Memory Addressing Limit for 98SE?

By rovoco ·
One of my clients recently requested a memory
upgrade to his Windows 98SE PC. He had been
running 512 MB and wished to increase it to
1 GB. I confirmed that his motherboard would
accept up to 3 GB of PC2100 RAM. Rather
than mix memory modules, I obtained two new
512 MB PC2100 modules and installed them.

The machine booted fine, but Windows refused
to load, giving me a plethora of error
messages related to the config.sys and the
autoexec.bat files. This client runs a few
DOS aps, and needs these files. They both
appeared to be normal. After testing the
memory, which was fine, I removed the second
512 MB module and tried again. The PC booted
OK and Windows started up and ran fine. I
don't recall if Win 98SE has a maximum
memory limit or not. The client stated that
DOS 6.2 was installed first, then Windows
3.1 and finally, a Windows 98SE upgrade.

I don't see any aps on this box that needs
1 GB of RAM, but it would be nice to be able
to tell the client that Win 98SE can only
address 512 MB. Can anyone confirm?

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All Answers

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Try this

by Slayer_ In reply to Memory Addressing Limit f ...
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by cmiller5400 In reply to Memory Addressing Limit f ...

May be time to invest in a new machine and run those pesky dos apps in a Virtual Machine.

I had to do this for a dos based game I loved...

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98 has a upper limit of 756 MEG of RAM

by OH Smeg In reply to Memory Addressing Limit f ...

If you want to use more you should edit the Registry if I remember correctly but one of the above links provided by SS should solve the problem.

It was a common Hack when RAM Started to get cheaper years ago. Though personally I never used more than 1 GIG of RAM with 98.


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Native 511 MB Limit

by TheChas In reply to Memory Addressing Limit f ...

As you have discovered, the native limit limit for Windows 98 was 511 MB of RAM. While some systems would run with 512MB, many would crash with 512 just as your client's system crashed with 1GB.

I always limited my W98 systems to 384MB as that was a good amount of RAM back then.

As has been posted, you can edit the system files to allow W98 to run with just a little bit more RAM than it was designed for.

Another site that has this and other fun(?) issues documented is

If your client needs to keep running Windows 98, the next issue you may run into is the limit on hard drive size even with the updated FDISK utility. Consider getting a couple of 60 and 120 GB drives so that you can replace or upgrade a hard drive for them.


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98 would have max of 120gig I believe

by Slayer_ In reply to Native 511 MB Limit

I ran 98SE on my machine for a long time, with a 120gb drive and 512 RAM. Was an unstable POS but it was all I had till I got XP.

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132 or 137GB

by IC-IT In reply to 98 would have max of 120g ...

The main issue would be (as already pointed out) any BIOS limitations.

Win98SE could format the 1TB drives, but I wouldn't use a partition for 98 larger than the title size.

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Saqib Fareed

by sfareed In reply to Memory Addressing Limit f ...

This limits the amount of physical RAM that Windows can access to 768 MB. To do so, use the following steps:

Please visit Microsoft site article Q184447

1. Use any text editor (such as Notepad) to edit the System.ini file.
2. Add the following line in the [386Enh] section of the file


3. Save the file, and then restart your

If this problem occurs during Windows Setup, use the following steps to resolve the issue:

1. Restart your computer. When you see the "Starting Windows 95" message, press the F8 key, and then choose Command Prompt Only from the Startup menu.

For Windows 98, restart your computer, press and hold down the CTRL key until the Startup menu appears, and then choose Command Prompt Only.
2. Change to the folder into which you are attempting to install Windows.
3. Edit the System.ini file. To do so, type edit system.ini, and then press ENTER.
4. Add the following line in the [386Enh] section of the file


5. Save the file, and then restart your computer. Windows Setup should continue.

Microsoft article Q184447

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Thank you all for your help!

by rovoco In reply to Memory Addressing Limit f ...

I was surprised and very pleased that so many IT professionals from all over the world took the time to respond to this post.

I shall try the system.ini file edit, install
768 MB of RAM and give it a try.

Thank you all, very much!


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NO I think you misread the above post

by OH Smeg In reply to Thank you all for your he ...

Windows 98 will support up to 768 MEG if you go above that amount you need to do the edit.


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