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Recovering missing hard drive space

Posted on 2004-10-20
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How do I recover missing hard drive space? I have a 120gb hard drive, yet in my computer folder, the capacity reads 100gb. Where did the 20gb go and how can retain them?
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Question by:equanb
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29 Comments
 
LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 12363505
Hard drives are sold assuming 1 billion (1,000,000,000) = 1 GB.  BUT, in reality it's 1,073,741,824 Bytes = 1 GB.  When you do the math, your computer will only have 111 (or so) actual Gigabytes of space, not the misleading 120 the manufacturer claims.

Now, where did your 11 GB go?  It's possibly your system was configured with a "utility" partition which might include a backup of the system as it was shipped from the manufacturer.  It's also possible the partition wasn't created so that 98 could see it properly.  If you can, boot to a 98 boot disk and run FDISK (from C:\windows\command).  Follow the menu options, but do NOT delete anything or you could effectively erase your C: drive.
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LVL 96

Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 12363529
Actually, on second thought, you'd be better off getting yourself a copy of Partition Magic - to be able to reincorporate any unpartitioned space with your existing C: drive, you'll need either Partition Magic or Partition commander to do this.  (and it's always a good idea to do a complete backup first).  

By the way, are you sure you have Windows 98 and not XP or 2000?
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Author Comment

by:equanb
ID: 12363675
Hi leew, thanx for the reply. I recently had a dell computer that came with a 12 gb drive. I purchased and installed another drive (the current one in question) into the dell. It has 120gb and "my computer" gave a readout of 111gb. I was happy with that. I just built a new system with a 2.4 ghz p4 processor, and intel motherboard (865PE chipset). I formatted the drive before assembly and installed into the new system. Installed Windows98SE back on it. and the INF Update utility that came with the motherboard. I upgraded the bios to the latest for the mobo. The system works flawlessly, except it's only showing a capacity of 100gb, instead of 111gb as it previously did.
Any comments would be appreciated.
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 12366638
When you created the primary dos partition on the new hard drive, I assume that you did so using FDISK from a win98 boot floppy.

Are you using FDISK to show the capacity of the hard drive now?

If so, then it COULD be bacause of a problem with the original version of windows 98 FDISK.EXE where, on hard drives over 64 GB, FDISK falsely reports the size of the drive.

I say that this COULD be the problem, because it would normally show the capacity but MINUS 64 GB, not minus 20 GB.

If you think that this DOES relate to what you are seeing, then download the following file and install the updated FDISK file on your system.  Creating a new boot floppy will do so with the newer FDISK file version.

http://download.microsoft.com/download/win98/update/8266r/w98/en-us/263044usa8.exe
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 12366668
Just ignore that last comment.  I see that you are viewing the capacity in Windows under My Computer.
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LVL 38

Accepted Solution

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BillDL earned 750 total points
ID: 12366705
Just out of curiosity, download Everest Home Edition, install and run it:

http://www.lavalys.hu/downloads/everesthome110.exe

Go to the section "Storage > ATA" in the left pane.
Select your hard drive in the upper right-hand pane and look at the "Unformatted Capacity" value shown in MB.  What is the value?

Here's an interesting breakdown of different methods of quoting capacities:

http://www.iamnotageek.com/a/36-p1.php

Possibly the drive is configured differently in the CMOS Setup from the last computer, and may be giving the different values from those shown when in the last computer.
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 12366709
Following on from leew's comment, use the FDISk Option to "DISPLAY partition information".

Does it show any NON-DOS Partitions?
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 12367543
Can it be the difference between the file system of win98 and XP; they use the 4 k cluster size in XP
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Author Comment

by:equanb
ID: 12369643
Hi guys, thanx for reply,
First on the new mobo, Windows98se had to have a drive configuration set Legacy instead of ATA/IDE. I have a print of from intel, which states windows must be changed to Legacy within bios before installing windows98se.
Secondly, FDISK was never used since I never have to partition the drive before installing windows98, or windows98se.
I'm going to run FDISK to see if the drive is partitioned, and will post a reply following. I will dowload the Everest Home Edition, and try it to see what happens and get back to you on that.
Thanx again guys.
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Author Comment

by:equanb
ID: 12377134
I download everest home edition and it indicated I have 100gb of capacity.
I also ran FDISK and the drive is not partitioned.
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Author Comment

by:equanb
ID: 12380675
I have another problem. My floopy drive starts up everytime I type an url in the taskbar address input. and whenever I check mail using outlook express. Any ideas why this happens?
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 12380763
you can try the latest drivers from intel for your motherboard
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 12381365
Boot Sector Virus?
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Author Comment

by:equanb
ID: 12391152
Check for boot sector viruses, and there were none.
Check for latest drivers from intel,  I have the most up-to-date drivers.
Do you think it has anything to do with my on-board LAN? because in my old system i used a nic card.
thanx for the replies guys. I really appreciate the help.
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 12391831
You can always disable it in the bios, and try with a nic card
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Author Comment

by:equanb
ID: 12393191
there are lots of systems that don't have floppy drive in them. How would reformat my hard drive, and re-install windows without the floppy drive?
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 12393217
From the Cd-Rom
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Author Comment

by:equanb
ID: 12394645
Thanx nobus.
I still need an answer to my original question (see above)
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 12397854
When you partitioned the drive, did you use the large disk support ? Look here

http://www.annoyances.org/exec/forum/win98/n1023032300
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Author Comment

by:equanb
ID: 12399982
The hd was never partitioned. win98se was installed on the drive as is
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LVL 92

