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I too am only seeing half my Ram... I have Vista Ultimate 64bit and Intel core 2 quad processors with 8GB of Ram, but AE only shows 4GB... Shouldn't AE reconize the 8GB? (I did notice however that in the preferences for Maximum Memory Usged was preset to 120% but under Image Cache at 60% Maximum RAM Cache is 2.4GB)
On Vista 32, AE will use 3 GB at most (2.78 or something exactly). The supposed 3.9 certainly are an error, either in AE or some system DLL, so the reported memory is wrong - AE never has used that much to begin with regardless of its update state.
No, AE is still a 32 bit app and as such will at most use 4GB. You can increase RAM usage and rendering performance by spawning additional background instances using multiprocessing for RAM previews and rendering, but that's it.