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Tech Talks

[News] Why Does Your Hard Drive Show Less Storage Capacity Than Promised? - Explained!

2018-04-11 12:39:23
9366 134

Hey, Mi Fans!

Friends, It has happened to most of us. The big Day arrived and you have bought a brand new laptop. You unbox it , open file explorer and find that the available space of 512 GB is - wait what??? Why is it only approx 465 GB? Even if you buy a exteral hard drive and open it, you find less available space than what is written on the box. Angered, we start cursing the manufacturer and our dealer for false marketing thinking that they should be sued for doing this. Hey, but have you ever wondered how they continue to do this again and again without getting into legal trouble? The answer is that they are not marketing it falsely at all. Surprised? Let's find out all the answers in this thread.

Why does your bought hard drive shows less space than advertised?
This is everything about calculation. Let me explain.

  • A manufacturer considers 1 Megabyte to be 1000 Kilobytes, 1 Gigabyte to be 1000 Megabytes, 1 Terabyte to be 1000 Gigabytes and so on. This is correct considering that kilo means 1000 and mega means 1000000 (10^6).
  • However, computers calculate on base 2 and to them, 1 MB is actually 1024 kilobytes, 1GB is 1024MB and 1 TB is 1024GB. This difference in the method of computation is responsible for this "missing space."

Let's take an example of a 500 GB hard disk.

  • From a manufacturer's point of view, the 500GB will have 500*1000*1000*1000 = 500000000000 bytes.
  • From a computer's point of view, 500GB is actually 500*1024*1024*1024 = 536870912000 bytes.
  • So, a hard drive that promises to have 500 GB storage space will actually display 465.66GB, 536870912000-500000000000 = 36870912000 bytes (34.34GB) less storage space when connected to a computer.
  • Take a look at the table given above to see how much space is "lost" due to computers working on a base 2 system. As you can see, with the increase in capacity of the storage device, there is an increase in the missing space.
Why Your Computer Or laptop Shows the Wrong Amount of Free Space?
  • When you buy a brand new laptop and see the space available in your drives and calculates, you’ll probably notice something odd about the amount of free space your hard drive contains, if you look closely. If you right-click your C: drive in Windows, you’ll see a certain amount of space referred to as “Used Space”. in the screenshot below, the hard disk contains 279 GB of files.

  • However, if you select all the files on your C: drive (including hidden files and Windows system files), right-click them, and select Properties, you’ll notice something odd. The amount of space used by files doesn’t match up with the amount of used space on your hard drive. Here, we have 272 GB worth of files on our C: drive – but Windows is using 279 GB of space. That’s a difference of 7 GB or so – where did all those GBs go? Let's find out the reasons behind it.

Installed Softwares:
  • The first and most obvious reason you don’t have access to all your hard drive space is that there’s a significant piece of software installed on it already: your operating system. Unless you specifically selected a “no OS” model, it will come pre-installed with something.
  • For PC manufacturers like HP or Dell, the vast majority of machines ship with Microsoft Windows, while Apple only ships its own macOS, and some companies ship machines with Linux or Android. Regardless of which platform it runs, at the end of the day operating systems are software and software takes up storage space. For example, a relatively new installation of Windows requires over 15 GB, as shown in the below image.

  • The manufacturer also has the prerogative to install additional software with their products. This may include their own utilities, such as programs that will keep software drivers up to date. There could also be trial versions of applications affectionately known as bloatware, or bundled programs that aren’t part of the OS proper (e.g. macOS applications Photos and Garage Band).

  • These allow users to be productive as soon as they start up a new machine, provided those users are willing to use the provided apps. Otherwise, they simply take up space.

Partitioned Hard Drive:
  • Another place your hard drive space might have gone is to a manufacturer-created disk partitions. In years past, a new computer commonly came with one (or a whole book full of) CDs containing software, including a recovery disk. In the event of a total meltdown of your machine, you could boot from this drive and restore your computer to an right-out-of-the-box state.
  • But nowadays it’s more common for manufacturers to include a recovery image. They’ll split your drive into two partitions: the standard OS partition, and one that’s the hard drive equivalent of those old CDs. Any space it takes up (as shown below in the Computer Management tool’s Storage  Disk Management screen), of course, will not be available for your operating system.

  • You can tell if you have one of these partitions by looking at the disk manager (Windows, Mac, and Linux all have them) for a smaller slice of the disk with keywords like “Restore” or “Recovery.”
  • You may also notice one or more even smaller partitions on your disk. These can belong to bootloaders, or the software that hands control of the computer to the OS after you start it up. The UEFI bootloader, in particular, generally has space at the start of the drive where it resides, as well as space later on where the information for various OSs on the machine are stored.

So, friends, I hope with above mentioned information, if you have read carefully then you need never again be taken off guard when you see different hard drive sizes on your computer and its packaging. Your operating system is technically correct when reporting capacity.

How many of the things above apply to the machine you’re using right now? Let me know in the comments if you have any “wrong drive capacity” stories! I'll see you tomorrow with one more interesting Tech Topic! Till then, take care!

Sources : 1 , 2


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2018-04-11 12:39:23
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Master Bunny

Gobinda4 | from Redmi 3S


Nice information... thanks for sharing
2018-04-11 12:43:46

Master Bunny

meetgour | from Redmi Y1


Well Explained!!!
2018-04-11 13:06:14

Grandmaster Bunny

Subhash_Deshmukh | from Redmi Note 4


Well Explained!!!!
2018-04-11 13:42:46


Sam_crazy Author | from Redmi Note 4


Well Explained!!!

Thank you brother
2018-04-11 13:50:25


Sam_crazy Author | from Redmi Note 4


Well Explained!!!!

thank you bro :)
2018-04-11 13:50:42

Wizard Bunny

Sampath madurai | from Redmi Note 4


Nice Thanks for your information
2018-04-11 13:59:39

Rookie Bunny

1804998356 | from Redmi Note 5 Pro


Very helpful info
2018-04-11 14:39:08

Advanced Bunny

Amarnai | from Mi A1


thanks for your help
2018-04-11 17:52:15

Pro Bunny

andubey1796700653 | from Redmi 5A


thanks for sharing
2018-04-11 21:06:43

Master Bunny

harshsan | from Redmi 5A


Wow Great information
2018-04-11 21:07:58
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