Tech Guides 24 Apr 2002 06:00:41

Beating WinME’s 512 MB RAM Limit

I have Microsoft Windows Millenium Edition and I have 2 blocks of 512 MB RAM. Until yesterday I had only had 1 512 MB block installed, because of a limit in non-NT versions of Microsoft Windows (described by MS themselves). I found that a bit of a drag, so I set out to circumvent it in one way or the other. The theory is simple: Install a 512 MB RAMDrive before Windows boots, and use that as Virtual Memory (swap).


  1. Windows ME skips both config.sys and autoexec.bat in the boot sequence.
  2. The standard ramdrive.sys supports max 64 MB per drive.


  1. Install the Real DOS-Mode Patch for Windows Millennium (local mirror)
  2. Use a alternate RAMDrive (local mirror)

But, that still didn’t quite solve my problem. Sure, I used all 1024 MB RAM, but Windows complained about “Not Enough Memory” when starting a DOS prompt. So, in addition, I used both of the tweaks from the MS article and added some lines to my system.ini:

  1. Under the section [vcache] I added MaxFileCache=131072. This will make Windows use max 128 MB RAM for file cache, which in all cases is a good thing. If you want more, just set it to the full 524288 (512 MB).
  2. Under the section [386Enh] I added MaxPhysPage=80000. What this should do, is to make Windows use at max 512 MB RAM. For some reason it is in MB, so I actually told it to use 524288 MB RAM, but it works nonetheless. If it doesn’t for you, use MaxPhysPage=200 or MaxPhysPage=512 instead.

The line I used for my RAMDrive in autoexec.bat is:
XMSDSK 524288 R: /T /C1 /Y


  • I use a 512 MB RAMDrive because I have 1024 MB RAM total (1024 total minus 512 limit is 512 left for drive), but for people with 768 or 640 MB RAM total, or similar, then a smaller RAMDrive is probably better. Also, a RAMDrive smaller than 256 MB should not be used for Virtual Memory.
  • Doing it in this way, by essentially patching the boot sequence, you probably break your Microsoft Windows Millenium Edition license.
  • For users of Microsoft Windows 98 or 98 Second Edition, the Real DOS-Mode Patch for Windows Millennium would not do anything, and should not be installed. Asides from that, the XMSDSK should work with 98 and 98SE, as should the system.ini changes.

5 Responses to “Beating WinME’s 512 MB RAM Limit”

  1. on 21 Feb 2007 at 20:52:37 1.Steve said …

    Great idea for a workaround!

    I tried it and it -almost- works for me and I was wondering if you could help. I get the ramdrive set up and it works fine, but my problem is that windows won’t let me pick it as a an option in my virtual memory settings. Since I can’t pick it, it won’t write the swap file to the ramdrive. It only lets me pick my hard drives. The readme.txt for XMSDSK says that scandisk should test the memory, but it won’t. It thinks the ram drive is a cd-rom drive and refuses to test it, which also makes me notice that I can’t pick my cd/dvd rom drives either as my virtual swap drive.

    I see that you play WoW. Ironically, that is the program that I’m trying to get running. The website link above is the forum post that I’m working on to resolve the error 132. (If you read it, start at the bottom.)

    I run Win98se instead of WinMe, but I’m still hoping you have some ideas to get that swapfile onto the ram drive.

  2. on 22 Feb 2007 at 06:32:18 2.Steve said …

    I was able to successfully put the swap file onto the ram drive after all by editing the system.ini file direct:

    However that didn’t help. I still got the same crappy crash. So I guess my original work around will have to do, which was to limit my memory = 800megs using msconfig -> advanced. It wastes 200 megs, but at least it is stable.

    If you have any ideas/suggestions please contact me.

  3. on 30 Sep 2007 at 22:48:53 3.duane said …

    also you can use the msdos command ‘label’ in the autoexec.bat file and then change the label of your ramdrive to anything else but its default and , you will then be able to access your ramdrive, after you do this from not only the system properties-virtual mem page but also other programs like photoshop.

  4. on 06 Dec 2007 at 08:57:49 4.Rudolph Loew said …

    I have developed a Patch for Windows 98, 98Se and ME that supports up to at least 3647MB of RAM. All of the RAM is available to Windows. More information is at my website: or

  5. on 01 Dec 2010 at 07:18:50 5.Rudolph Loew said …

    My website for the RAM Patch for Windows 98, 98se and ME has been moved to as AOL no longer operates it’s web hosting service.

    Rudolph R. Loew

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