Microsoft small business knowledge base

Article ID: 2303409 - Last Review: February 22, 2013 - Revision: 13.0


When you start Zoo Tycoon 2, you receive an error message: 

You need at least 256 MB of system memory to run Zoo Tycoon 2. (___ MB detected).


This error may occur if you try to run the game on a 64-bit operating system with more than 4GB of RAM (Random Access Memory). 


Zoo Tycoon 2 is compatible with a 32-bit or 64-bit operating system with less than 4GB of RAM. 

To resolve this issue, upgrade your version of the game by purchasing and installing expansion packs such as Zoo Tycoon 2: African Adventure or Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals.

Note To play either of the expansion packs, you must have Zoo Tycoon 2 installed. 

You may also decide to return Zoo Tycoon 2 to the point of purchase and obtain Zoo Tycoon 2: Ultimate Collection instead. Zoo Tycoon 2: Ultimate Collection includes the original game and the Extinct Animals, Marine Mania, Endangered Species and African Adventure expansion packs.

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Zoo Tycoon® 2: Extinct Animals 

Buy Now (
Zoo Tycoon 2: African Adventure

Buy Now (
Zoo Tycoon 2: Ultimate Collection

Buy Now (

To determine whether a computer is running a 64-bit or 32-bit operating system, visit the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article: 

827218 How to determine whether a computer is running a 32-bit version or 64-bit version of the Windows operating system  ([anySimpleType]/ )


If you do not want to upgrade, adjust the memory in Windows. To do this follow these steps:

Note You must be logged on as an administrator or a member of the Administrators group to complete these steps. If your computer is connected to a network, network policy settings may also prevent you from completing these steps.

  1. Click Start 
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    , type msconfig in the Start Search box, and then click Msconfig.exe in the Programs list.
  2. On the System Configuration window, click the Boot tab.
  3. Click Advanced options.
  4. Click to check the Maximum memory box and select or type 2048 or 4096.
  5. Click OK. Click Apply.
  6. Restart the computer when you are prompted. 
  7. When you return to Windows, start the game. 

Note If another application on your computer requires more RAM, repeat steps 1 through 4 and then click to clear the Maximum Memory box. Click OK to restart your computer. 

Applies to
  • Microsoft Zoo Tycoon 2
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