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Can't find the rest of my hard drive memory after install.

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July 22, 2010 4:43:47 AM

I have an old Samsung 200 GB hard drive off one of my old computers. It was a warranty re placement after the old one died. I used it for a total of 2 months before the Mobo went out. I recently tried installing it into my new computer as a secondary hard drive. It comes up as 2 drives (F): 5.84 GB and (E) 13.6 GB. I have reformatted both drives and they remain the same. Both are empty. I went into bios to make sure it was reading it as a 200 GB hard drive and it is. I have downloaded The seagate tool to try and set to full memory. That I have also done. It passed all test That came with the program. I have also checked to make sure drivers were up to date and they are. My question is were is my 200 GB of memory? Why can't I seem to access it or find it? Any help on this matter would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
July 22, 2010 5:00:25 AM

Perhaps it's just me, but I think you need to be a little clearer on what you are posting.

You're saying that:

1) Your 200gb HDD comes up as 2 drives of different letters and sizes.
2) You have formatted the 200gb HDD.
3) You cannot see 200gb of space in the HDD.

Is that it?
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July 22, 2010 5:03:38 AM

Yes that is correct. To all three.
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a c 93 G Storage
July 22, 2010 6:28:03 AM

have you tried the Disk Manager? delete all the partitions on the 200GB drive and create a new one, then format it.
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July 22, 2010 6:58:16 AM


jrcontoursvt said:
I recently tried installing it into my new computer as a secondary hard drive. It comes up as 2 drives (F): 5.84 GB and (E) 13.6 GB.


I would say that is very possible that the 200 GB disk is divided into two partition, called E: and F: in Windows, but there is still much space unpartitioned on the drive.

Go to the Disk management tool in Windows and check. You should see either an 180 GB unknown partition or an totaly empty area of around 180 GB.

For this first step you do not need any extra tools.
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July 22, 2010 5:22:40 PM

I am new to windows 7 and am unfamiliar with the set up. Still learning the ropes so if you could be a bit more specific on where I need to go that would help. I can go to accessories and to tools. Can only find disk clean up and disk defragmenter. Am I not in the right menu or is it even in system tools? Thanks for all your help guys.
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July 22, 2010 6:04:48 PM

After going to control panel, devices and printers, then clicking on my PC. I can find the hard drive. I will give you a list of what it says. This brings up a menu with four tabs at the top--- General, Policies, Volumes, driver, Details. I opened up the volumes tab and the info for this is ------ Disk: Disk 1 Type: Basic Status: online Partition style: Master boot record (MBR) Capacity: 190781 MB Unallocated space: 170794 MB Reserved space: 0 MB Then at the bottom of the menu there is Volumes: They list as 1. HP_pavilion (E:)  14002 MB 2. HP_Recovery (F:)  5985 MB I don't know if this helps or if it just makes it more confusing.
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Best solution

a c 342 G Storage
July 22, 2010 8:34:58 PM

Yes, clearly what has happened is the 200 GB unit has two small partitions defined on it and the vast majority of its space Unallocated. Since you indicate that you do NOT want to save anything it contains (you Formatted both existing Partitions), I'll help you to clean it all out and re-structure it as you wish.

First, some background for understanding. A HDD has a bunch of space available, but completely unorganized when brand new. Two things need to be done to a new drive before it can be used. The first is to Create on it a Partition. Normally the very first Partition created will be a Primary Partition. When that is done, a new small set of data is written to the very beginning of the HDD. It contains two things: an MBR (Master Boot Record) and a Partition Table. Among other things, the MBR actually contains a tiny basic piece of programming code that allows the computer to find and read in critical boot files on the drive. When a computer boots from this drive unit, what it really does at the end of its own self-check (POST) sequence is go to the specified drive unit and load from this one standard known location (at the beginning) this little program, and run it. The program goes back to the HDD and looks in a known place for the Partition Table, because that is where the location of all the next important data is set out in detail. What the program is looking for is the proper location on the HDD to find the two critical System Files it needs to load and run in order to actually start booting up the Operating System.

The Partition Table contains a small set of data that specify exactly how all the space on this HDD unit is subdivided. Each subdivision is called a Partition, and the Table has details of exactly where on this unit each Partition begins, how long it is, whether it is bootable (that is, does it really contain the critical boot files needed?), and a couple other things. As far as any Operating System is concerned, it will treat each Partition on this HDD as a separate "drive" with its own identifying letter name. So you can actually have from one to many "drives" on a single physical HDD unit. And it is possible to have some of the unit's space not even assigned to a Partition, so it is called "Unallocated Space". When the very first Primary Partition is created on a HDD unit, the Partition Table is created and written to contain the specifications for that Partition, with extra space for data for later Partitions to be defined.

Once a chunk of space is reserved on the HDD to be one Partition, it still has no further structure. The second step is to Format that Partition. This actually creates on that Partition only, two particularly important types of files at specified places in the Partition: the Root directory, and some files to track the allocation of sectors in the Partition to particular files stored on it. The details of these files are specific to a File System, and only an Operating System that understands that arrangement of files can use it. Once those files are created, then an OS can use the "drive" (Partition) for data.

