Configure Windows 9x to handle more than 1 GB RAM

Windows 95 / 98 / Me has a limitation for how much memory they can handle, actual if having 1 GByte (1024 MByte) or more, then it might keep Win9x from starting at all. And give messages like these or reboot continuously:

There is not enough memory available to run this program. Quit one or more programs, and then try again.

Insufficient memory to initialize windows. Quit one or more memory-resident programs or remove unnecessary utilities from your Config.sys and Autoexec.bat files, and restart your computer.

To solve this, do one of the following :
  • Take out your memory and only use 512 Mbyte.
  • Limit the VCACHE to a maximum of 512 MByte. As it is not able to configure itself properly with large amount of memory available.
  • Limit the available memory for Windows to use to 768 MByte.
    Do this by editing the C:\Windows\System.ini and add this setting to the [386enh] section.

    [386enh]
    MaxPhysPage=40000

More Info MS KB304943
More Info MS KB253912
More Info MS KB184447
More Info MS KB181862

Updated: 26 February 2007

Comments:

  1. David Weston says:

    just installing win 98 for my son to play some old games on a pc with 2GB memory. Did as you say
    [386enh]
    MaxPhysPage=40000

    and the windows 98 setup has continued past the memory issues. Thanks a lot. Perfect

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