As much as I’ve tried to inform CorelDRAW users about the useless Memory setting, I still see it referenced on a regular basis. So I’m going to ask all of you to read a post from 2008 titled Memory Usage Setting Does Nothing.

The most recent reference I saw to this setting was from a user who had 5 GB of memory installed in their computer and was complaining that Corel PHOTO-PAINT only was using 2 GB. I thought it was a good time to re-visit this topic and well as explain a few more things.

If you are using a 32-bit operating system, you can use a maximum of 4 GB of RAM. That isn’t a limitation imposed by CorelDRAW or any other software, it is imposed by Windows. And even if you have 4 GB of RAM, only around 3 GB will truly be available to use due to Windows limitations. I’m guessing that most of you have hardware that is capable of running a 64-bit operating system. The key is installing a version of Windows that is 64-bit. You can do this with Windows XP, Vista or 7. In fact, I’m pretty sure that all flavors of Windows 7 include both 32-bit and 64-bit versions in the box. It is simply a choice you make when installing. Before you run out and do this, you need to do some homework first.

When running a 64-bit operating system, you must have 64-bit drivers for your hardware. So check with the manufacturers of each of your devices and make sure such a driver exists. When I installed Windows 7 64-bit last fall, I had no problem finding drivers for my equipment. If you have older hardware, you might find it difficult to find a driver. This is especially true for some of the machines used in the production world such as laser engravers.

Unless you have a fairly new computer, I personally think you should wait to move to 64-bit when you get a new system just to make sure all the parts will have drivers. RAM is fairly inexpensive in comparison to other components. When I built my new computer, I installed the maximum RAM possible (12 GB). Just because that much memory exists does not mean CorelDRAW can use all of it. Even under a 64-bit operating system, 32-bit programs are still limited to 2 GB of memory each. The benefit of having a large amount of RAM is that you can have multiple “big” applications running at the same time and still have memory to spare. As I write this, I have six “big” applications and numerous smaller ones running and only 3.5 GB of memory is being used.

Even if you move to a 64-bit OS, CorelDRAW is still 32-bit software so it will not use more than 2 GB of memory. Unless you are working with some incredibly big bitmap images, that is well above what you need. Yes, the Memory setting in CorelDRAW will show you have more than 4 GB of  RAM and it will even let you change the setting to whatever number you want. I will repeat once again that the Memory Usage setting does absolutely nothing! So if it makes you feel better to change the setting, have fun. It just won’t do anything to improve the performance at all. I can also pretty much guarantee that the development team will remove this in future versions so that users won’t be under the impression it does anything.

I do encourage you to move to a 64-bit operating system. Just make sure your system and all of your hardware is ready for 64-bits. As more users move to 64-bits, I think we’ll see more software released in a 64-bit version to take advantage of the new hardware and all that extra memory.

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