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WindowsXP Isn't Recognizing My Full Hard Drive

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July 13, 2010 3:16:49 PM

Hey everyone, so it looks like I'm having a variation of a common problem, but I'm not sure how to fix it.

Yesterday, I tried to clone my old 60GB hd to a 200GB drive using Acronis downloaded from Western Digital. The 200GB drive had been used as my old slave drive, and XP was recognizing the full 186GB of space prior to the cloning procedure.

After cloning the drive, Windows now only shows it as a 128GB drive. However my bios shows the full 186GB usable capacity, and I KNOW that it should be fully usable in Windows because it was before.

Windows disk manager doesn't show the unused capacity as a separate partition, and it's like all of that space just disappeared.

I put the old 60GB drive back in as my boot drive and have tried formatting the 200GB drive, and now I'm writing zeros to the drive with HDAT2 (which also automatically saw the full 200GB size). I really have no clue what to do to make the full drive usable again. Any suggestions?
a b G Storage
July 13, 2010 6:02:47 PM

You cloned a 60GB partition. When you do that again, use your favorite partitioning software to expand the resulting 60GB partition to utilize the HDDs entire capacity.
July 13, 2010 7:18:22 PM

The problem is that even the partitioning software won't show the entire capacity now. I've tried using Acronis again (free from Western Digital), but I've also tried with Partition Magic. No program has been able to see the missing 50 or so GB. Western Digital's Data Lifeguard tool shows that the drive size is 200GB, my bios shows that the correct size, but no matter what I try, I can't get it to show the full capacity in Disk Manager.
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a c 328 G Storage
July 14, 2010 4:16:10 AM
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Use Acronis to Delete ALL Partitions on that drive. Start from the last one and work backward. That should get you to the state of NO Partitions and all Unallocated Space.

THEN use Acronis to clone the 60 GB unit to the 200. Considering your story so far, watch especially for these things:
1. I had a problem with a version of Acronis once. If I ran it from a CD-R it had no info on the capabilities of the OS I was using and it refused to make a new Partition larger than 128 GB just in case I had an older OS. The solution was to INSTALL that Acronis software to the C: drive first so that it DID recognize that my OS had 48-bit LBA Support to handle drives over 128 GB.

2. I ASSUMED above that your OS is XP with at least SP1 installed. If not - if you only have the original version of XP - THAT is your problem. It cannot use disks over 128 GB (does not have the 48-bit LBA Support added in SP1) and won't make Partitions larger than that. If that is your situation, update your XP to SP2 or 3 BEFORE trying to clone.

3. When the clone is being made, Acronis will offer a default Partition size on the new 200 GB unit. If it is not what you want, look through the menus to find where you can set it manually before proceeding.
July 21, 2010 1:42:18 AM

Best answer selected by Aopps.
July 21, 2010 9:35:50 AM

I'm quite happy to find that someone has had the same problem as me. My drive was a 640 GB WD scorpio blue which is only recognised as a 110gb hd after cloning with acronis. I will follow the above steps to see if i can recover lost space. However i installed acronis on my C drive before cloning and the problem still occurred. My pc is a dell inspiron 6400 with xp sp2, should that be able to recognize the full capacity of the 640 gb hd?
July 21, 2010 10:17:58 AM

I've tried removng the partition using Acronis but unfortunately there is no option in the free version from WD website to remove partitions. Will Acronis Disk Director work?
a c 328 G Storage
July 21, 2010 7:49:09 PM

straydogg56, I advised OP to use Acronis for the job only because he / she already had used it for some work. But Windows has a built-in tool for all this called Disk Management.

To access Disk Management, click on Start at lower left and then RIGHT-click on My Computer in the menu. In the new mini-menu choose Manage and it will open up a new window. On its left list expand Storage if necessary and click on Disk Management to open it. Now concentrate on the LOWER RIGHT pane. It scrolls to show all its contents. It will show you all the hardware drive devices in the machine, whether Windows can use them or not. Find the 640 GB WD unit that is giving you trouble.

