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160GB HDD when formated is 149GB....

by 70441.2227 / February 20, 2007 1:06 PM PST

File System NTFS

I have an older Western Digital 160GB HDD that when formated is 149GB. I was wondering if losing 11GB when formating was more than usual?


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Nothing is lost. Just using different units
by linkit / February 20, 2007 2:26 PM PST

THE ANALOGY: Whether your height is reported in feet or meters, you don't get any taller or shorter.

1,000,000,000 bytes = Decimal GB
1,073,741,824 bytes = Binary GB

So, one Decimal GB = 0.93132 Binary GB

The hard drive size printed on its retail packaging is a count of the bytes reported in units of Decimal GB. The hard drive size reported by Windows is a count of the same number of bytes, but with different units of measurement, namely the Binary GB.

So, you can expect Windows to display the size of any hard drive at about 93% of the advertised number of GB (or almost 7% fewer GB).

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i had the same question/problem a few days ago
by jonah jones / February 20, 2007 2:40 PM PST

it occurs to me that M'soft would score MAJOR brownie points if they used a system that would say "formatting your brand new 80G" and then "your 80G is formatted"

psychology i know, but it sure would feel good Wink



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That would be nice
by linkit / February 20, 2007 3:09 PM PST
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(NT) Thanks to everyone for their responsesI appreciate it. Bob
by 70441.2227 / February 24, 2007 11:13 PM PST
In reply to: That would be nice
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It's crazy
by Chiatzu / March 2, 2007 4:12 PM PST
In reply to: That would be nice

The lawyers usually do come out richer, while everyone else gets a few dollars. That class action was a joke, a waste of time and tax payers money. Anyone with half a brain and a few minutes of time with Google, would be able to understand why there is a disk space difference between an unformatted and formatted drive.

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Again a frivilious Law Suit to make Lawers rich
by david6356 / March 2, 2007 10:37 PM PST
In reply to: That would be nice

I own 2 Western Digital HD's and have always known how they arive at the "advertised" capacity. It is kind of like buying gasoline and paying Two dolars and 59.9 cents a gallon. And to think that Western Digital settled this stupid suit. By the way I went to the link to get my free $30.00 Software (Ha Ha) and the time had expired claim that software. PEOPLE ARE SO GREEDY! What happend to good old fasioned common sense and being nice to others. I don't really think that WD tried to intentionally mislead the public. They just wanted to sell their product. WD is not the only HD manufacturer that uses this formula to show capacity. So who is next in this mad mad world of lawsuits? Please excuse my spelling and grammer I just got out of the hospital after 13 days in intensive care and 8 hours in regular care. It seams that once you are out of Intensive care you get the broom following you to get you out as soon as possible. Thank you again Greedy Attorneys. Without frivilious lawsuits we might even get decent health care. What goes around comes around. May God Bless us All!

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160gb is 149gb maybe something else
by okteddy / February 7, 2012 4:35 PM PST

ok can someone please explain as follows. seagate 160gb reads in bios as a 160gb. and when i partition it fat32 it comes out a 159999... thats using a disk manager like ibm v9.7 or something. i dont have a partion manager that does ntfs at this time. so i place my win 7 dvd in and when i get to the part where i need to format my drive it reduces to 149gb. fat32 it was all there. ntfs for win 7 its smaller. so i tried it using 2 partitions on the disk. results are instead of having 1 x 80gb and 1 x 79.9gb partition i have a 74.5gb and a 74.4gb partition. and windows with all of its updates takes up 16.2 gb. that seems unusually high. should i disable shadowing in bios and what else should i enable and disable? or should i just go back to xp where the partition was correct at fat32? 16.2 gb is just windows 7 with all of the updates and mse security essentials. nothing else on there. the hdd ran quiet on auto. now its not as quiet on LBA on a yeston P35 mobo, 2gb ram, 1.8 core duo. the seagate tools were useless even with another seagate. that 80gb reports as 80gb running windows xp. help please anyone?

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Re: size
by Kees_B Forum moderator / February 7, 2012 5:00 PM PST

All is fine. Don't worry. Nothing wrong.

There are 2 kinds of GB, and they differ by some 7%. 7% of 160 GB = 10.2 GB. 160 GB - 10.2 GB = 149.8 GB. When they sell such a disk, they say it's 160 Gb. When Windows sees such a disk, it says it's 149.8 GB. That's the way it should be.

