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Author Topic: The Incredible Shrinking Hard Drive
Crono
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I've noticed on several of my computers that my hard drive seems to be smaller than it used to be. For example, one of my hard drives is supposed to be 40 GB. Over time, it seemed to get smaller, and it's now only about 37 GB. That's still big enough for me, but I'm wondering what causes this to happen.

I've seen it on floppy disks as well. The typical size of a floppy disk is 1.44 MB, but I have seen some that are down to 1.1 MB.

I would guess that frequent use causes the disks to shrink, but what exactly could make a disk get smaller? More importantly (and this is something that men have probably been wanting to know for some time), is there anything that can be done to stop or prevent the shrinkage?

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Posts: 293 | From: Nashville, TN | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Miles Invictus
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Keep in mind that a gigabyte is actually something like 1,073,741,824 bytes, whereas advertisers round that to an even 1,000,000,000 bytes, which is 93% of what computers count it as. 93% of 40gb is approximately 37gb, so it's entirely possible you've always had the same amount of space, but never noticed the discrepancy before.

Of course, it's also possible that the hard drive or floppy disk has damaged clusters, which will reduce the available space (though I'm not sure if the reduction will be noticed by the computer until a diagnostic is ran).

The best way I can think of to prevent shrinkage is to take care of your equipment -- store your floppies in dust-proof containers, keep strong magnets away from your computer, make sure your hard drives are secured to their frames, allow proper ventilation in your case, and so on.

Posts: 236 | From: Iowa | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Crono
Deck the Malls


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I thought that the discrepency between an actual gigabyte and an advertised gigabyte might be the problem as well, but I have definitely noticed that the size of the disk is shrinking.

This might simply be normal wear and tear on the disk. I thought that I took good care of my hard drives, but there might be something wrong with them after all.

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Posts: 293 | From: Nashville, TN | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
me, no really
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A drive also loses capacity when it is formatted. The system adds all the necessary system files, and other format information. This takes space. When the system quotes the size of the drive, it quotes the amount of room available to store files - which is the unformatted size minus the space taken by the format. Hence a 40GB (unformatted) drive will be a bit less once formatted.

me

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Posts: 831 | From: Brisbane, Australia | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

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