A HDD unit is represented by a horizontal rectangle with a small label block on its left end that tells you things like "Disk_2", a disk type, a size, etc. To the right are one or more blocks each representing one Partition on the HDD. If there is space not yet assigned to a Partition, it will be the last block called "Unallocated Space". Each Partition will have a label in it showing a volume name it was given like "Harry's disk", a letter name like "E:", a size, a File System (FAT32 or NTFS), and a status.

To get rid of all existing Partitions you do them one at a time. Pick the one furthest to the right (next to Unallocated Space if there is any), RIGHT-click on it and choose Delete Partition. Do this to any others until the whole HDD is just Unallocated Space.

Once you have the HDD empty, you can Create a new Primary Partition here and Format it. In doing so you can choose the size of the new Partition and the File System you will use. In your case, however, that probably is not necessary. I expect that the cloning software you will use will do those operations for you as the first steps in making the clone. Just be sure when you do that, that you use the menu systems to ensure that the new Partition is the size you want and uses the right file system (make it NTFS unless you really know you need FAT32).
July 24, 2010 12:24:18 AM

Paperdoc said:
straydogg56, I advised OP to use Acronis for the job only because he / she already had used it for some work. But Windows has a built-in tool for all this called Disk Management.

To access Disk Management, click on Start at lower left and then RIGHT-click on My Computer in the menu. In the new mini-menu choose Manage and it will open up a new window. On its left list expand Storage if necessary and click on Disk Management to open it. Now concentrate on the LOWER RIGHT pane. It scrolls to show all its contents. It will show you all the hardware drive devices in the machine, whether Windows can use them or not. Find the 640 GB WD unit that is giving you trouble.

A HDD unit is represented by a horizontal rectangle with a small label block on its left end that tells you things like "Disk_2", a disk type, a size, etc. To the right are one or more blocks each representing one Partition on the HDD. If there is space not yet assigned to a Partition, it will be the last block called "Unallocated Space". Each Partition will have a label in it showing a volume name it was given like "Harry's disk", a letter name like "E:", a size, a File System (FAT32 or NTFS), and a status.

To get rid of all existing Partitions you do them one at a time. Pick the one furthest to the right (next to Unallocated Space if there is any), RIGHT-click on it and choose Delete Partition. Do this to any others until the whole HDD is just Unallocated Space.

Once you have the HDD empty, you can Create a new Primary Partition here and Format it. In doing so you can choose the size of the new Partition and the File System you will use. In your case, however, that probably is not necessary. I expect that the cloning software you will use will do those operations for you as the first steps in making the clone. Just be sure when you do that, that you use the menu systems to ensure that the new Partition is the size you want and uses the right file system (make it NTFS unless you really know you need FAT32).




Thanx..but i did all that which u just told me to do before. When the partition is removed its still showing a 110 gb hard drive. I've searched some other forums and i found someone who had the same problem and was able to recover his drive after being advised to follow the steps at these links:

http://www.goodells.net/dellrestore/mediadirect.htm and
http://en.community.dell.com/support-forums/disk-drives...

I had a guy who claimed he was a computer genius try to recover the lost space and he couldnt. would really appreciate it if i cud get some easily followed instructions so that i can restore my drive. I cant afford to lose 500 GB of space!!
a c 328 G Storage
July 25, 2010 6:59:52 PM

straydogg56, it appears from the postings you linked that Dell has done some special tricks to create hidden partitions on the boot drive that came with your machine, and those have been duplicated on your new 640 GB WD blue drive. It is common for system makes like Dell to create a hidden recovery Partition that is used in emergencies to restore your original OS if it gets corrupted. Those posts suggest they also may have created another hidden Partition on some of their machines that holds a limited-version OS used for media playbacks.

If you want to get out of this, the first important question is, can you afford to lose everything from your new drive? I'm going to propose that it be wiped clean so we can start fresh, but that means everything on it will be lost! Do you still have your original HDD running properly? Have you stored anything on the WD new unit that is NOT also stored somewhere else?

If you are sure you can loose all the stuff on the new WD unit, I can advise how to clean it off and start fresh. Meanwhile, you and I both can check the WD website for a useful tool I know exists in some systems. That is, a tool to reset some data on the HDD itself that defines it size. The tool ought to be able to restore the HDD to its full design size.

