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Author Topic: /3GB Boot.ini switch confusion  (Read 8406 times)
Jack Flesher
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« on: July 01, 2005, 05:11:29 PM »
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The 3G switch is automatic with SP1 and SP2; moreover XP-SP2 supports 4G RAM (with footnotes) though only displays 3G in the machine (CS will show the full 4).

To go beyond 4G (or infinity :laugh:) you need XP-64bit.

Knowledge base article 88855 -- addressing 4G ram in XP --gives a clue about the PAE kernel update:
>>
RESOLUTION
To resolve this problem, install Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) or Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). When you install either of these service packs in this scenario, the physical address extension (PAE) kernel is automatically loaded on the computer. For more information about how to obtain Windows Server 2003 SP1, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2005, 09:27:56 AM »
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Sorry, I should have clarified.  There are two aspects to the 3G switch.  The first is the PAE (physical address extention) kernel which allows the OS to address more than 2G RAM.  The next is the switch which allows individual programs to utilize 3G. You need the PAE first, or the switch is meaningless, and if you did not update to SP1 or 2 then you did not get the PAE kernel.

More to the point, I have not been able to get the 3G switch to operate properly with XP-SP2 on my machine anyway.  I gave up worrying about it since in my tests the increase in performance between assigning 1.2G RAM and the full 1.7G to CS was minimal (less than 2% speed increase) on very large files, so I assumed I wouldn't see much gain with 3G; 1.7G of RAM is a bunch, even for 16-bit 1Ds2 files.  Finally, with CS using the full 1.7 I still have 2G available for all other open programs and OS which allows better multi-tasking than if I had 3G allocated to CS -- programs running in the background do not tap the performance of CS at all -- and I do multi-task when using CS.
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IanS
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« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2005, 02:54:52 AM »
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Ray,

I would try to force off the DEP by changing your second boot.ini line to noexecute=alwaysoff along with the /3gb option. Do not add the /PAE either.

PAE makes the OS use a different addressing model that is only required if you want to either use more than 4GB of physical RAM (not possible on your system or Windows XP), or to use hardware based DEP, which for intel requires either a 5xxJ pentium or a new 6xx or 8xx chip. I'm guessing that as you have an 875 chipset you have a socket 478 P4 which doesn't have hardware DEP. DEP by default has to use /PAE so if it's on, you'll see on the system option in the control panel regardless of your boot.ini setting. Some code doesn't handle having larger than 32 bit addresses thrown at it very well, which is what PAE does at the kernel level to device drivers regardless of how much physical RAM is installed.

Another thing that can cause /3GB failure in device drivers is that some assume the kernel etc will always load on the 2GB barrier in the 4GB address space and simply won't work if suddenly they find themselves on a 3GB starting point. Also video cards with large amounts of memory can apparently cause having 1GB of kernel address space to be not enough. In the latter case you can use /userva=xxxx where xxxx is between 2048 and 3072 to increase kernel space and decrease application space to give the OS enough headroom.

I would also advise using the very latest BIOS you can lay your hands on, and also use the latest Intel INF utility too to make sure the base OS has all the right information about your system.

Ian.
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2005, 04:49:31 PM »
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Jack,
It would seem logical to me, the only occasion that an increased amount of RAM would significantly speed things up is when the red light, indicating use of scratch disc, would have come on without the increased allocation of RAM.
Agreed --  ::
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Ray
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2005, 10:15:02 AM »
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After doing a Google search on this topic, I got the impression that implementing this facility was not recommended for Win XP Home and Win 2K Pro, despite the fact that JW seems to be using it without problems on his Win 2K Pro system.

So I bought the upgrade to WinXP Pro hoping to avoid any unexpected hassles. How naive of me! I just can't get my system to reboot after trying the many variations of this edit of the boot.ini file. Eventually, I got a little bit smart and instead of editing the exisiting line
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect, I repeated the line with /3GB added at the end. When rebooting, this gave me the option of choosing which to use. If the 3GB switch didn't work then I could reboot and select the original version, instead of re-installing the O/S (which I first did a few times). That's fine, except it didn't get me anywhere. I tried deleting noexecute=optin because this phrase did not appear in any of the examples I found on the net. I tried changing the OS name to Microsoft Windows XP Professional with /3Gb as well as adding /3GB at the end of the line. This also didn't work.

