I have inherited (lucky me) a very old accounting system which will be retired over the next 18 months. In the meantime, for various reasons, I need to upgrade the DB server.

It's currently running SQL Server 2000 Sp4 Enterprise on Windows 2000 Advanced Server.

The only supported OS I can get to without upgrading the whole application (too costly) is Windows 2003 x64.

I plan to put it on a VMware server, Windows 2003 x64 Enterprise Edition, with SQL Server 2000 SP4 Enterprise Edition x86. The virtual server will have 8GB Ram allocated to it and 4 vCPUs.

Is Sql Server 2000 x86 on Win 2k3 x64able to access the full 8GB of the OS (using PAE or similar?)

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    I admit I never installed a 32bit SQL on a 64bit OS. Is that working, have you tested it or are there limitations in the installer? I know that in general a 32bit process runs on a 64bit machine, but I'm thinking that the SQL installer is complex and does a lot of pre installation tests. Other than that, yes, there's AWE that helps SQL Server access more than the standard 2 GB/process limit of a 32bit Windows. Though you might not want to use the full 8GB of the OS and leave something for the OS too.
    – Marian
    Feb 13, 2013 at 8:34
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    @Marian SQL Server 2000 only shipped in x86 and that other 64-bit dirty word (Itanium). I've installed 32-bit SQL Server 2000 on many 64-bit operating systems, including Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. The 2000 SQL installer wasn't all that complex, compared to more modern versions. :-) Feb 13, 2013 at 15:11

1 Answer 1


Yes, SQL Server 2000 x86 can use AWE to buffer data pages above the 4GB limit. See How to configure SQL Server to use more than 2 GB of physical memory:

sp_configure 'show advanced options', 1
GO sp_configure 'awe enabled', 1
sp_configure 'max server memory', ...

The article also explains how to enable /PAE in boot.ini, but if your OS is amd64 already you don't need it since the OS can already see the entire memory. So all you need is to enable AWE on the x86 SQL Server 2000 instance.

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