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Windows recognizing 298GB out of 320GB

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February 23, 2008 2:29:12 AM

Hey guys,

I've had my computer running for awhile until I noticed a problem.....somehow I was using about 170 gigs of my hard drive (320GB) but I have no media. No songs, videos, pictures, etc. So I looked for the longest time to see what was taking the space until I gave up and decided to reinstall windows (Vista -64bit Home Premium)

When i reformatted and deleted all my old info and went to install, it said that my disk was only 298gigs (had the same problem when windows was installed). The Bios does recognize the disk as a 320 so its not the motherboard.

Any one have any clues as to whats up and how I can get the space back?
February 23, 2008 3:04:54 AM

Nothing is wrong. You never get what they claim. My 500 is only 465.
February 23, 2008 3:32:31 AM

The manufacturers of hard drives measure GB using decimal counting instead of binary, such as using powers of 10 instead of 2, which means 1GB for them is 1000MB instead of 1024MB and 1000KB is a MB instead of 1024, etc...

Thus you end up with less space then you thought, its how all hard-drives are sold though.
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February 23, 2008 3:33:43 AM

The problem is the OS uses a binary prefix while, the manufacturer uses a slightly different measuring system so, yes 298gigs should be about right.
February 23, 2008 1:48:34 PM

thanks guys....

Just wondering what was up....now I just gotta figure out what was taking up 170GB of space :kaola: 
February 23, 2008 2:02:32 PM

Gravemind123 said:
The manufacturers of hard drives measure GB using decimal counting instead of binary, such as using powers of 10 instead of 2, which means 1GB for them is 1000MB instead of 1024MB and 1000KB is a MB instead of 1024, etc...

Thus you end up with less space then you thought, its how all hard-drives are sold though.


Other way around.

The OS uses decimal, while HDD manufacturers list capacity in binary. very misleading :<
February 23, 2008 2:59:49 PM

skittle said:
Other way around.

The OS uses decimal, while HDD manufacturers list capacity in binary. very misleading :<


Um, no. Drives appear smaller than advertised because OSes use binary and manufacuters use decimal.
2^30=1073741824 bytes (1 binary gigabyte) what OS reports
10^9=1000000000 bytes (1 decimal gigabyte) what manufacturers advertise

320*1000000000=X*1073741824
X=320*1000000000/1073741824
X=298.023224
so 320 Gigabytes decimal (manufacturers claim) = 298 Gigabytes binary (reported by OS)

Personally I think this the fault of the OS incorrectly reporting HD sizes. Most people think in powers of 10 and sizes should be reported as such. However, I'd have no real problem with HD manufacturers changing to binary sizing. What I really want is consistency; I am tired of handling calls from friends and family on their missing hard drive space.




February 23, 2008 3:34:52 PM

justtom said:

Personally I think this the fault of the OS incorrectly reporting HD sizes. Most people think in powers of 10 and sizes should be reported as such. However, I'd have no real problem with HD manufacturers changing to binary sizing. What I really want is consistency; I am tired of handling calls from friends and family on their missing hard drive space.


I think its the other way round, os is being accurate, since computing is binary and the data stored on the hdd is binary (not decimal) the hdd should be measured and advertised in binary. I think people would be pretty pissed of if ram manufacturers did this little trick...
February 23, 2008 3:46:51 PM

Silverion77 said:
thanks guys....

Just wondering what was up....now I just gotta figure out what was taking up 170GB of space :kaola: 



Check hidden folders and files, you may have some back-ups that are accumulating
February 23, 2008 3:59:31 PM

My mistake... in any case its awfully misleading
February 23, 2008 4:11:32 PM

True, I was confused a little at first by the whole thing as well.
February 23, 2008 7:05:17 PM

rtfm said:
I think its the other way round, os is being accurate, since computing is binary and the data stored on the hdd is binary (not decimal) the hdd should be measured and advertised in binary. I think people would be pretty pissed of if ram manufacturers did this little trick...


I would be happy if manufacturers labelled their products in binary, however the mass of users don't think in binary they think in decimal. The computer is a tool for humans, not the other way around.

At least not yet...
February 23, 2008 8:08:03 PM

rtfm said:
I think its the other way round, os is being accurate, since computing is binary and the data stored on the hdd is binary (not decimal) the hdd should be measured and advertised in binary. I think people would be pretty pissed of if ram manufacturers did this little trick...


It's not a matter of which is "accurate". They are both accurate. They just use different definitions for the prefixes, which results in a difference in labeling. That's all.

It's just like if you bought 4 quarts of gas, and the attendant then told you he gave you 3.78541 liters. You didn't get short-changed, and you didn't spill any gas. It's just a difference in labeling.

Hard drive manufacture sells you a 320,000,000,000 byte hard drive. That's exactly what it holds, 320 billion bytes. You can report that as 320 GB or 298 GiB, but it doesn't matter. You're still talking about the exact same amount of space.

To the OP: To find out what's using your space, download WinDirStat, short for Windows Directory Statistics. It will show you a graphical representation of your HD and allow you to visibly see what folders and files are using the most space.
February 23, 2008 8:38:42 PM

Decimal system: 1000 bytes per kilobyte, 1000 kilobytes per megabyte, etc. or 10^3 to "step up" to the next prefix (by that i mean going from byte to kilobyte or kilobyte to megabyte)

Binary system: 1024 bytes per kilobyte and so on, or 2^10

kilobyte, megabyte, gigabyte is 3 steps:

1 gigabyte according to manufacturers is 1000^3 bytes
1 gigabyte in binary is (2^10)^3 = 2^30 bytes

(1000^3)/(2^30) = approximately 0.931322575

320 GB x 0.931322575 = 298.023224 GB

or like the poster above me, gigabytes v.s. gibibytes or something. I dunno. But you don't have to know the names to do the multiplication and division :) 
February 24, 2008 3:01:37 AM

SomeJoe7777 said:
To the OP: To find out what's using your space, download WinDirStat, short for Windows Directory Statistics. It will show you a graphical representation of your HD and allow you to visibly see what folders and files are using the most space.

Thanks for that one Joe. I thought there was something like that but I didnt now the name. It works well thanx
February 25, 2008 2:03:06 AM

Ah yes, the wonderful confusion continues. Western digital was actually sued for this very thing. There really is no reason why the drive guys and the os guys can't get together and say hey, once this thing is formatted win32, ntfs, whatever it may be, it should say in reality our gigantic drive will really only get this much usable storage.

Guess that is too difficult and lawsuits and confusion are easier.

Check out this news article:

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20060630-7174.html
!