troubleshooting Question

Windows XP Misreports Hard Disk Size

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Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!

Here's the problem:
1. Customer has Dell XP Home PC with 2 hard disks.  
2. The second hard disk in the PC has a boring life, it does NOTHING except have a backup zip file written to it 1x per day.  Zip file is large (100Mb).  Hard disk is a 40GB Maxtor DiamondMax Plus.  The drive is about 18 months old.  Formatted NTFS.
3. Customer calls with a drive running out of space issue.  Deleting files off the drive makes no difference to reported size.  Properties reports an incorrect size for the drive.  
4. Disk check comes out clean but disk still reports wrong size. Drive cannot be used for backup as complains it is full.  It should have 20GB + available.
5. This is the second occurence of this problem.  The first occurence happened at another location but with identical hardware (same model Dell PC, same brand backup hard disk).  In the first occurrence, I swapped the drive itself.
6. When the swapped drive was brought back to my office I solved the problem by reformatting the drive.
7. I used a Maxtor hard disk checking utility on the drive and it tested OK.

-Why is this happening?
-Can I trust these drives after reformatting them?



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