How can I recover the FULL drive size from a bad partitioning?

Posted on 2004-10-24
Last Modified: 2010-04-03

Originally my 250GB drive was formatted badly as an NTFS drive.  I wanted to delete the partition and reformat the hard drive using Western Digital's DataLifeGuard Tools.  I went to my computer and right clicked and chose "manage" then clicked disk management.  This drive still had data on it but I did not care about loosing this data, so I right clicked on the drive and deleted the partition.

In the mean time, I installed a brand new 250GB WD hard drive and formated it fine with Western Digital's software.  Then I went back to format my old 250GB drive with the software, but the largest partition I could get it to read was 137GB.  I had just installed the new 250 fine without the 137GB problem, the software did some kind of update for me and everything was ok.  So I went ahead and formatted and partitioned it and now its at 131GB (goes down to 128 after full formatting).  

How can I recover my full 250GB of drive space, and get it formatted back to FAT32?  I've read some articles, but nothing matches exactly my situation, so I wanted to put it out for some help.  I already spent 70$ on some fancy software but they didnt tell me before I bought it that I would need a parallel or serial mouse to use under DOS which is where the program runs from, and the software only works on the C: drive, so I would have to switch the drives after I started the software in DOS?  

In any case, before I go wasting more money on useless software, could someone please make some recommendations to me.  I also tried running the recovery console with my windows XP CD and i deleted the partition of the E drive, but when I went to format it with the recovery console, it still reads as only 137ish GB.


Question by:CianCW
    LVL 12

    Expert Comment

    perhaps this will fix it:;en-us;303013

    hope this helps

    LVL 91

    Expert Comment

    If you want to format it in FAT32 : read this (32 GB limit) :;EN-US;184006

    so you would have 32 GB partitions

    here a comparison :

    Basically, why do you want to format it in Fat32 ?
    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    Heres a step by step guide on how to recover lost space;

    Some background:
    Lost space can be caused by the inability of the OS to read the complete space allocation due to ether an incompatibility or corrupted formatting issues, that is leaving any hardware issues.

    If you are using Windows XP/2000, you have a very powerful tool within the OS that can analyse and treat such problems:

    1. Enter command prompt (Start => Run... => Type 'cmd'  and press 'Enter').
    2. Within command prompt type 'diskpart' and press 'Enter'.
    3. Type 'list disk' and press 'Enter' to view the drive's list (along with the alledged malfunctuion drive).
    4. Type 'select disk <Enter the number of the malfunction disk>' and press 'Enter.
    5. Type 'clear' and press 'Enter' to clear all information (along with error enteries).
    6. Type 'Exit' twice to exit to Windows and try to re-format the drive...

    Diskpart ussage and tool description:

    Good luck


    Author Comment

    I tried the diskpart answer that cyber suggested, exactly as described except that clear is "clean" in my menu options under diskpart.  Unfortunately, when I started the data lifeguard tools, it sees the drive needs to be formatted, but its still only seeing it as 137GB. (I did get a message from diskpart that the clean was successful on the drive).  I'm not sure why this drive has the 137GB limitation when my other 250 is fine.  Also, I am using Win XP home (SP 2), so I should have the files necessary to have HD's larger than 137GB.  I'll check my ATAPI file that the link in suggestion 1 above mentions and see what happens.

    I'm not sure what the difference is, but I have 3 other drives that are all FAT32 formatted (40GB, 160GB and 250GB) and they are not in 32GB partitions so I dont know how or why 32 GB is required...maybe that was for older OS versions...anyways, thats not my problem.

    I mean sure I'll take 137GB over nothing, but I'll be damned if I won't try my hardest to get back the full 250GB on this drive.

    LVL 15

    Expert Comment

    Another idea:
    Via 'diskpart' you can see the 'partitions' and their sizes. If you type 'select disk <the number of detine drive>' and then 'detail disk' you may see the drive's actual size, model and forth. Do you still see a total of 137GB drive?

    LVL 91

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