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Could someone explain the storage discrepancies on my external HD?

Feb 11, 2007
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I'm trying to work out what is the problem with my Western Digital 1000Gb external harddisk.

I was running out of space and since I was storing some data for a friend I therefore off loaded it onto my friend's computer. The size of this data was in the region of about 10Gb.

I then went and checked the space on my HD and things just didn't match up, never mind the fact that I took off 10Gb of data and there was NOT 10Gb of space left.

First pic below shows the properties after right clicking on the drive icon. What I don't understand is, is where is the 69Gb but it also says that I only have 34.9Mb left.

This second pic show the capacity after going into the drive, highlighting all files and again bringing up the properties. Here it tells me I am using 911/907Gb.

So, I don't understand how all these numbers add up, because they don't. Why am I getting what seems to be random values?
What am I missing, what can I do?

Nov 18, 2006
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The first image shows the total size of the drive, which is correct.
The reason 69GB is missing is due to the way Windows counts bits (1000 vs 1024). I can't remember which is which, but I think Windows uses the 1000 bits = 1KBits instead of 1024 bits = 1KBits.
The second (inside the drive on main directory), you highlighted all the folders inside correct?
If so, it only shows the size of all the files/folders and the size on the disk it takes up. Why they are different, I'm not too sure.


New Member
Mar 18, 2009
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It is a older convention that HDD space is measured in powers of 10 instead of powers of 2 (1TB on an HDD is 1000GB and not 1024GB).
To be honest, your hard drive has 202MB more than it should :p, but seriously everything is fine with your disc.
As for the "missing space" it could be on a hidden partition, recycle bin files, or just the Master File Table, thing is without inspecting the drives binary content thoroughly it's hard to guess where it's wasted.

EDIT: Oh, I just remembered something, the System Restore backup files sometimes eat up a lot (and I really mean a lot) of space, turn it off for this drive (since I'm guessing this is not the OS drive), right-click on "My Computer" -> "Properties" -> "System Restore" and uncheck that HDD. Good luck.
Last edited:


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Oct 13, 2008
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First pic below shows the properties after right clicking on the drive icon. What I don't understand is, is where is the 69Gb but it also says that I only have 34.9Mb left.
Your drive has 1,000,202,240,000 bytes which is 931.51092529296875 GiB (1,000,202,240,000 / 2^30). That's normal (Windows doesn't round, it just drops everything after 3 digits).

There's two possible explainations for the difference in used space:
1) The data you thought was deleted is still there because it is in a recycler. You'd have to empty the recycle bin to purge that data.

2) That is the space used by the file system. Every file and directory occupies space on the hard drive used to describe the file/directory. This size is not part of the actual files/directories on the disk but the data itself is on the disk. This is why it shows up when you check the drive capacity but not when you check the size of everything on the drive. If you did the same with having it show all hidden files and all hidden system files, they would likely line up closer.

In short, there's nothing wrong.


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everyone else has covered the stuff i was going to say.

the drive size is correct, thanks to HDD manufacturers reporting drive size differently to microsoft - and windows can cause missing chunks of space due to hidden backups/recycle bin, etc.