16.2 GB for Windows 7 with all those updates is fine also. That's 10% of a rather small drive. That's only 3.2% of a more common 500 GB drive. Why care about 3.2% of disc space used by the OS to be able to use the other 96.8%?


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160 billion = 149G
by ChuckT / February 25, 2007 4:50 AM PST

As you have already read, but here is the math (somewhat simplified, but if you know of the 'powers of 2' you'll understand):
160,000,000,000 / 1024 /1024 /1024 = 149.01 G

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larger hard drives
by willtr2 / March 2, 2007 11:57 PM PST

you are fortunate that it is reading over 127GB

the problem is the bios and the older bios have a limit of 127GB

you need to upgrade your bios with a newer version

first what motherboard do you have

at the first boot press the pause and brake button on the keyboard, this will pause the screen so that you can read and write down the information that is displayed

then press the enter button for machine to continue to boot

armed with the correct information go onto the motherboard web site and down load the bios into a file that you can easily find

transfer bios information onto a clean floppy disk (freshly formated) with no other information on the floppy disk

put the floppy disk fully in machine and reboot with disk in machine
and follow any instruction on screen

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BIOS and/or operating system
by linkit / March 4, 2007 5:03 PM PST
In reply to: larger hard drives

As I understand it, the 48-bit LBA problem can be a hardware and/or software problem.


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Let's make this easy...
by MetsSoxx / March 3, 2007 4:36 AM PST


Original version of XP would only read to that 149GB or so barrier. If you don't have already, install SP2 on the machine. After that is done, right click on "my computer" and hit manage. Under Storage on the left, click on disk management. You should see the unallocated space in there. You can format that section and create a new drive letter for that previously unseen space on your harddrive.

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137GB (127GB) limit
by linkit / March 4, 2007 5:13 PM PST

The original version of XP (no service pack) didn't have support for hard drives over 137GB (formatted as 127GB).

This was fixed in with XP-SP1.


The 149GB issue is a different issue (see Post #2).

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clarification on 127GB limit
by linkit / March 5, 2007 8:05 AM PST
In reply to: 137GB (127GB) limit

The 127GB issue is a limitation of older Windows disk utilities that use 16-bit programming. An updated versions of XP is a solution to this particular issue issue. The 127GB limit is not an issue of presenting the total number of bits on the hard drive in different units.

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Thanks to everyone for their response...
by 70441.2227 / March 3, 2007 10:53 AM PST


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I'm surprised at all these wrong answers

The answer is pretty simple. Formatting itself requires the use of a certain percentage of the drive the raw bit data size is actually 160GB. In the case of my unformatted Seagate drives my unformatted 250GB was actually 250.25 GB, formatted it was about 227GB if I remember correctly.

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Sir, You are simply incorrect
by Ray Harinec / March 4, 2007 11:52 PM PST

The part about the difference between the drive mfr using decimal Gigabyte vs MS in all but one place using Binary Gigabyte is one hundred percent correct.

There is one place where it reports the decimal number. I simply forget where that is, believe it was related to FDISK or format in older versions.

The number provided by the drive mfr, is the minimum guaranteed number of bits, in the DECIMAL NUMBER SYSTEM, AVAILABLE FOR FORMATTING. The drive's plattters, when made, have a little more space [more bits]to allow for the loss of some sectors due to manufaturing defects.

Yes formatting will lose some space, however the large difference is due to the use of different number systems.

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I concede
by j_a_s_p_e_r-18898677845122086628774458260115 / October 27, 2007 4:21 AM PDT

You are correct. I can't believe all these wrong answers, including my own...

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I agree with Ray Harinec
by linkit / March 5, 2007 8:23 AM PST

The 250GB hard drive that the operating system displays as 232GB contains the same total number of bits before and after formatting. The significant difference results from using two different systems of measurement (decimal and binary).

The computer I am using right now is running fully updated XP Pro with SP2. It has a 160GB hard drive. If I right-click on the hard drive icon and select Properties, the total capacity is listed as "160,031,014,912 bytes" and it is also listed as "149GB" in that same Properties window.

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160gb hdd
by simmo11 / March 8, 2007 2:50 PM PST

I found that when I formatted my 160gb hdd and partitioned it and then formatted the new partition, I had 159gb total hdd space.

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