Microsoft KB Archive/108393

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The /maxmem switch in the Windows Boot.ini file

Article ID: 108393

Article Last Modified on 2/20/2007


  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.1
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1

This article was previously published under Q108393


An undocumented /maxmem switch is mentioned on page 160 of Volume 3 of the Microsoft Windows NT Resource Kit. This switch enables you to specify the maximum amount of random access memory (RAM) memory that Windows NT may use.

This switch is undocumented because it works only on very specific configurations. The amount of memory must be contiguous. Microsoft has not committed to keeping the switch in any future releases of Windows.


This switch is placed at the end of the ARC path that is specified in the [operating systems] section of the Boot.ini file, as in this example:

   multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\winnt="Windows NT" /MAXMEM=12

This example forces Windows NT to use only 12 MB of RAM, ignoring everything else above this. This switch may be valuable in troubleshooting parity errors, mismatched SIMM speeds, or other memory related problems.

Please note that you should never set the value of /maxmem to be less than 8, or Windows NT may not boot reliably. This switch is valid only on the x86 architectures, and is not available on the MIPS or Alpha platforms.

In Windows 2000 Professional, do not set /maxmem lower than 64 MB. In Windows 2000 Server and Windows 2000 Advanced Server, do not set /maxmem lower than 128 MB. In Microsoft Windows Server 2003, do not set /maxmem lower then 1024 MB. In other operating systems, check the minimum system requirements before you set /maxmem.

Additional query words: prodnt 3.10, NMI error 3.5 4.0 boot.ini memory.dmp dump 3.50 3.51 4.00 kbenv

Keywords: KB108393