16 GB RAM, Windows 7 Pro 64-bit, hardware reserved

From Cor ad Cor
Revision as of 22:28, 20 April 2016 by Mxmsj (talk | contribs) (→‎Links to read)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Google search: RAM "Windows 7" "64-bit" "hardware reserved"

After three years of operation, half my RAM has become "hardware reserved."

Hardware Reserved
"Memory that is reserved for use by the BIOS and some drivers for other peripherals."

2016-04-08 2212.png

System info

Gigabyte 990FXA-UD3
AMD FX-8350
Northbridge	AMD RD9x0 rev. 02
Southbridge	AMD SB910/950 rev. 40
Graphic Interface	PCI-Express
PCI-E Link Width	x16
PCI-E Max Link Width	x16
Memory Type	DDR3
Memory Size	16 GBytes
Channels	Dual
Memory Frequency	669.7 MHz (3:10)

Four identical sticks, 4GB, in four slots on motherboard:

    	Memory type	DDR3
    	Module format	UDIMM
    	Manufacturer (ID)	Mushkin (7F7F7F94000000000000)
    	Size	4096 MBytes
    	Max bandwidth	PC3-10700 (667 MHz)
    	Part number	994046
    	Number of banks	8

        DMI BIOS	
    	vendor	American Megatrends Inc.
    	version	FDk
    	date	10/07/2014
    	ROM size	4096 KB

   	Name	AMD Radeon HD 7700 Series
    	Board Manufacturer	GIGABYTE Technology
    	Memory size	2 GB
    	PCI device	bus 1 (0x1), device 0 (0x0), function 0 (0x0)
    	Vendor ID	0x1002 (0x1458)
    	Model ID	0x683F (0x2260)

Windows Version	Microsoft Windows 7 (6.1) Professional 64-bit Service Pack 1 (Build 7601)
DirectX Version	11.0

No overclocking.

System Vendor Information -
ManufacturerGigabyte Technology Co., Ltd.
Serial NumberTo Be Filled By O.E.M.
Chassis TypeDesktop
System ModelTo be filled by O.E.M.
System Typex64-based PC
BIOS Information -
BIOS ManufacturerAmerican Megatrends Inc.
Release Date10/7/2014
BIOS VersionALASKA - 1072009
BIOS VersionBIOS Date: 10/07/14 19:47:45 Ver: 04.06.05
BIOS VersionBIOS Date: 10/07/14 19:47:45 Ver: 04.06.05
Board Product ID990FXA-UD3

Windows Information -
Windows VersionMicrosoft Windows 7 Professional Service Pack 1 Build 7601 64-bit
Serial Number00371-868-0000007-85339
Logged In UserCANISIUS\moleski
System Uptime0 days, 0 hrs, 22 mins, 56 secs

Processor Information -
NameManufacturer L2 Cache Ext ClockLoad
AMD FX(tm)-8350 Eight-Core Processor AuthenticAMD 8192 KB 200 MHz 2 %

Hard Drive Information -
Drive NameCapacityPartitionsStatus
ST1000DM003-1CH162 ATA Device931 GB 1 OK
WDC WD6400AAKS-65A7B0 ATA Device596 GB 1 OK

System Memory Information -
LocationPart NumberMemory TypeCapacity
Node0_Dimm0994046 Unknown4096
Node0_Dimm1994046 Unknown4096
Node0_Dimm2994046 Unknown4096
Node0_Dimm3994046 Unknown4096
Total RAM: 16384 MB, 4324 MB free
Display Adapter Information -
NameVideo RAMColor DepthResolution
AMD Radeon HD 7700 Series-2048 MB321920x1080
Sound Adapter Information -
Device Name
Sound Blaster Z
Webcam 200
High Definition Audio Device
High Definition Audio Device
Look in My PC, Copyright CYBERsitter LLC/Solid Oak Software 2012


