partition removal makes disk half size?

i did some searching through the forums w/o any real relation to my specific issue... maybe someone has an idea.

this has happened three times now (all seagates) two 20 gig'ers and a 10 gig, each read half the size now and not sure why. i get mixed feedback from the different systems i put them in, but its usually just less than half the size they should be. most of the computer bios' see them as the true size.

i do a lot of tinkering with crap my company thows away, so "new" machines are built and i try out different os' and the like. case in point specifically, i delete the partions off in order to change them or just start from scratch. at that point, the partiotion tool states that my HDD is now some obscure size, less than half that it was supposed to be.

so... i thought i was slick and pulled out an old win98 machine. fdisk'ed it to its original 20gig size in fat32. formatted, wrote to it, read, all looked ok. stuck it in my 2k box and the damn thing reverted back to unknow file system at 7.88 gigs.

i hope someone has an idea because i'm getting annoyed with losing all this good space!
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  1. It would take someone much more informed than I to resolve your issue but I had the same experience with Partition Magic. I lost half of a 30Gb HDD by loading the program and using the quick start guide. I created a partition and decided to wait until later to read up on everything so I hit the undo changes button and lost half the hard drive. Now both hard drives are being read in "MSDOS compatibility mode" and found buried in the manual, in bold red letters, something about "DO NOT,...blah,blah,blah FAT32!" It seems creating a partition in FAT32 is restricted by size,(must be small?), and cannot be undone for some reason. I'd have preferred the bold red notice been on the front of the box, but that's just me. I'm overdue a new computer and still have plenty of storage so besides never using norton products again,(their service reps and website were worthless!), I've decided to take the $80/15GB hit as a lesson learned. Obviously the hard way. ***That reminds me I still need to research the diff btwn NTFS and FAT32.
  2. yeah, ive heard of some rules against ability to return to fat32 after formatting in NTFS. not that i ever wanted to because of it being a slower file structure... or what ever the technical jargon explination is for it.

    and i cant say that what you had happen was my same exact experience, but its pretty close in that we both lost half the disk.
    i was only working with linux and ntfs formats. in this event, it was an immediate change after deleting the last partition. i was using Partition Commander this time around, but no telling which program i used the other times, or what procedure really brough this on?
  3. running KILLDISK now to see if that does anything

    ...argh but its doing it to the 3.93 gigs it THINKS is there. man do i hate this
  4. ok, i thought i had figured it out, that it was my mistake that i didnt make sure the motherboard's bios was in LBA mode and knew exactly what HDD was installed.

    i remember now, having been through a variation of this problem long ago, that upon installing a new HDD, you really need to make sure the BIOS knows what it is before doing anything else!

    and thats probably where i screwed up, in that the partition tool didnt see the disk for what it really was. or it could be related to large disk management limitations and how the cylinders can be interpreted differently with anticipation of various DOS'. i'm not sure.

    so i went back through, set the bios, used a few different partition programs to verify, supposedly setting the disk up to original 20 gig size. put it in my 2k box and STILL 7.88 gig disk. then tried installing 2k on it to see how it handled the suppose'd correct setup and the install went fine. upon reboot, the disk would not respond. again, back to the 2k box and STILL the same 7.88.

    my lesson learned? stay away from partitions. heheh
    if anyone has ideas or answers, please share. i wasted too much time on this crap!

    FYI - did you know that HDDs cannot handle any given I/O combination? for example, I/O data straight from the processor cannot go directly to the disks in that form without first being converted.
    this is because certain I/O patterns get lost on the disk or in other words, once written, the head cannot read them. so depending on the HDD maker and design, each system has its own set of possible working strings. every possible bit set was written to disk and what ever could be read back was then given a corresponding binary representation.
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