Enable Physical Address Extension (PAE)

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

To enable Physical Address Extension (PAE) X86

  1. Open Windows Explorer.

  2. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.

  3. On the View tab, click Show hidden files and folders, clear the Hide protected operating system files check box, and then click OK. If you are presented with a warning dialog box, click Yes to continue.

  4. In the root folder (for example, C:), locate the Boot.ini file and remove its read-only attribute.

  5. Open the Boot.ini file, and then add the /PAE parameter to the ARC path, as shown in the following example for Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition:

    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\%systemroot%="Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition" /PAE

  6. On the File menu, click Save.

  7. Restore the read-only attribute to the Boot.ini file.

  8. For the change to take effect, restart the computer.


  • To perform this procedure, you must be a member of the Administrators group on the local computer, or you must have been delegated the appropriate authority. If the computer is joined to a domain, members of the Domain Admins group might be able to perform this procedure. As a security best practice, consider using Run as to perform this procedure.

  • To open Windows Explorer, click Start, point to All programs, point to Accessories, and then click Windows Explorer.

  • This topic does not apply to Windows Server 2003, Web Edition.

Information about functional differences

  • Your server might function differently based on the version and edition of the operating system that is installed, your account permissions, and your menu settings. For more information, see Viewing Help on the Web.