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200GB = 186.1 GB when set up, why?

I bought a 200GB Seagate HD and set it up with two partitions (used all unallocated space) and the sum of the two in My Computer is 186.1 GB, why is that? I used Acronis True Image's add a HD feature to set it up.
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davidgareau
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davidgareau
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3 Solutions
 
rindiCommented:
The filesystem you used requires overhead which uses up some space. Particularly if it is ntfs, it needs space for transactional logging (the filesystem keeps logs of what is happening on the disk, this helps to recover from a crash).
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rindiCommented:
A further reason can be that 200GB isn't allways defined the same. Disk Manufacturers often define 1GB as 1'000'000'000 bytes. An OS usually shows 1'024'000'000 as 1GB.
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WatzmanCommented:
First, there are two definitions of all units of storage size measurement:

Decimal:  One "K" = 1,000 bytes
Binary:    One "K" = 1,024 bytes

Decmial:  One "megabyte = 1,000K = 1,000,000 bytes
Binary:    One "megabyte = 1,024k = 1,048,576 bytes

Decimal:  One "gigabyte" = 1,000 megabytes = 1,000,000,000 bytes
Binary:    One "gigabyte" = 1,024 megabytes = 1,073,741,824 bytes

Looking at this last item, the discrepancy is 73 megabytes per gigabyte, almost 7%, and in a 200 gig drive, it's about 14 gigabytes.  That is most of the difference that you are seeing.

Microsoft uses "binary" gigabytes, but drive makers all use Decimal gigabytes.

Then, on top of that, some of the available space on the drive is not available for data storage; it is used for the data structures necessary to manage the disk (master boot record, partition tables, individual partition boot records, directories, FAT tables, etc.)

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davidgareauAuthor Commented:
So, I didn't do anything wrong?  that's alot of data to be missing though, but you're saying that's it, I'm using Fat32, will other file systems improve the use?
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WatzmanCommented:
No, you didn't do anything wrong.

The difference between binary and decimal gigabytes is 7%, which is 14 gigabytes on a 200 gig drive.  Understand, you will some "cluster waste" even beyond that; on average, each file wastes one-half of one cluster of space.  A typical computer has a few hundred thousand files on it, and the cluster size typically ranges from 4K to 16K, so that's another few more gigabytes that are missing (hey, a gigabyte here, a gigabyte there, and pretty soon you are talking about a significant amount of space), but this is within your 186 gigabytes, and is yet another type of loss.

NTFS can be more efficient for some types of files, but it depends on the mix of large files vs. small files.  You've got a 200 gigabyte hard drive, and crazy as this may sound, you can't get too upset about a few gigabytes of wasted space.

By the way, FAT32 file systems can cause some real problems and inefficiencies in processing (not disk useage, but performance) when they get above about 16 gigs, and especially 32 gigs PER PARTITION.  If you have divided your 200 gig drive into FAT32 partitions larger than 32 gigs, you may run into some operations that take a VERY long time.  NTFS is definitely to be greatly preferred for large partitions.
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rindiCommented:
NTFS also gives you more security and some redundancy in the case of a crash.
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WatzmanCommented:
Yes, but if things do go wrong, your chances of getting them "fixed" are much better with FAT32, where far more tools are available, and the security of the file system doesn't work against you.  I know people who have lost their stuff on an NTFS disk when nothing went wrong, but they were using encryption, and either forgot the password or the system or drive failed, and even though they had a backup of the files ... they didn't have a backup of the encryption keys.
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rindiCommented:
Well, these "disadvantages" make a system more secure. If something gets too easy to use, it will naturally also be easier to compromise. There will allway be some compromises to take into your account.
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WatzmanCommented:
Agreed; but security (at least in terms of the disk file system level, not to be confused with virus' and malware) isn't necessarily even desireable in all situations.  What's appropriate for my computer at work, in a building with 1,000 other people, may actually have negative value and be undesireable on my home computer in my bedroom.
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rindiCommented:
Thats one of the compromises I meant. You can go either way and will have to accept one compromise or another.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Just to add to what rindi and watzman have said; basically, you believed the marketing.  It's much better from a marketing standpoint to say 1 GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes, instead of 1,073,741,824 bytes.  Because then you can advertise the drive as larger than it really is.  I believe some people have actually tried to start class action lawsuits get the makers to properly advertise the drives, but I have no idea if they ever got going (rather doubt it and I'm not sure they'd even win...).
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divi2323Commented:
I would like to address the "fat32 is better for data recovery" comment made above.

This may have been the truth 5 years ago, but times have changed.  Yes, a windows 95 boot disk can access all the files on a failed drive, and recover them, but thats not to say NTFS partitions cant be recovered either.  r-studio has an application that can recover failed drives (with alot of success I might add).  there are also ntfs filesystem bootdisks you can use to recover these partitions as well.  if you're so concerned about this type of recovery, why not make a very small linux partition that you have the option of dual booting, mount the filesystem, and load network drivers to get the data offloaded.

As far as NTFS vs FAT32, ntfs is a hell of alot faster and way better at error checking and builds in security to boot.  I really dont know why people still use the crappy fat32 filesystem anymore... it seems the reason i always run into is "if my drive crashes, I can get everything back"... well, if you dont have backups, then you need to re-evaluate your data containment strategy altogether.  I have no problem with people who want to use fat32 on their own, but when these types of folks swear by it and spread the word about how much easier it is to get their data back, it really irritates people who know the truth about ntfs. yes ntfs 4.0 and before was pretty crappy, but ntfs 5.0 (windows 2000, 2003, xp) is very efficient and secure.

Please stop telling everyone that FAT32 is your best option without regard to ntfs.  let the fat filesystem die a happy death.

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WatzmanCommented:

I have no intention of letting the fat file system die, and neither do too many other devices for it to happen.  In case you haven't noticed, I don't believe that there are ANY MP3 players of digital cameras with NTFS.

FAT is better for some purposes in some applications.  And when things do go wrong, it's also far easier to repair, with a far easier chance of repair success.

One size does not fit all.  Both systems have their place.
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davidgareauAuthor Commented:
Alright, children, behave now!

Funny, about a month ago, I had a thread about NTFS vs FAT32 and I think you guys are way more into it... any way thanks for the explanation of the missing 14 GB, I have 2 200GB so I'm losing 28GB, THAT SUX.  I can fill those things up fast... oh well, I have too much music and ebooks anyway says my wife, she's write, I think I'll just get a SATA or SCSI setup when I get back to the US and get like a Terrabyte, I think that's what they call it, 1000GB, but I'll buy 6 200GB drives so I actually get that many GB.
They really need to make HDs bigger, now.

thanks
david

ps I have FAT32 on the two partitions because I use Mandrake Linux as well on this system and it likes FAT32 more, yeah I know they say there are apps to make it write to NTFS fine, and some say it should do it fine already, but it didn't and I'm low on extra time, so till later.  I will just convert to NTFS if I feel like it later.
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rindiCommented:
If I look around hard enough, I'm sure I'll find one those state of the art double height 5 1/4 inch rll HD drives with a bombastic 10 or even 20MB Capacity.
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rindiCommented:
thanx
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
As Obi-wan-kenobi might suggest:

You're not losing anything... what the manufacturers said you were getting was correct -- from a certain point of view - the point of view that one GB = 1,000,000,000 and not 1,073,741,824
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