PAE X86 Technical Reference

Applies To: Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 R2, Windows Server 2003 with SP1, Windows Server 2003 with SP2

PAE X86 Technical Reference

Physical Address Extension (PAE) X86 is one of two technologies that increase the amount of physical or virtual memory available to applications. The other technology is 4-gigabyte tuning (4GT). For more information about 4GT, see “4GT Technical Reference.”

PAE X86 allows applications using the Address Windowing Extensions (AWE) API set and running on a computer with more than 4 gigabytes (GB) of physical memory to map additional physical memory into the application’s virtual address space. Applications not using the AWE API set can also benefit from PAE X86 because the operating system uses the larger physical memory to reduce paging and thus increase performance. This is of particular benefit to consolidation servers hosting multiple applications.


  • PAE X86 is not required on the 64-bit versions of the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 family.

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