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120 GB HDD suddenly shows up as 37.2 GB in Windows (1 Viewer)

Jeff Jacobson

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My parents' computer was going extremely slow today. I noticed that Windows ME was now saying that the C: drive only had 37.2 GB total, when it actually should have about 111 GB.

This problem just started today. Previously windows showed the C: drive having 111 GB as it should.

Any idea what is causing this problem and/or how to fix it?

(I've already tried running ScanDisk, and that didn't help.)
 

Jeff Jacobson

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I also noticed something else that isn't working right on this computer. When I try to open the System Information Tool (MSINFO32.EXE) I get this error message:


Does anyone have any idea what's wrong with this computer?
 

Andrew Chong

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I'll take a stab at trying to help.

Have you emptied your recycle bin?

Have you tried restoring your system to an earlier point in time (I'm unsure if Windows ME has this feature)?
 

Ken Chan

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Searching Google Groups found this link: http://winnoel.users.btopenworld.com/HSfails.htm I'm not sure if that's a symptom or a completely separate problem.

I would guess that the total drive size is calculated from the drive/partition "geometry":

sectors/track times
tracks/cylinder times
# of cylinders

In the XP version of msinfo32, under Components | Storage | Disks, it lists those values for the drive, and then the partition sizes. If the ME version has the same info (maybe not in the same place) you'll want to verify that is correct. The info should be printed on the drive itself, and in any spec sheets that you can download from the drive maker's website. If the drive geometry is wrong, that's a hardware/BIOS problem. If the partion size is wrong, then something may have altered/damaged the partition table.
 

Jeff Jacobson

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I tried scanning with Western Digital's Data Lifeguard tools, but they found no errors. The problem is still there, so I'll have to try something else.
 

Jason Adams

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Heres a long shot...go to program files, and look for any software you havent installed. Then delete that folder. It could be spyware.
 

Chris Bardon

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Another couple suggestions:

drop to a DOS prompt and run fdisk-is there anything showing up as "unpartitioned space"? NOTE-be really careful here. You just want to view partition information, but not delete anything.

try defragmenting the drive. I can't think of any way that fragmentation could eat that much space, unless there's some crazy MFT fragmentation...
 

Robert_Gaither

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If you don't mind reloading everything I'd recommend hooking this up to a windows xp pro computer and go to start/settings/control panel/administrative tools/computer management/storage/disk management this will allow you to see if any of disk is unalocated space. There are some things to note:

1) Fat has about a 36 gb limit and most likely you'll have to use some form of software that would allow you to use this as a Fat file drive if you only want a single partition.

2) Bios limitations, many of the older computers could only read hard drives of a certain size, ironically if partitioned this into a multi-drive (C:, D:, etc) then it would read it as multiple hard drives.

Recommendation, partition this into about 4 parts (this way the computer thinks it has a C: to F: hard drives) and teach your parents to install things to a different partition (when installing a program just change the C:**** to a D:****) this way it would allow you to do easy maintenance (scan disk just one partition, format just one partition, etc). This should allow you to have your cake and eat it to as you can do a complete backup to the final partition for easy maintenance.
 

Jeff Jacobson

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Prior to Aug 24 (the day I made the first post), the drive had a single FAT32 partition of about 111 GB. So those limitations don't apply, right?

Initially, the motherboard's BIOS did not support hard drives this large, but I upgraded the BIOS when I first installed the hard drive (which was a few years ago). Is there some way the BIOS could have been reset?
 

Steve Berger

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You should run fdisk and retreive partition information. If the info matches the real size of the drive then you have a Windows (or software) problem. If the info matches the smaller (37.2Gb reported by Windows) size then you have a BIOS problem. There's no point in planning fixes until you know which direction to shoot.
 

Tekara

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The problem he is stating is not that there is less available space than there should be it's that the hard drive's maximum space is less than it should be, by a considerable amount.

Anyway, Jeff, have you tried the remainder of my suggestions yet, I am particulaly interested in seeing if the harddrive is reported improperly in DOS if you boot off a bootdisk.
 

Jeff Jacobson

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Here are the results given by FDISK

Code:

 Partition Status Type Volume Label Mbytes System Usage
 C:1 A PRI DOS 38162 FAT32 100%


It says that this partition is using 100% of the space (as it should), but that the amount of space on the drive is only about 37.3 GB (when it should be over 111 GB).

I reformatted this hard drive less than a year ago and the correct amount of storage space was shown at that time.
 

Glenn Overholt

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Fdisk should have had another button to show you the other partitions.

I'd go back to the bios. The drive should be listed AS it should be. It is possible that the battery is getting old, and burped, (or whatever you want to call it).

When you go into Fdisk, it is supposed to ask you if you want to support large drive sizes, or something like that.

Glenn
 

John Chow

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Do you have Partition Magic? You might want to see what it says, plus it would give you the ability to format the extra space into extra partitions (assuming your hdd is ok).

If you see this article,
http://www.microsoft.com/resources/d...c_fil_tdrn.asp

It mentions that WinXP will only format partitions up to 32GB, but I don't know if that's true for Windows ME, or whatever your drive was originally formatted using. It does mention other OSes can format to larger than 32GB.

However, if you're 100% sure that at one point you had 111GB showing up, and you didn't change anything, and now only see 37GB, then i'd say something's wrong with your hardware.
 

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