Now, in OP's case two Partitions already exist, but are not needed; nor are any data in them needed. The simplest way to proceed is to get rid of those so the HDD is just like a blank new one, and start fresh. With Windows running, click on Start at lower left and in the main menu RIGHT-click on My Computer. In the mini-menu that pops up click on Manage. This opens a window. In its left menu tree expand Storage if necessary and click on Disk Management. The right windows will change.

On the right there are two panes, upper and lower. EACH of them can scroll to let you see all their contents. The upper one shows you all the drives that Windows can work with now. The LOWER RIGHT PANE contains all the valid hardware drive devices, including ones Windows does not yet understand. Each device is represented by a horizontal rectangle with a small label block at the left that tells you the device number like "DISK_3", a type, a size, and status. To the right of that are one or more blocks, each representing one Partition on this device. If there is any unused space, it will be called "Unallocated Space", usually to the far right.

For each Partition block, there will be information indicating a Volume Name specified when it was created (maybe "Harry's Disk" or "OS"), a letter name like "E:", a size, a File System like "NTFS", and a status. For our purposes here, we won't pursue those details. Go to the last Partition (the one to the right, just before the Unallocated Space) and RIGHT-click on it. Choose to Delete this Partition. Now do the same with the other one. When you're done, you should have nothing but Unallocated Space on this HDD unit. Now it is like a brand new empty HDD.

Now, RIGHT-click on the Unallocated Space and choose to Create a new Primary Partition. You can set its size as you wish, right up to all of the space on this HDD. (If you leave some space Unallocated now, you can come back later and Create a new second (or third ...) Partition in that.) The Partition you are creating does NOT need to be bootable because you are only going to use it for data storage, not as a boot device. (If you specify this is a bootable Partition, the process will note this with data in the Partition Table entry for this "drive" and then write the two critical booting files on it at the right places later, as the Format operation is completed.) IF you are operating within a helpful wizard you also will have options to set for the Format process. (If not, you'll do Format separately later.) For this you specify the File System to install - choose NTFS unless you really know you need FAT32. Then you have a choice of Quick Format or Full Format. A Quick Format does all the essentials in about 15 minutes or less. A Full Format will do that, then test out EVERY sector on the "disk" (Partition) you are creating, marking off any troublesome ones it finds so Windows will never use it. This takes several hours, but for a used HDD I really do recommend you do it. Just don't wait around impatiently for it to finish. Having set all the options, run the process. When the entire process is finished, back out of Disk Management and reboot so Windows can get all this into the Registry. Your new Disk with its letter name will show up in My computer ready to use.

Back up slightly. IF there were no Format options shown to you as the Partition options were being chosen, just run the Partition creation task. When it is done the pane will show you the new Partition. RIGHT-click on it and choose to Format this Partition, and set the options as above, then run it. When that's done, back out and reboot.
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July 22, 2010 9:17:47 PM

That was awesome!!!!!! And worked perfect. I could not of asked for a better answer or clearer instructions. Thank you very much.
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July 22, 2010 9:31:48 PM

Best answer selected by jrcontoursvt.
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July 22, 2010 10:18:18 PM



I will also say that your post was a most impressive work and extremly helpful to the original poster and surely many others. Very very good!

Paperdoc said:
When that is done, a new small set of data is written to the very beginning of the HDD. It contains two things: an MBR (Master Boot Record) and a Partition Table.


A small technical detail which perhaps someone could find interesting is that the partition table in fact is a part of the MBR. The master boot record is one sector long, that is 512 byte, and the last 66 bytes is the partition table. (Four partitons with 16 bytes each and two final bytes to indicate that a MBR is in fact in place.)

Paperdoc said:

Among other things, the MBR actually contains a tiny basic piece of programming code that allows the computer to find and read in critical boot files on the drive.


If being very precise the MBR does not really contains code to read boot files. It will find the partition in the partition table that has been marked as active and load the first sector from that partition. That code will be the operating system boot loader which will look for the actual boot files.

Paperdoc said:
What the program is looking for is the proper location on the HDD to find the two critical System Files it needs to load and run in order to actually start booting up the Operating System.


To be very exact here too, sure it does not need to be two files, that would be very different depending on the operating system. In the old days it could be two like io.sys and msdos.sys, then often only ntldr and now lately bootmgr.

Anyway, just some details since I find this stuff interesting. ;) 
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July 23, 2010 2:13:38 AM

Great stuff guys. I appreciate the time you have taken to describe things so clearly. I now know much more about how a hard drive operates and functions. GREAT JOB!
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a c 342 G Storage
July 25, 2010 6:45:27 PM

ricno, thanks for your kind words and your corrections. I was aware that it used to be (guess it still is - no surprise) that the MBR actually is only one sector long and contains both the "boot loader" and the Partition Table. That is one of the reasons that there can be a max of four Primary Partitions - limited space to hold the details. And yes, I did oversimplify by calling the code a "boot loader". It really does only find the Partition Table and identify the bootable one(s), then load the actual boot loader from the right location on the boot Partition. As far as how many files that is, you are right again. Used to be two, but I did not know how many are involved now with current OS's. And of course, at the point where these (this) file are (is) loaded from the boot Partition, that's when we actually are loading files unique to the specific OS and File System.
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