Post here when you are clear to proceed.
July 25, 2010 8:08:03 PM

Paperdoc said:
straydogg56, it appears from the postings you linked that Dell has done some special tricks to create hidden partitions on the boot drive that came with your machine, and those have been duplicated on your new 640 GB WD blue drive. It is common for system makes like Dell to create a hidden recovery Partition that is used in emergencies to restore your original OS if it gets corrupted. Those posts suggest they also may have created another hidden Partition on some of their machines that holds a limited-version OS used for media playbacks.

If you want to get out of this, the first important question is, can you afford to lose everything from your new drive? I'm going to propose that it be wiped clean so we can start fresh, but that means everything on it will be lost! Do you still have your original HDD running properly? Have you stored anything on the WD new unit that is NOT also stored somewhere else?

If you are sure you can loose all the stuff on the new WD unit, I can advise how to clean it off and start fresh. Meanwhile, you and I both can check the WD website for a useful tool I know exists in some systems. That is, a tool to reset some data on the HDD itself that defines it size. The tool ought to be able to restore the HDD to its full design size.

Post here when you are clear to proceed.


i have nothing on the Western digital drive and d original drive in my pc works fine, nothing has been done to it, i just want my 640 GB back!
a c 328 G Storage
July 26, 2010 4:20:37 PM

OK, I'm making suggestions here on the assumption that the cloning operation has written to your new 640 GB WD unit some very odd data that may have created invisible Partition(s) and made the HDD size appear odd. So I'll recommend using free downloadable tools from WD to zero-fill the entire drive (thus wiping out any data written to it so far.)

Go to this website page to download WD's Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for DOS (CD).

http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=702...

Check here for the manual

http://www.wdc.com/en/library/other/2779-701022.pdf

You can download a .zip file which you unzip, or get the .iso image file directly. Either way you must use CD burning software (like Nero for example) that can burn an .iso image to your own CD-R disk. Then you make sure your BIOS is set to boot from your CD drive, put the new disk into your drive, and boot from it. It will load a mini-DOS into your RAM and run from there, completely independent of any HDD or OS in your machine. You MUST make sure to select first the HDD unit you want to operate on. You can run tests on your HDD and see results. There is a Zero-Fill tool available. This is TOTALLY DESTRUCTIVE of data on the HDD you operate on, so check to be VERY SURE you are working on the new 640 GB WD unit!!! The operation will take many hours, so plan to let it just run. When it is done you should have a brand new empty HDD with 640 GB of Unallocated Space. If you want, re-run the Quick Test to verify that the HDD size is back to 640 GB. Then you exit from the software, remove the CD from the drive, and reboot. As before, the empty HDD will not be visible within Windows' My Computer.

I have not found any tool on the WD website that says it will reset the HDD size to full specs. Some HDD's by other makers can have their own internal data set to limit the size to less than full, and also can be reset to full size. I do not know whether this is possible on WD units.

If you do get a fully-restored 640 GB unit, the next step is to figure out what you really want to do. Since it appears your original HDD in this Dell machine has extra stuff in place for emergency recovery and / or special uses, you probably do not want to simply clone that to the new HDD. On the other hand, if you clone only the C: drive Partition, you will NOT have any way to recover from future disasters. On a system like this, it is possible that any OS restoration system that came with the machine does NOT have full OS information and must rely on the hidden OS restore Partition on the original HDD to work. So, if you want to preserve that ability, you should contact Dell Tech support to find out how to upgrade to the new larger HDD and still preserve the essentials. If you want to go ahead without the restoration ability (for example, if you plan to buy and install a different Windows anyway), you may not need that. I am assuming, however, that you will be able to use the Acronis True Image WD Edition software to clone only one or two selected Partitions from your original HDD to the new 640 GB unit, and NOT the entire original drive.

Let us know how well the Zero-Fill process worked in restoring your HDD, and how you want to proceed from here.
July 27, 2010 1:14:33 AM

i actually tried the zero fill process already with software from WD site, it did take hours, and at the end the hard drive capacity was still 110 GB!!
a c 328 G Storage
July 27, 2010 2:45:41 AM

Contact WD Tech Support AND Dell Tech Support and ask then to explain how this can happen to a brand new drive and how to undo it so the drive can be used to full capacity.
!