Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in
Your question
Solved

External hard drive not showing correct gig capacity

Last response: in Storage
Share
January 7, 2011 12:35:44 AM

Hello,
I have a hard drive from a dead computer that I put into an external case to use as a backup drive. It is a seagate 500g drive, but when connected, it only shows 13.6g capacity. How can I get this external to show full capacity so I can use it as my backup: ps I am not a computer guru so laymans terms please....

More about : external hard drive showing correct gig capacity

a b G Storage
January 7, 2011 12:48:25 AM

The most likely reason is that you are accessing a partition of the drive which doesn't fill up the whole thing. You can think of the drive as a big crate, and a partition of course splits off part of it to use as its own box. If you can tell me what operating system you have, I can give you instructions on how to re-format the drive which will clean off all existing data and partitions and leave you with a nice empty and almost as good as new drive.
m
0
l
January 7, 2011 12:58:48 AM

elel said:
The most likely reason is that you are accessing a partition of the drive which doesn't fill up the whole thing. You can think of the drive as a big crate, and a partition of course splits off part of it to use as its own box. If you can tell me what operating system you have, I can give you instructions on how to re-format the drive which will clean off all existing data and partitions and leave you with a nice empty and almost as good as new drive.


Hello, and thank you for your help. I am connecting to a brand new sony laptop that has windows 7. I have attached the drive using a Xion Dock.
m
0
l
Related resources

Best solution

a b G Storage
January 7, 2011 1:58:21 AM

I am not going to try it on my external drive, but I looked up the tools that in windows 7, and here is what I think you need to do. The (maybe) bad news is that you will lose all data on the drive. The good news is that even if something goes wrong, we can just try a different route without hurting anything.

OK. So the easiest way to get to the tool you need is to go to the start menu and, in the search bar at the bottom, type in 'disk management'. The first thing which comes up should be a utility which is called "create and format hard disk partitions". Click on this, and it should bring up a window which says "loading disk configuration information". When it is done gathering this information, it will show a display with all of the drives connected to your computer. Carefully identify the one you want; you are actually pretty safe since I think that you will only your primary drive, the one you want to format, and a CD drive. It won't allow you to format your primary partition on your main drive, you most likely can't format what's in your CD drive, which leaves only the one you want available for formatting. Still, identify it positively before doing anything to it.

When you have identified it, right-click on each partition on the drive and "delete volume". If this option is grayed out, you are probably trying to delete something on your main drive. Once you have deleted all partitions, right click on the empty space created and tell it to do a format. If given the option, do a full format and format the drive as NTFS. You will be able to name the drive, and when it is done you should have a full sized and fully functional drive. The one thing to watch out for is NEVER turn off the power on a drive which is formatting - this is the one thing which I have heard will probably damage a drive. Best not to take chances. Like I said, I'm not testing the steps myself right now, so something may not work. If this is the case or if I wasn't clear on a point, just post and I'll try to sort it out.
Share
January 7, 2011 2:09:03 AM

I DID IT !!!!!! Wow, it was fast, and easy. Thank you so very much for all of your help. I never would have been able to figure it out. This forum (and you ) are great !!!
m
0
l
a b G Storage
January 7, 2011 11:37:41 AM

You are welcome :) 
m
0
l
January 9, 2011 1:24:47 PM

elel said:
You are welcome :) 


elel:

I have a similar problem with my G Drive, which I want to use with a new iMac to back up data using Time Machine. It is a 250 GB drive, but it only showed 60GB +/-. I went into the disk utility program and selected erase and picked the recommended OS X format. At the end of the process, it says it can't open the drive, and the drive no longer shows up in Finder. Now I don't know what to do.
m
0
l
January 9, 2011 2:26:10 PM

Picstrubik,

Open disk utility, select the external drive itself (it will not be indented) and then click on partition. Under the scheme choose 1 partition. On the right hand side there will be a place for a name. Give it a name. Click apply at the bottom and then click on partition on the popup menu. That should fix it.
m
0
l
January 9, 2011 4:32:49 PM

Thanks, youngster - I gave that a try and it didn't work. The message says that it can't allocate memory - the same message that I got on the erase tab. Do you think the disk is corrupted in some way?
m
0
l
January 9, 2011 4:47:56 PM

Sorry, I got the name wrong, beamj.
m
0
l
January 9, 2011 4:48:01 PM

boot to the install disk of OSX and try the same disk utility from there. If that does not work then it will be a manual process using terminal
m
0
l
a b G Storage
January 9, 2011 4:55:03 PM

