2 GB limit

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The 2 GB limit refers to a physical memory barrier for a process running on a 32-bit operating system, which can only use a maximum of 2 GB of memory.[1] The problem mainly affects 32-bit versions of operating systems like Microsoft Windows and Linux, although some variants of the latter can overcome this barrier.[citation needed] It is also found in servers like FTP servers or embedded systems like Xbox.[citation needed] The use of Physical Address Extension (PAE) can help overcome this barrier.[clarification needed]

32-bit processes running on 64-bit Windows are also limited to 2 GB by default, but executables can have a "large address aware" flag set to increase this to 4 GB.

It could also refer to the maximum partition size for the FAT16 file system in versions of Windows prior to XP.[2]


  1. ^ Richardson, Mike (24 July 2014). "Overcoming the Windows 2GB Caching Limit". O'Reilly Media. Retrieved 2015-08-18. 
  2. ^ "Maximum partition size using the FAT16 file system in Windows XP". Microsoft. Retrieved 2015-08-18. 

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