Hard Drive Capacity got cut in half after formatting


Jun 3, 2008
I just recently formatted my computer. My disk space should be 230 GB. However, after the format, the size went down to about 130 GB. I only have 1 Hard drive, and I am running Windows XP Pro. I have a Core 2 Duo, with 2 GB RAM, and I have no idea why this would happen. Does anyone know why? Thank you


Jun 1, 2006
is that FREE space amount, or total capacity? You're gonna lose some space after an OS instal and also you lose like 7% total capacity after formatting...


Aug 10, 2006

That is new to me.


There's info missing here!

You say your only HDD was reporting correctly before all this that its size was 230 GB. That HAS to mean you were running it with a version of XP Pro that DID have "48-bit LBA Support" - that is, you had Service Pack 1 or later of XP running. So, how did a Format operation lose that? I suspect you did something more like a complete Partition, Format and Re-Install of XP from an install CD, where the install CD was a different version before SP1.

Anyway, however you got where you are now, there's a Catch-22 to beat. Right now you have it running without 48-bit LBA support, so the HDD has been partitioned to allocate as its first partition a chunk the maximum size that original XP could handle - 128 GB. The rest of the drive is simply unallocated space. You need to upgrade the XP to Service Pack 1 at least, but SP2 is much better. SP3 is out officially, but some people advise letting it alone until more bugs are fixed - your choice. BUT, once you do that it will allow you, in Disk Management, to go in and create a new second partition in the unallocated space in the HDD, creating a new drive with its own letter, etc. Then you Format it and Voilà! you have a new empty drive. However, if your original plan was to add that space to the existing 128 GB C: drive and make it bigger, that is not what you got!

The problem here is that Windows, to protect itself, will NOT allow you to change the size of the drive that is the bootable partition with Windows on it. You cannot add space to it! To do that you have two choices.

One choice is to get some third-party disk utility software that does allow you to change the size of ANY partition, and use it to add the unallocated space to your C: drive. There are several that do this well, although I have not used them.

The other is to start over. You will re-do the Partition, Format, Install sequence, but this time start with an install CD that has an updated version of XP Pro (at least with SP1 included). That version will allow you to make a single partition up to the full capacity of your HDD, which Windows will call 232 GB. How to do this? You either need an install disk like this (and I suspect that is NOT the disk you used recently), or you need to learn how to make a "Slipstreamed" XP install disk yourself. This is a completely legal procedure in which you start with a legal, legit copy of XP Pro on a CD, then download all the updates required from Microsoft, plus some software tools and instructions for the task. Then you basically make a copy of the new final install software on your hard disk, and finally burn a special version of it onto a new CD-R disk. That becomes your new XP Pro Install CD, and away you go. If you want to do this, search the Microsoft site for instructions, and also elsewhere on the web for clear step-by-step procedures and the software tools to do it.

Oh, there's a third option which I have done and it works, but you need a large spare hard drive and some cloning software like Acronis True Image. Basically, you first use the Microsoft website to upgrade your current XP Pro so that is has all the latest goodies, including SP2 or SP3. Then you install the cloning software on your HDD so that it runs under Windows. Then you install a second hard disk and clone your system onto it, making it the new bootable drive. You shut down, arrange it so the spare drive becomes the C: drive it boots from, and make sure it works. Then you do the cloning operation again back onto your original 250 GB unit, but with an important difference. This time you tell the cloning software to partition the destination drive (your original unit) into one big volume that uses up all the avalable space before making the clone onto it. The cloning software does four critical steps on the destination drive: Partition it per user instructions, Format the resulting space, copy absolutely everything from the original drive to the destination (NOT worrying about matching drive sizes, as long as the destination has enough space to take all the data), and finally marking the new drive as bootable. Your final steps are to remove the Spare drive, re-install the original drive as C: and verify that it's all working, then temporarily put the spare drive back in and Partition and Format it to a useable blank data drive.


May 5, 2011
hi there i have had the same proplem but slightly worse an answer would be good and maxtor refuse to comment

apparently thought according to alot of good scources there is a x0.93 solution to the size the drive should be after formatting e.g. i have a WD 300gb velociraptor after formatting it became 279 - 300 times 0.93 = 279

but i also have had a related problem with a maxtor 160gb hhd when i formatted it it then became 33.3gb and im almost certain this is of no fault of my own
i have used "windows -computer management -disk manager" - i tryied it on xp pro sp3, vista pro and my new 7 pro (i originally formated the disk on vista). i have also tryed using software by acronis to get back the lost part of my disk to no happyness

if any body else has had this proplem please share so we can find a solution because if this was to happen to my WD 300gb VR i think i would cry as would many others

any help much appriciated thanks Shott


Oct 17, 2011

I need help with this as well. My WD 750gb reduced down to 200gb after I formatted it to FAT32 so I could play it through the PS3.


Mar 22, 2012
Well that is your problem FAT32 is not capable of handling such large media devices.
My suggestion is converting the drive from FAT32 to NTFS and your problem should be solved.

As for the ability to use it with the PS3... I would purchase a few smaller refurbished drive and work with those

Steps to convert
Open Command Prompt. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Command Prompt.
or use window key + R and then type cmd

In the command prompt window, type: convert drive_letter: /fs:ntfs

For example, typing convert D: /fs:ntfs would format drive D: with the ntfs format. You can convert FAT or FAT32 volumes to NTFS with this command.

Important Once you convert a drive or partition to NTFS, you cannot simply convert it back to FAT or FAT32. You will need to reformat the drive or partition which will erase all data, including programs and personal files, on the partition.