Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 16
  1. #1
    Uranium Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    6,684
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 11 Times in 11 Posts

    Hard Drive Capacity After Formatting

    Can anyone enlighten me as to the amount of lost disk space that is considered normal and acceptable when one formats a hard disk ???

    My question stems from a disagreement I'm having with Dell regarding the capacity of a replacement 120GB hard drive. The old drive, before it failed, had the entire 120GB available to me to partition and use. This drive, arrived with a FAT32 installation of XP Pro and showed the drive to be 114GB with 111GB available space. I questioned the Dell tech, who walked me through the beginning of the reinstall of XP using NTFS, about the difference in the size of this drive and my original and was told that the "missing" disk space was lost to the formatting process. When I mentioned that the original drive wasn't "missing" any space she said that it must have been the way Partition Magic worked as opposed to the way Windows works and I could regain the space after I finished the reinstall of XP. She then told me to follow the prompts to finish the installation and said good bye. When I finished the install and got back up and running I installed Partition Magic and sure enough, there was the entire 120GB HD. But there was a segment blacked out and entitled "Unallocated Space". I partitioned the rest of the drive without incident, but when I tried to absorbe this unallocated space into another partition by formatting it as NTFS the system crashed and when I rebooted, I had two of the logical partitions I had created change size and another partition was created, but not the 750MB one I requested, but a 7MB partition. The "Unallocated Space" was still unallocated and unavailable. I was uncomfortable with what had happened and used system restore to return to before Partition Magic was installed. The partitions, however, remained. A call to Dell regarding the "missing" space got me into a disagreement with one of their techs, but no closer to an answer, as he claimed that a 6-8GB loss was normal and that a 120GB drive formatting out to 114GB is "the industry standard" and "blamed" my ability to see and use the entire capacity of my original drive first on Partition Magic and then on the "remote possibility" that the original drive was formatted as NTFS from the beginning and had a "ghosted drive image" that allowed me to see the whole 120GB. I next did a Google search for "formatted capacity of a 120GB hard drive" and every manufacturer I checked listed the "formatted capacity" of their 120GB drives as <big>120GB</big> !!!

    What's up ??????
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/DocWatson_sig.gif>

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    7,089
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Hard Drive Capacity After Formatting

    First, a bit about capacities.

    Windows sees 1GB as 1024mb. Hard drive manufacturers define a GB as 1000mb, a simpler calculation.

    So, 120 divided by 1024 = 0.1171875. Now, 0.1171875 x 1000 = 117.2 (rounded).

    The math is also dependent upon the application used to read the disk, and each may yield a slightly different number. Bottom line: when you start with a drive that's fresh out of it's wrappings, it should be fairly close to the stated number, but it will always be a bit lower than the manufacturer states. Crappy system but that's how they do it.

    Formatted capacity does depend on the operating environment and the disk system - NTFS is much more efficient in the size of its disk clusters and wastes less space, so the theory Dell put forth is plausible. However, I think you're getting a mix of good and bad information from Dell, from various personnel with varying levels of understanding. Don't blame the tech, necessarily, blame to idiotic math the manufacturers (conf)use people with.

    Yes, you got ripped off, but not the way you thought (take what the manufacturers state with a grain of salt). Add formatting in, and you've lost just a liitle more - but perhaps not as much as Dell is saying is normal. I suspect you have a hidden partition on the drive, used for system recovery. And I think you bumped into that with Partition Magic, from what I'm reading in your post.

    Hope that helps clear it up a little!
    -Mark

  3. #3
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Silicon Valley, USA
    Posts
    23,112
    Thanks
    5
    Thanked 93 Times in 89 Posts

    Re: Hard Drive Capacity After Formatting

    Is it possible that this is a refurbished drive that has a lot of bad sectors blocked out? Not sure if there's a utility that can see into that unallocated space and check it out...

  4. #4
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Dallas plus 20 miles or so, Texas, USA
    Posts
    876
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Hard Drive Capacity After Formatting

    In relation to support, although this is about a website and not about hardware...

