Unable to see full amount of hard drive

Updated: 10/30/2017 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 Gig 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 33.8GB.

CMOS not setup properly

Verify that the hard drive is properly setup 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 can be found 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 that 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 that you use the full amount (100%) unless you want to have more than one partition.

Once you have created the partition, view that partition and 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 that you are encountering a hardware issue.

If you have an older computer it is likely that your BIOS may not support the hard drive that you are attempting to install into 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. 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. It is then recommended, that if all of the above solutions have been tried, you contact the manufacturer of the hard drive.

Additional information