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 12400294
It is always partitioned, otherwise you cannot format or use it.
You mean there is only one partition, so check it with FDisk, eventually on a bootdisk from :

http://www.bootdisk.com

Pick a windows98SE oem
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Author Comment

by:equanb
ID: 12403628
i ran fdisk and it shows large disk support. I also took the hd out and put back into the system it came from originally, (a dell xps-t 500 p3) it showed in that system, the correct numbers, 111gb total, 108gb free, and 2.36gb used. It is now back in the new system (the one I'm using now as I write this) and showing 100gb total, 97gb free, and 2.36gb used. I'm at my wits end. The system runs fine with viruses or errors on the hd, except for these bogus totals. I'm thinking maybe the new mobo (2.4ghz p4) has something to do with it. Also, does switching the configuration in bios from Enhanced to Legacy have anything to do with it?  Because the configuration must be set to legacy within bios setup before windows98se can installed on the system
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Author Comment

by:equanb
ID: 12403650
that should have beed "runs fine with no signs of viruses or hd errors"
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 12406311
Thank you, equanb.  That certainly is a puzzling one, and it's a pity that none of us have been able to pinpoint the precice reason for these differences between the reported capacities.  I believe that the most likely reason IS as you have stated, ie. the "legacy" and "Enhanced" BIOS Settings.

I'm not entirely sure about this, but I belive that "Enhanced Mode" may be to allow recognition of 64-bit technology and Serial ATA devices, and "Legacy" allows interfacing 32-bit devices and operating systems.  I also understand that Windows 98, 98se, and ME cannot work while set to "Enhanced Mode", whereas "Legacy Mode" would allow them and also Windows 2000 and XP to work, as you have already ascertained.

Perhaps "Legacy USB" support might also be rolled into the "Legacy Mode" setting rather than being a separate setting.  I believe that Legacy USB allows usb mice and keyboards to work with key inputs during POST and in the mouse-enabled CMOS Setups available with some BIOS versions, and also for a usb keyboard and mouse to work in dos and safe mode.

I wonder if there is any difference between how the hard drive is set in the CMOS Setup between those 2 computers? eg. "GENERIC IDE DISK TYPE47" on one, and something else on the other.

If the "Virtual Memory" is set to a fixed amount on one, but the other is set to have windows handle virtual memory, then I wonder if this may "reserve" some of the capacity as unavailable.

This is guesswork, as you might sense, because I'm afraid I really don't know the answer.
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LVL 32

Expert Comment

by:_
ID: 12407327
>> maybe the new mobo (2.4ghz p4) has something to do with it <<     Hmmmmm...Seems I remember seeing something about W98 and speeds over 1gig(?) mhz.  Some people were having weird problems with it and others were not. As usual, I can't find the thread when I need it.   : /
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 12408118
Maybe I'm lucky.  I've had this Pentium 4 1.7 GHz running Win98SE with 512 MB of RAM on 3.5, 4.2, 20, 40, and  80 GB hard drives with no apparently related problems.
There IS, however, something about the 1GHz/GB mark that I recall reading about in connection with AMD processors.  Perhaps that's what's creeping back into your memory.  Don't ask me to quote a link either  ;-)
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Author Comment

by:equanb
ID: 12412305
Yesterday I reformatted and re-partitioned the drive and re-installed it, and it runs better however is still showing 100gb total capacity, so I'm just going to leave it. I emailed westerndigital, and intel. I haven't received a reply yet from neither of them. I will just deal with it. I do plan to buy another larger hard drive. One note; I installed the hd that came with the dell ( 12gb, 7200 rpm), prior to reformatting this one. It already had windows98se on it, and also stated in my computer an incorrect hd capacity. So maybe it is the new mobo. Thanx guys for all your help in this matter. I really appreciate it.
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Author Comment

by:equanb
ID: 12414904
I just received a response from western digital. here is that response below within the quotes:

"The current Windows Operating System may not work correctly on this new motherboard/processor combination as the registry entries, drivers, and resources are different than the previous motherboard and processor. I would suggest backing up the data before transferring this hard drive to the new system. If the Operating System does not boot, then you will need to repartition and reformat the drive and reinstall the Operating System and programs. Also in some cases though the hard drive may come up and appear to work correctly, if the drive size is showing slightly different then in your previous computer, this could be how the BIOS is translation the hard drive. I would always recommend backing up your data and going with a fresh installation when going from one motherboard or system to another.

If you moved a Slave or data drive from one computer to another, this may not always work. Though some BIOS on computers will read a drive the same, this is not always the case. Every motherboard or system manufacture may adjust the shell BIOS that may make them different.

If you feel the drive may be the cause of your problem, I would run our diagnostic program to see if the hard drive has problems."

tomorrow, i'm going to purchase the full version of windows XP and reformat and install it and i'll get back to you guys and let ya know what's what.
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Expert Comment

by:_
ID: 12418197
Interesting. Thanks for the info.   : )
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