Thanks, beamj! I'm windows and linux savvy, but macs are something I haven't done.
m
0
l
January 9, 2011 5:02:37 PM

If you know linux then OSX should be a breeze. OSX is loosely based on unix so many of the linux commands will work. However I bet that you will be able to get it working while booted to the install disk and repartitioning the drive.
m
0
l
a b G Storage
January 9, 2011 5:12:54 PM

Well, I'll sit and watch and learn :) 
m
0
l
January 9, 2011 5:34:17 PM

beamj said:
boot to the install disk of OSX and try the same disk utility from there. If that does not work then it will be a manual process using terminal

beamj:

Sorry to be ignorant. How do I boot from the install disk?
m
0
l
January 9, 2011 5:55:00 PM

Start from your Mac OS X Install disc; use Disk Utility

Insert your Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5 installation disc (if you have discs with both versions, use whichever is closest to the Mac OS X version installed on your Mac; do not use a startup disc which came with a different Mac or which contains an earlier version of Mac OS X).
Shut down your Mac. If necessary, hold your Mac's power button for several seconds to force it to power down.
Start up your Mac while holding the C key to start from the disc.
Once started from the disc, choose Disk Utility from the Utility menu.

Note: If the gray screen issue persists and you can't start from the disc, go to the "Disconnect peripheral devices" section.
In Disk Utility, perform a disk repair of your Mac OS X volume; if no issues are found, perform a permissions repair as well. If issues are found during the disk repair, try repairing again.
After the Disk Utility operations are complete, restart without holding any keys.
If the gray screen issue persists, go to the next section.
m
0
l
January 9, 2011 7:09:27 PM

beamj said:
Start from your Mac OS X Install disc; use Disk Utility

Insert your Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5 installation disc (if you have discs with both versions, use whichever is closest to the Mac OS X version installed on your Mac; do not use a startup disc which came with a different Mac or which contains an earlier version of Mac OS X).
Shut down your Mac. If necessary, hold your Mac's power button for several seconds to force it to power down.
Start up your Mac while holding the C key to start from the disc.
Once started from the disc, choose Disk Utility from the Utility menu.

Note: If the gray screen issue persists and you can't start from the disc, go to the "Disconnect peripheral devices" section.
In Disk Utility, perform a disk repair of your Mac OS X volume; if no issues are found, perform a permissions repair as well. If issues are found during the disk repair, try repairing again.
After the Disk Utility operations are complete, restart without holding any keys.
If the gray screen issue persists, go to the next section.



beamj:

While I was waiting for your response, I discovered that someone had put a USB cable on the hard drive instead of my fire wire. I connected the fire wire cable and then did the partition step that you outlined and now it works great. Either the USB was too slow or that port must not have been working. In any case, thanks a lot for your help. Your advice was great and you were very responsive. Take care.
m
0
l
January 18, 2011 11:42:21 PM

Best answer selected by cbsm1.
m
0
l
a b G Storage
January 19, 2011 1:26:25 AM

Thanks for the best answer :)  Glad to help!
m
0
l
April 3, 2012 10:07:53 PM

good information, thanks
m
0
l
September 3, 2012 11:17:36 PM

I had a similar problem at cbsm and tried elels solution, but once I selected 'delete volume' it removed the drive from the liost completely and it doesn't show up anywhere. I refreshed the list, rebooted, and nothing shows that drive anymore and I am not able to attempt the reformat. Any ideas?
m
0
l
a b G Storage
September 8, 2012 3:44:52 AM

I'll see if I can help. The first thing I'd like to make sure of is whether you're checking the right areas of the window. Bellow is a screenshot of Disk Management on my computer. I've put a '1' on the volumes section of the window and a '2' on the disks section. You are saying that after you selected a specific disk in section '2' of the window and deleted all volumes or partitions (depending on your disk formatting scheme in Windows 7) on that disk using section '1' of the window, the disk which was in section '2' is no longer there?

m
0
l
September 16, 2012 8:14:00 AM

Hi there everyone im steve, i have my friends computer is running a maxtor 160gb hdd Bios shows that it is there as 160gb but when i go into windows XP it shows up that it is only a 142gb hdd :/  any ideas why this is ... i havnt updated to sp3 yet the hdd is connected via a sata cable, i have look into the disk management setting and there is no excess partition and well im stumped really. i have updated bios and chipset aswell if anyone has any ideas why this might be happening then i wouldnt say no to suggestions :)  thanks steve :) 
m
0
l
a b G Storage
September 19, 2012 1:02:53 AM