    For the last several months I have been unable to access my corporate AX card statement. Here is the sequence of appalling events,,,

    Have sent more than 2 dozen emails regarding the account, at least 10 from their "secure communication center".
    Have called and got a real person on the phone four times. The last two times I was told to delete my cookies despite the fact that the person on the other end of the phone had the same problem with their browser at their location. WHAT? Quit reading that play by play service tutorial! Hello, is anyone in there?

    After deleting cookies, I was instructed to empy my browser cache. Hmmm..my cache vs their cache...go figure that one out. After numerous times of going through this, I have refused to do any more local browser checks and have opted for a different card.

    Just to point out that tech support in some cases is merely checking off boxes and in large involves no actual real knowledge of the real problem(s).

  5. #5
    Uranium Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    7,089
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Hard Drive Capacity After Formatting

    Amen - I've never forgotten the day I called to have my computer account in the domain reset (a quirk of NT 4.0 networks) and heard the pages being turned. This after I explained that it was a regular occurrence and here's what I need, can you do this please. After the pages were turned to no avail, I heard the tech talking to someone else to get advice. I simply asked her to "put the guy on that you're talking to."

    Not to get too far off topic for Doc, but this is how help desks work at times. Sometimes you get someone well-versed in the topics, and other times you get someone who took the cheap salary and just needed a job. Arming yourself with information from this thread will give you a leg up should you need to debate the points with the support staff. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>
    -Mark

  6. #6
    Uranium Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    6,684
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 11 Times in 11 Posts

    Re: Hard Drive Capacity After Formatting

    Don't believe I've gotten a refurbished drive. If nothing else, the economics don't bear that out. With the cost of drives so low these days, especially in the quantitiies Dell is buying, it wouldn't be cost effective to use refurbished components in system critical areas.

    Do believe I've been the victim of tech support hell !!! First, I have to say that the last guy I spoke with at Dell did use the same numbers as Mark to support what he was saying. His math was different, but what's 3GB among friends, right ??? <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15> I did tell him what I thought of Dell's support system and policies and asked if there was an on / off button he could push to start recording my conversation for Michael . Passing off people from another country, who speak English as a second language and whose technical expertise consists of 2 weeks of "intensive" training on how to use the tech support manual as their "Award winning technical support" is nothing more or less than thieft by deception !! And these people admit that they are putting you on hold while the look something up !!!!!
    I could go on but..... <img src=/S/rantoff.gif border=0 alt=rantoff width=66 height=37>

    As for arming myself with information.......... don't believe it would help much. Dell isn't about to do anything, as they have fulfilled their obligation under the warranty and provided me with a replacement 120GB hard drive. Beyond that, they are not responsible for how the software and the user interact with the system. This much I am able to understand by the way the buck gets passed around and from a few of the statements made by the American tech support people I've spoken with; It seems that if you have installed any software that didn't come with the computer Dell will not support any functions of the computer changed or affected by that software and will direct you to the software manufacturer's support services for assistance. Even software installed by Dell as part of a promotional package is not supported in any way by Dell. After my last call, I resigned myself to living with things the way they are 'cause it's just too much work and aggravation to go backwards at this point. And after all, who really NEEDS 120GBs for personal use ??? Won't 114GB do just as well ??? I just wanted to know for my own edification. After all, if I'm gonna hafta provide my own tech support, at least I can be better informed and do a better job than the people I'm bitchin' about !!!!! <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/yep.gif border=0 alt=yep width=15 height=15>

    And gettin' a leg up....... only reason to get a leg up on tech support is the same reason a dog lifts it's leg........... to step over something !!! <img src=/S/rofl.gif border=0 alt=rofl width=15 height=15>
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/DocWatson_sig.gif>

  7. #7
    Gold Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    3,386
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Hard Drive Capacity After Formatting

    Cluster size does not significantly affect formatted capacity.

    I forget whether the formatted capacity is rounded, or space within the partiton is ignored, for any space that cannot be used for a full cluster.

    So even if you had, say a 65536 byte clustter, the effect would be less than 65536 bytes.

