Use 64GB of RAM on 32-bit Windows? It can be done

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Pau Monfort
@paumonfort
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The work of Allievi it is based on Intel PAE technology (Physical Address Extension), which the US company introduced many years, but which Microsoft has never integrated into Windows, explaining that there are incompatibilities with the operating system kernel. To use more RAM, therefore, the solution is to switch to a 64-bit operating system - a statement that also applies to non-Windows OSes.

Allievi however found that the technical justification is not completely solid. In fact, examining the Window 8 EFI loader, the researcher found code that explicitly prevents using over 4 GB of RAM on 32-bit Windows, unless you are using a server. By changing this code it is therefore possible to exceed the limit even if you are using Windows 8 (or earlier) 32-bit.



And this is exactly what the bootkit developed by Allievi does. Using it companies and individuals will be able to use their old 32-bit system, but take advantage of up to 64 GB of RAM. A decisive advantage in many contexts, especially in companies: in fact, there are many administrative applications that are not yet compatible with 64-bit operating systems, and which require the use of 32-bit ones; in these cases the possibility of increasing the RAM is therefore essential to obtain greater performance.

From a technical point of view, the Safer Bytes bootkit installs in the disk's Volume Boot Record (with NFS file system), and works on all Windows systems installed on the computer, if there is more than one. Furthermore, this feature potentially paves the way for compatibility with other operating systems as well. The Allievi article (in English) contains installation instructions and some technical explanations on how Windows manages available physical memory.


Allievi also created a safe installation procedure, which stops if it detects elements that could potentially damage the machine, and informs the user. There are still some bugs to be fixed, and in fact Safer Bytes gladly accepts the collaboration of anyone who wants to help with testing.


On the other hand for Safer Bytes this is not a commercial project. The company takes care of security, but makes this tool available for free. A feature that makes the result even more deserving. At this point, anyone who uses a 32-bit version of Windows and prefers to invest in RAM rather than a completely new computer has to try the SaferBytes bootkit.


 

Use 64GB of RAM on 32-bit Windows? It can be done

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