I've tried reading the relevant Microsoft knowledge based articles but all their examples seem to refer to Windows 2003 Server O/S because these are the situations where implementing the 3gb ini switch seems obligatory.

One last resort is to pay Microsoft A$50 to get advice from a knowlegeable technician. The normal enquiries line doesn't cover this sort of thing, apparently. I'm not sure if I still have to pay the 50 bucks if they don't solve the problem. Does telling me that, say, my Matrox P650 video card is the cause of the problem, a solution?

I thought I might try my favourite photographic forum first .

I forgot the basic description of my system. Gigabyte 875P chipset motherboard; 4GB of DDR 3200 RAM; Pentium 3GHz hyperthreading processor; SATA WD Raptor HD; Matrox P650 AGP video card.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2005, 04:18:12 PM »
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Eventually, I got a little bit smart and instead of editing the exisiting line
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect, I repeated the line with /3GB added at the end. When rebooting, this gave me the option of choosing which to use.
Don't do that, just have the line once with the /3GB added. If you have issues, worst-case scenario would be to pull the drive, put it in another machine, and edit out the /3GB bit.
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dandill
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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2005, 06:05:02 PM »
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Ray, just to be sure, after getting XP Pro, did you then install SP2? I ask becuase several problems with using /3GB are reported by Microsoft to be fixed by SP2.

Dan
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Dan Dill
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« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2005, 02:10:46 AM »
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I should add that in my opinion there's a lot of peurile sales crap that causes an enormous amount of confusion in these circumstances. If there's a conflict between informing the customer or making a sale, then making a sale generally wins.
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dandill
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« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2005, 03:50:25 PM »
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After looking over Ray's shoulder and reading the Microsoft reports, I decided to give the /3GB switch a try on my XP Pro SP2 4GB system. I changed C:\boot.ini to

[boot loader]
timeout=30
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /3GB /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

and then, with some trepidation, rebooted. The system came up normally, and Photoshop now reports

Available RAM: 2699 MB

I neglected to note what it was without the /3GB switch but recall it was about 900MB less ( say, 1800MB). I allocated 2024MB to Photoshop. Things seem now, subjectively, perhaps 25% faster, but I haven't done detailed tests at all. I also have (and had)

Bigger Tiles.8BX

active.
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Dan Dill
Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2005, 07:17:31 PM »
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That's pretty much identical to my experience with Win2K Pro SP4.
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dandill
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« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2005, 08:37:44 PM »
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This will give you the option of either config when you boot.
Thanks very much for this tip.
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Dan Dill
Ray
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« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2005, 08:55:23 AM »
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Rather than modifying the original boot.ini line, make a copy of it and modify the copy. For example:

[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional + 3GB" /3GB /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
Andrew,
This is what I've been doing, but Jonathan didn't seem to think it was a good idea Huh So far, the edited version of the duplicate line that almost worked for me was "Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /3GB ....etc. I knew the second option on boot up was the one to select, but I decided anyway to change the O/S name to "Microsoft Windows XP Professional with 3GB" /3GB ....etc. to see if it made any difference. It seemed to affect the boot up which didn't even get to the desktop icons stage. On some of these attempts I get colored lines, or square patterns of colored lines whilst the OS is attempting to boot, which causes me to think the video card doesn't like what's going on.

Ian,
You've given me some ideas to work on. I think there is a new BIOS update for my motherboard. I'll experiment some more when I get back to base. I need that extra RAM having recently bought a new stitching program which supports huge 16 bit files. I'll also soon be taking delivery of an Epson 4990 scanner which can also produce huge files.

Once I get started on these computer upgrades or modifications, I can't rest till it's sorted  Smiley .
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Ray
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« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2005, 07:44:52 PM »
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Jack,
It would seem logical to me, the only occasion that an increased amount of RAM would significantly speed things up is when the red light, indicating use of scratch disc, would have come on without the increased allocation of RAM.
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IanS
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« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2005, 01:29:17 AM »
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Ray,

Any progress?
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paulbk
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« Reply #14 on: July 01, 2005, 12:46:08 PM »
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I use Win XP Pro, 4GB ram installed, dual head Matrox Parhelia 128MB.

