Unable to see the full amount of hard drive

Updated: 05/21/2018 by Computer Hope

entire hard drive unseenA computer hard drive may not be fully seen because of a known limitation with the hardware or software. Below is a listing of known limitations and additional information and fixes about each of them. If you are not encountering any of the below issues, continue reading the other possible causes.

Reference Question
CHSPACE How much is 1 byte, kilobyte, megabyte, gigabyte, etc.?
CH000032 Only able to see 2 GB partition/drive.
CH000182 Hard drive is only being seen as a 504/540 MB hard drive.
CH000273 Not able to see over 8.4 GB hard drive.
CH000274 Not able to see or boot with hard drive over 33.8 GB.

CMOS not set up properly

Verify that the hard drive is properly set up in CMOS Setup.

  • If the computer has the option for 'Auto' or 'Auto Detect,' the computer should be setting up the hard drive properly.
  • If the computer does not have one of the above options, you need to manually set the CMOS settings for the hard drive.

Several hard drive CMOS settings are available on our hard drive specifications page.

Software or setup issue

Make sure you are not encountering a software related issue by deleting and recreating the partitions.

Note: When recreating the partition, all information on the hard drive is erased, but verifies you are encountering other issues.

When recreating the partition, in fdisk, ensure no other partitions are present by choosing option 4 to display the partition information. If no partitions are present, ensure that when creating a primary partition, you use the full amount (100%) unless you want to have more than one partition.

Once you have created the partition, view that partition, ensure it is being detected 100%, and ensure that the Mbytes is correctly stated.

Note: If you're using an old version of fdisk or partition utility, it could be the cause of your issue. Make sure if you're using a large hard drive that you're using the latest partition utility.

BIOS issue, limitation, or hardware issue

If the above recommendations do not help, you may have a BIOS issue or limitation, and may be encountering a hardware issue.

If you have an older computer, it is likely that your BIOS does not support the hard drive you are attempting to install in the computer. There are two fixes used to resolve this issue. The first is installing a BIOS update that allows support for a larger hard drive. The other is Disk Drive Overlay (DDO) software, which is included with many hard drives. It can be used to trick the computer into recognizing the full amount of the available space on the hard drive.

If your computer is less than five years old, the hard drive may have a physical defect. If all of the above solutions have been tried, we recommend that you contact the manufacturer of the hard drive.

Additional information