That's normal. Manufacturers report one gigabyte as 1000 megabytes (abbreviated as gB), whereas the operating system reports one gigabyte as 1024 megabytes (abbreviated as GB). This distinction also goes down through megabytes and kilobytes, which compounds the error. This results in the size of the hard drive reported by the computer being lower than the one reported by the manufacturer. Annoying, but that's the way it's done. XKCD made an awesome comic making fun of the issue:
m
0
l
September 28, 2012 6:42:49 AM

It worked great.. Thanks
m
0
l
February 18, 2013 5:25:32 PM

elel said:
I am not going to try it on my external drive, but I looked up the tools that in windows 7, and here is what I think you need to do. The (maybe) bad news is that you will lose all data on the drive. The good news is that even if something goes wrong, we can just try a different route without hurting anything.

OK. So the easiest way to get to the tool you need is to go to the start menu and, in the search bar at the bottom, type in 'disk management'. The first thing which comes up should be a utility which is called "create and format hard disk partitions". Click on this, and it should bring up a window which says "loading disk configuration information". When it is done gathering this information, it will show a display with all of the drives connected to your computer. Carefully identify the one you want; you are actually pretty safe since I think that you will only your primary drive, the one you want to format, and a CD drive. It won't allow you to format your primary partition on your main drive, you most likely can't format what's in your CD drive, which leaves only the one you want available for formatting. Still, identify it positively before doing anything to it.

When you have identified it, right-click on each partition on the drive and "delete volume". If this option is grayed out, you are probably trying to delete something on your main drive. Once you have deleted all partitions, right click on the empty space created and tell it to do a format. If given the option, do a full format and format the drive as NTFS. You will be able to name the drive, and when it is done you should have a full sized and fully functional drive. The one thing to watch out for is NEVER turn off the power on a drive which is formatting - this is the one thing which I have heard will probably damage a drive. Best not to take chances. Like I said, I'm not testing the steps myself right now, so something may not work. If this is the case or if I wasn't clear on a point, just post and I'll try to sort it out.


Hello There,
I was having similar problem with my seagate 1TB external hard drive as well. I formatted it earlier and was showing only 39.5 GB total space. So, tried to follow the instructions you mentioned on the top. However, after performing "delete volume", it removed the drive from "section 1" (as you have showed while answering another question). Now, I am not sure where to click as you have said, " Once you have deleted all partitions, right click on the empty space created and tell it to do a format" . I have tried to click in the same place where the drive was before, but nothing happens. Can you please advise me further? Thank you

m
0
l
February 18, 2013 5:25:40 PM

elel said:
I am not going to try it on my external drive, but I looked up the tools that in windows 7, and here is what I think you need to do. The (maybe) bad news is that you will lose all data on the drive. The good news is that even if something goes wrong, we can just try a different route without hurting anything.

OK. So the easiest way to get to the tool you need is to go to the start menu and, in the search bar at the bottom, type in 'disk management'. The first thing which comes up should be a utility which is called "create and format hard disk partitions". Click on this, and it should bring up a window which says "loading disk configuration information". When it is done gathering this information, it will show a display with all of the drives connected to your computer. Carefully identify the one you want; you are actually pretty safe since I think that you will only your primary drive, the one you want to format, and a CD drive. It won't allow you to format your primary partition on your main drive, you most likely can't format what's in your CD drive, which leaves only the one you want available for formatting. Still, identify it positively before doing anything to it.

When you have identified it, right-click on each partition on the drive and "delete volume". If this option is grayed out, you are probably trying to delete something on your main drive. Once you have deleted all partitions, right click on the empty space created and tell it to do a format. If given the option, do a full format and format the drive as NTFS. You will be able to name the drive, and when it is done you should have a full sized and fully functional drive. The one thing to watch out for is NEVER turn off the power on a drive which is formatting - this is the one thing which I have heard will probably damage a drive. Best not to take chances. Like I said, I'm not testing the steps myself right now, so something may not work. If this is the case or if I wasn't clear on a point, just post and I'll try to sort it out.


Hello There,
I was having similar problem with my seagate 1TB external hard drive as well. I formatted it earlier and was showing only 39.5 GB total space. So, tried to follow the instructions you mentioned on the top. However, after performing "delete volume", it removed the drive from "section 1" (as you have showed while answering another question). Now, I am not sure where to click as you have said, " Once you have deleted all partitions, right click on the empty space created and tell it to do a format" . I have tried to click in the same place where the drive was before, but nothing happens. Can you please advise me further? Thank you

m
0
l
!