    Somebody else mentioned bad sectors.

    I would hope that drive manufacturers are not counting bad sector reserve in total capacity, but I'm not sure about that

    IMHO, the best thing to do is run drive diagnostics that you can get from the drive manufacturer.

  8. #8
    Uranium Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    7,089
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Hard Drive Capacity After Formatting

    Howard, I think you missed the point. Cluster size doesn't have much bearing on formatted capacity, but the type of file system does due to slack. NTFS uses space more efficiently. Thus, FAT32 will almost always show more space used than NTFS will. Other file systems will also report slightly different figures; the point being - you're not going to see 120GB because of differing measurement systems.
    -Mark

  9. #9
    Gold Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    3,386
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Hard Drive Capacity After Formatting

    I was referring to formatted capacity, not space used.

  10. #10
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Tunbridge Wells, United Kingdom
    Posts
    405
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Hard Drive Capacity After Formatting

    Dell do allocate a section of the hard drive for purposes best known to themselves. Off the top of my head, I couldn't tell you how big that is (but not very, as I recall). The formatting purpose works in blocks, so with multiple peartitions you always end up with a small chunk of unallocated space. Small by modern HDD standards, that is...
    We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

  11. #11
    Gold Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    3,386
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Hard Drive Capacity After Formatting

    Compaq did/does the same thing.

    However, you can run fdisk and see the partition.
    It's just not available via the OS.

  12. #12
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Dallas plus 20 miles or so, Texas, USA
    Posts
    876
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Hard Drive Capacity After Formatting

    Hey Doc... but dogs do lift their legs to do more than step over things!

  13. #13
    Uranium Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    6,684
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 11 Times in 11 Posts

    Re: Hard Drive Capacity After Formatting

    I'd heard the same thing, and seem to recall one of the multitude I spoke with saying something about 32MB, but that sounds awfully small. Still, even by today's standards, 7.8GB seems alot to "give back" to formatting.

    I did however come across another rather strange issue when I re-installed Partition Magic yesterday and opened it with another HD attached to the system via USB2 in a drive enclosure. That drive is the old 40GB storage disk from my old 233MMX system. I was never able to see more thatn 32GB of that drive and just wrote it off to the age of the BIOS in the 233. Well, now I can see 114GB of the 120GB drive with no unallocated space partition there and the 40GB drive shows as 31.- -GB with the balance listed as "Unallocated Space". Near as I can figure, the unallocated space on the 120 disappeared when I reformatted it to NTFS and the system crashed. It's now NTFS and as such is no longer "Unallocated" as it was when it was FAT32 space on an NTFS drive (Remember, Dell support walked me through a reformat / reinstall of XP from FAT32 to NTFS but only reformatted 114GB of the drive). What lead me to this conclusion is that the 40GB drive appears to be missing the same amount of space as the 120, more or less, and the missing segment is listed as "Unallocated Space" on both drives when ther is FAT32 formatting involved. I'll be testing this hypothosis when I reformat the old 40GB drive to NTFS after I've gotten things back to normal again. If the unallocated partition disappears or is absorbed in part or in whole by the other partition it would seem that it's a FAT32 / NTFS issue. I'll post back when I've reformatted.
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/DocWatson_sig.gif>

  14. #14
    Uranium Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    6,684
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 11 Times in 11 Posts

    Re: Hard Drive Capacity After Formatting

    And when they do Mike, I hope it's rainin' all over Dell's parade !!!
    <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/DocWatson_sig.gif>

  15. #15
    Silver Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Brantford, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,391
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Hard Drive Capacity After Formatting

    I remember back to the days when the Double Density diskettes were all the rage. On an IBM (Clone) machine, the floppy was formatted to 720 kB. On my Amiga 1000, it was formatted to 880 kB. All in all, it was only because of the way each OS formatted the media.

    Heck, even a High Density Diskette, lists on itself it is a 2 MB floppy, but we all know in the Windows / DOS world, you'll only get 1.44 MB out of it.
    Christopher Baldrey

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •