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Can't get full capacity from HDD

Posted on 2003-11-06
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Last Modified: 2010-04-14
I don’t know whether this is a hardware or a software problem.  I’m posting it under W2k because I’m thinking that it may have something to do with either the Windows OS or with Windows Explorer (WE).  This is an ongoing problem and any help or reference to another site for assistance will be appreciated.

My HDD (Maxtor 120GB) does not report all the free space that it has.  The space not reported is actually not available, which severely diminishes the capacity of the drive.  At present, if I right-click on the drive and select “Properties” it shows about 109GB taken and 14GB available.  If I go to the right-hand pane of WE. “Select all”, and look at “Properties” it reports only 74GB total for all files/folders on the drive.  I’m showing all hidden files.  I need about 26GB to “render” a large video project, and need the 74GB of raw data for the project, so further deleting files from the drive is not an option without redoing the project.

This happened about 3 months ago (the drive is about 6 months old) and I couldn’t figure out how to get the space back without reformatting the drive (which I did).  The drive then appeared to operate okay until I started placing/removing these very large files on it.  Actually, I had the drive filled to about 100 GB and deleted/moved some large files (10-15GB each) in order th get the required 26GB free space needed.  The drive just doesn’t appear to return all of the capacity.  I’ve done a “disk cleanup” and emptied the recycle bin.

I’ve defragmented the drive and used Norton Disk Doctor to try to diagnose the problem.  All of the Windows and Norton utilities report that the capacity is indeed not available.  I just can’t find out where the files are to clean them off the disk.

I’ve also contacted Maxtor and they sent me some HDD diagnostic utilities that say that the drive is operating normally.

Will reinstalling Windows help?  Will I lose my large video project (about 40 hours of work) if I reinstall Windows (if needed)?  I hate to buy a redundant 120GB drive just to save the info on the drive in question.  Is there software that can help to diagnose the problem and clean the “unused” space so that it’s available?

Any help or advice is appreciated.  I hope that I’ve given enough information for you to see that this is not an elementary problem (e.g., not files left in recycle bin).  I can present screen captures or any other information if it will be helpful.
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Question by:lbeck
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8 Comments
 
LVL 11

Expert Comment

by:adonis1976
ID: 9695039
109 GB taken and 14 GB available on a 120 GB HDD, i dont know how this is possible 'cos 109 and 14 make 123 GB which is not possible. The HDD capacity is always shown little less than the manufacturer's specs. for eg, if it is 120 GB, it might show like 119 GB or so, surely not more than tha. I think you need to speak to Maxtor again.
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Author Comment

by:lbeck
ID: 9695133
Okay, you caught me estimating on the arithmetic.  I actually think this drive was advertized as a 120GB drive with "5GB free" or something like that.  Don't hold me to the numbers.  The available capacity is way off in Explorer, as detailed in my explanation.  This
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Author Comment

by:lbeck
ID: 9695143
Okay, you caught me on the arithmetic.  I actually think this drive was advertized as a 120GB drive with "5GB free" or something like that.  Don't hold me to the numbers.  I’m estimating from memory. The available capacity is way off in Explorer, as detailed in my explanation.  This isn't a matter of a byte being actually 1024 bites or something like that.

What I’m looking for is something that can analyze the drive and tell me what’s actually on there and how to get rid of it.  Explorer and Norton isn’t doing that.
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Author Comment

by:lbeck
ID: 9695147
Okay, you caught me on the arithmetic.  I actually think this drive was advertized as a 120GB drive with "5GB free" or something like that.  Don't hold me to the numbers.  I’m estimating from memory. The available capacity is WAY off in Explorer, as detailed in my explanation, and is actually not available on the drive.  This isn't a matter of a byte being actually 1024 bites or something like that.

What I’m looking for is something that can analyze the drive and tell me what’s actually on there and how to get rid of it.  Explorer and Norton isn’t doing that.
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LVL 11

Accepted Solution

by:
adonis1976 earned 250 total points
ID: 9695264
here is a link that might help u

http://www.winwarelinks.com/apps/utilities/disk_management_utilities.htm

take a look into treesize professinal and Pc Garbage remover for sure.
0
 
LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:boxcar7
ID: 9697090
I think the problem is the way that the disk was initially formatted.  By default, Windows 2000 will pick a larger cluster size for larger partitions, to maximize efficiency.  However, if you have a lot of smaller size files this can be problematic as each file will use at LEAST one cluster and will take additional space in cluster increments.  To get a feeling for this, right click a file, go to properties and look at the "Size" versus the "Size on Disk" on a small file.

Unfortunately, off the top of my head, the only way to adjust the cluster size is to reformat (although I would have to think *somebody* has a utility out there for this).

Is this possibly your problem?
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:boxcar7
ID: 9697146
Here is a great article on your exact issue from MS:
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;303079


If you suspect alternate data streams might be the issue (possible, but unlikely), there is a great freeware utility for this:
http://www.heysoft.de/Frames/f_sw_la_en.htm
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Author Comment

by:lbeck
ID: 9701270
As a newbie I'm not sure about the system here, or even whether my point status will allow this comment to be posted, so I'll reply to all of the above.

First to adonis1976 - Forgive my mediocre grade of C, but I had a hard time balancing the good and bad answers.  Your first response was a little trite and not much help.  I wasn’t asking for a check on my arithmetic.  Numbers were presented from memory and I would think from my question that you should have figured that I wasn’t concerned about the relatively minor difference between 1024 bytes to a megabyte (or whatever).  The discrepancy is in the tens of GB range.  I give your first response a D-.  However, the website that you presented is excellent and I’m thinking may ultimately allow me to diagnose the problem.  For this you get an A.... I’ll change that to A+ (with extra credit for providing me with utilities for problems I haven’t encountered yet) if I actually get a solution.  I haven’t tried all of the software yet.  I have the treesize freebee and it reports the 76GB of space as occupying the entire disc, as shown at http://beckda46.freeservers.com/llbpages/treesize.jpg
 
Treesize professional looked promising from their website, and it does present some spiffy graphics.  I downloaded it, though, and it reports basically the same info in different formats as in http://beckda46.freeservers.com/llbpages/treepie.jpg .  I used chkdsk from the DOS prompt thinking that maybe the HDD is recognized as a smaller drive, but it does indeed show as a 120GB drive, as shown at http://beckda46.freeservers.com/llbpages/chkdsk.jpg  .  PCGarbage doesn’t look that promising given that I’ve already used utilities like Norton’s CleanSweep to get rid of the small temp files and such.  However, some of the utilities like Disk Investigator look quite promising.  This may allow me to look at each sector and see what’s really there.  I’ll report my findings

Boxcar – Your advice is good.  The MS article does appear to address the problem.  I haven’t waded through all of it yet, but did do the chkdsk mathematics and everything appears to be in order there (see chkdsk URL above).  On the cluster size issue, I do recall during the reformatting that I did a few months back (for this same issue) I chose a large cluster size.  I don’t think this is the problem.

Thanks to both of you for your inputs.  I’ll keep trying and report my findings if my point standings will allow me to post.
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