  • I have reseated all of the RAM cards. They have been in the computer for three years. I used to have 16 GB free.
  • Swapped them around.
  • Reset CMOS.
  • Re-ran assessment for "Windows Experience" (several times).
  • Total power down, cold reboot--many, many times. Make a change; reboot; check system; Google some more.
  • Tested the RAM via Windows memory diagnostics. All OK. Windows sees all 16 GB, but sets aside HALF of it for "hardware."
  • played with regedit parameter to clear page file on shutdown
  • msconfig / boot tab / checked "Maximum Memory"
This was a huge mistake! Although I saw it set to 16 GB, it in fact seems to have gone to 0. I could not boot Windows!
- run Windows install disk
- select Repair
- CTRL SHIFT ENTER in repair mode to run command interpreter with administrative privileges
- call bcdedit to delete the truncatememory parameter: bcdedit /deletevalue {default} truncatememory
After all this, the "hardware reserved" memory went from 8 GB to 4 GB. That was an improvement. Then I tried a few more fixes, and the system reverted to 8 GB reserved and 7.96 GB free. @#$%&*!
  • Updated the BIOS.
  • Reset BIOS to "optimized" values. That is when the system shifted from 4GB to 8GB reserved. This could be a clue!
  • Reset minimum and maximum values for pagefile.
  • [N/A] Disable motherboard video in the BIOS. There is no motherboard video.
  • [N/A] Enable for "memory mapping" in the BIOS. Not an option in my BIOS.
  • [N/A] Go into the memory options and go to TRL (this setting may be in the memory timings section of the options), and change the value to +2. This allows for the DIMMS to be initialized/detected before the handoff to the OS! Not an option in my BIOS.
  • [N/A] While in memory options set the CHSTRAP or MCHSTRAP to "DRAM RATIO". Not an option in my BIOS.
  • Updated motherboard device drivers.
  • Enabled X.M.P. Profile1. Disabled it again.
  • RAMMap--only maps the @#$%&*! 8 GB accessible to the operating system. It doesn't say who has got hold of the "hardware reserved" memory. Meminfo has the same limitation.
  • [N/A] "Disable AMD turbo core." Couldn't find precisely that setting. I enabled some "high performance" option for the fun of it. No change. I did disable a setting that sounded like a core accelerator. No change.
  • Removed old CMOS battery. Waited 10 minutes. Shorted "clear CMOS" pins. Installed new battery. Accepted default "optimized" BIOS settings and rebooted. No joy. I should have known it wasn't the battery. If the battery HAD died, then I would have gotten the basic startup screen from the BIOS asking me to confirm using optimized settings and boot or reboot. Drat!
  • Tell motherboard to look for PCIE first during bootup. Doesn't seem to be an option. No onboard graphics.
  • Use bcdedit to set truncatememory to 16 GB?
16 * 1073741824 = 17179869184 = 0x400000000
bcdedit /set {current} truncatememory 0x400000000
  • Reverted BIOS to previous version (FD beta to FC).
Available memory rose to 12 GB--but subsided to 7.96 after a few more boot cycles.
  • Updated Mushkin SSD firmware. No change in "hardware reserved."
  • CTRL-F1 to find hidden BIOS settings failed. Just brought up help screen.
  • "Slow down the RAM speed."
I changed RAM speed from auto to a manual setting that matched what the system detected. I got 4 GB back again--until I installed a utility and rebooted.
Tried it again after clearing CMOS totally and installing new battery. Did not get 4 GB back.
  • Looked for bent CPU pin. I haven't touched the CPU in three years. I can't see how any of the pins would have gotten bent in that time. It's a "zero-insertion force" connector. HOWEVER, the goop I put on the heat sink melted and ran all over the place. It was on a lot of pins. I cleaned them as best I could, reinserted the CPU, and was able to reboot. But that was quite a mess!
  • Moved all four sticks of RAM to new locations.
  • Tried some more recommended BIOS tweaks: disabled bootup splash screen, but didn't get any tracing of the POST; disabled Legacy USB support; and turned on XMD. Epic fail.

Not done

  • Try a different graphics card?
  • Sound card?
  • Blame MicroSoft and quit trying to reclaim my memory?
  • Persuade Gigabyte to release a new version of the BIOS for my motherboard. Fat chance.
  • Double my RAM. MicroSoft will still take at least half of it, but I'll be back to where I started. $132 plus shipping.

Changes made over the years

  • Different sound card.
  • Different graphics card.
  • Added second monitor.
In theory, I could take these out and start over. "In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; in practice, there is" (Yogi Berra).

Wild Amateurish Guess

My system used to work fine.

I think MicroSoft changed the operating system.

I don't think I can fix what they broke.

MicroSoft blames Gigabyte.

Gigabyte blames MicroSoft.

Meanwhile, I ain't got no satisfaction.

Momentary success

  • Cold boots seem to help.
Yesterday and today, I powered the computer down completely overnight.
Both morning boots went well--I got back 4 GB from the RAM thief, which is sufficient for my purposes.

Mission accomplished?

2016-04-20 1822 hardware reserved fixed.png

  • Cleaned thermal grease off CPU and cooler (I had used WAY too much when I assembled the machine in 2013).
  • Removed and cleaned RAM contacts with isopropyl alcohol (99% pure denatured alcohol).

Now: 40 MB RAM reserved, close to 16GB available for the system.

I'm writing this after the first boot.

Things could change.

But this is encouraging!

Links to read