Here's my boot.ini, it works for me. I set Photoshop CS2 memory to 100%. It tells me, Available Ram=2704 MB.

[boot loader]
timeout=20
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /3GB /noguiboot /sos /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
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paul b. kramarchyk
Barkhamsted, Connecticut, USA
Ray
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« Reply #15 on: July 01, 2005, 11:59:44 PM »
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Okay! Thanks for your replies.

To JW: Being unable to reboot my system after changes to the boot.ini file is a real hassle. My computer has a single SATA WD Raptor drive with the OS installed on that. No other drives are recognised apart from the DVD drive.

I've got 2 Raptor drives, the 36Gb and the 76Gb. I can have them both connected to the 2 sata ports on my motherboard, but only one is recognised at a time. In the BIOS set-up, I've got "SATA Port 0 configured as ... IDE Primary Master", However, "SATA Port 1 configures as .... IDE Primary slave" is always greyed out (or more precisely, 'blued out').

I've got no other computer that accepts SATA drives. If I change the boot.ini file and the computer does not reboot, I have no other option but to re-install the O/S.

I cannot take credit for the idea of duplicating the line with the changes before editing. I got it from here

Nevertheless, you might be right. However, I've already tried just adding /3GB to the end of the line (with a space between the preceeding phrase), and it doesn't work.

To Paul: I tried placing the /3GB amendment immediately after the O/S name, as in your example, instead of at the end of the line, and it almost worked. At least the computer booted to the stage of showing all the desftop icons, but then the fatal message, "The application failed to initialize properly ....... etc." Switching off the power was the only way I could get out of this.

To Dandill: This is a new system. Both Win XP Home and Pro include SP2.

To Jack: I failed to access the knowledge base article you refer to, but in any case your post is confusing. (The 3GB switch is automatic with SP1 and SP2? What are you talking about  Huh  Smiley )
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Andrew Larkin
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« Reply #16 on: July 02, 2005, 08:12:04 PM »
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There is no need to potentially paint yourself into a corner by making this change.

Rather than modifying the original boot.ini line, make a copy of it and modify the copy. For example:

[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional + 3GB" /3GB /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

This will give you the option of either config when you boot.

When you are sure of what works, then either delete the one that you don't want, or else change the default to pick your preferred (maybe change the timeout to, say, 5 seconds).

Andrew
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2005, 12:23:50 PM »
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I neglected to note what it was without the /3GB switch but recall it was about 900MB less ( say, 1800MB). I allocated 2024MB to Photoshop. Things seem now, subjectively, perhaps 25% faster, but I haven't done detailed tests at all. I also have (and had)
I'm surprised that bumping from 1.8G (100% of 1800MB) to 2G -- a bump of 10% --  can generate a 25% performance gain.
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Ray
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« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2005, 10:38:03 PM »
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Afraid not! I'm seriously hampered by the fact my system is a one-hard-drive system (for some unidentified reason) and I have no other computer that can handle SATA drives. Program activation can be a real PITA if one needs to re-install everything. Apart from the one-hard-drive issue, the system seems to be working perfectly. Rather than take it in to the 'computer experts' and pay for either a fix or a diagnosis, I've ordered a new all 64 bit system which I'm still waiting for. I expect there'll be problems with drivers and some programs, but I understand Photoshop CS2 is faster in 64 bit and can access more memory. I'll now have 3 working computers, one with Win2K, one with XP pro and one with XP 64bit. What one can't handle the other(s) will (I hope  Cheesy ).
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Ray
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« Reply #19 on: July 15, 2005, 12:22:19 AM »
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Update: There's a delay in delivering my new computer. The Asus motherboard, which was recommended for the Intel 64 bit processor and 64 bit OS, couldn't recognise 4GB of RAM, so they're trying a more recent and more expensive board.

New technology, new problems! I take refuge in the fact that this will not be my one and only computer.
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