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Reasons Why a Hard Drive Doesn’t Show Full Capacity

When buying a hard drive you might be confused that, after installing it, less storage space is shown on the computer than was previously advertised. Why does your 500 GB drive appear as 450 GB drive for example? There are a few reasons that your hard drive doesn’t show full capacity like misleading advertisements from manufacturers or hidden recovery partitions.
The amount of space that manufacturer advertises for the drive is technically correct, but the way that Windows uses the storage devices is different. Manufacturers of hard drives class one KB as 1000 bytes, one MB as 1000 KB and one GB as 1000 MB. However, manufacturers of RAM don’t work like that as they instead use groups of 1024. So with memory, one KB is 1024 bytes, a MB is 1024 KB and a GB is 1024 MB. If a drive manufacturer advertises a 500 GB hard drive then it is essentially going to be 465.66 GB due to the different calculations of what makes up a GB working in tandem. Although the hard drive manufacturers are correct in using powers of 1000, Windows actually follows the memory and uses powers of 1024. This problem doesn’t exist on Mac OS as they have changed their definition of a gigabyte so that the right amount of space in shown.
If you examine the amount of used space on your drive in Windows you might discover that the figure listed doesn’t match up to the contents of your C drive. This is because some files will not appear in Windows Explorer and is referred to as shadow storage. System Restore points and previous versions of files are such types of files. You can see how much shadow storage space is being used by running “vssadmin list shadowstorage” in Command Prompt. If it is too much for your liking then you can go to the System Restore tool in Windows and change how much space it takes up.
Finally, some hard drives have been split in to partitions. One such partition could be one that has been designated for recovery and this will be hidden. Even if you haven’t set it up yourself, some computer manufacturers may have done while creating the system in order to add a layer of protection for your system. As such, it will not come up in the total amount of available hard drive space. In Windows you can use the Disk Management tool in order see how many partitions there are and what they function as. You will also be able to see just how much hard drive space you actually have to play with and what it is all being used on.
In summary, when buying a hard drive you need to be aware that you will not always get the amount of space that is advertised on the front of the box. Some of it may be down to the operating system’s definition of gigabyte or perhaps some of it has been saved as a recovery partition. But don’t be disappointed when that 500 GB drive pops up as just having 450 GB.


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