.

Many users reported error when accessing Registry, but that can be easily fixed.

9. Check if your RAM is compatible with your motherboard

Sometimes Windows 10 isn’t using all RAM since memory isn’t compatible with your motherboard. If that’s the case, the PC won’t recognize it and you won’t be able to use it.

To fix this problem, be sure to check your motherboard manual and see if your current memory modules are supported.

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Some RAM models aren’t fully compatible with certain boards, and to fix this issue, you need to replace your memory with a compatible model.

10. Update your BIOS

  1. Visit your motherboard manufacturer’s website.
  2. Go to the select your motherboard model and the Driver & Utility section.
  3. Head over to the BIOS section, locate the latest version, and click on Download.
  4. Once the files are downloaded, extract them to a USB flash drive.
  5. Restart your PC and keep pressing F2 or Del to enter BIOS.
  6. Select the Update option.
  7. Now choose the files from your flash drive.
  8. Wait for the process to finish.

For more information, be sure to visit our guide on how to flash BIOS.

11. Be sure that you’re using an official BIOS

According to users, this problem was caused by modified firmware. Some of them reported that Windows 10 wasn’t using all RAM because they had a modified version installed.

However, they managed to fix the problem by flashing their BIOS and using the one from the official source.

Modified versions can be unsafe to use, so be sure that you’re always using official firmware if you want to avoid any issues.

12. Check if you have integrated graphics

  1. Press Windows key + X and choose Device Manager.
  2. Expand the Display adapters section.
  3. Locate your graphics card.
  4. Google it, and see if it’s integrated or dedicated.

Integrated graphics cards use some of your RAM by design, so if you have one, Windows 10 won’t be able to use all of your memory.

To see how much memory does your graphics card use, and other important information, try using video card information software.

13. Check if BIOS recognizes your RAM

  1. Restart your PC.
  2. While it boots, keep pressing F2 or Del.
  3. Once you enter UEFI, you’ll see all installed modules on your computer.

In case you can’t find a certain module, there might a problem with it, or you might’ve exceeded the RAM limit on your motherboard. Keep in mind that the latter only affects older devices.

Why does integrated graphics use my RAM?

Integrated graphics is built into your motherboard, and it doesn’t have its own memory, therefore it needs to use your memory to work.

Although you can stop the built-in GPU from using your RAM, you can limit the amount that is available to it from BIOS.

How does RAM work?

Your RAM works as high-speed temporary storage, and it allows your processor to quickly access the necessary data.

Data that is actively used, such as your applications, will be stored on it, allowing your PC to use them more efficiently.

Once you close the application, its data is removed from the memory, making space for other data or software to use.

If Windows 10 isn’t using all RAM, you might experience performance issues, but hopefully, these solutions should help you fix the problem.

There are several ways to address this issue, but if you didn’t manage to solve it, you can also limit RAM usage on your PC to optimize it.

Did we miss any of the solutions for this problem? If we have, let us know in the comments section below.

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