5 Fixes to External Hard Drive Capacity not Displaying Correctly

It’s very common to be faced with external hard drive capacity not displaying correctly problem. There are many reasons why your external hard drive showing wrong capacity. Read this page to figure out the real causes and find the most appropriate solution to restore its correct size on Windows 11/10/8/7.


By Hedy / Updated on May 12, 2023

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“External hard drive capacity not displaying correctly”

"Hello, I have a 1TB external HDD that I plan to use as a backup drive. But when I connect it to my Win 10 PC, it only shows 32GB capacity. How can I get this external to show full capacity so I can use it as my backup."

In the daily use of an external hard drive, it's common to meet various disk problems such as external hard drive won't format, external hard drive not recognize or recognize but not accessible, etc. So, the occurrence of external hard drive capacity not displaying correctly is not weird.

You might be wondering what causes external hard drive showing wrong capacity and if there is a way to solve it. Just read on to find the answers.

Why is my external hard drive not showing correct capacity?

Mastering the reasons behind the wrong size displayed on an external disk can help you better deal with this issue. Below are the most causes of it in Windows 11/10/8/7.

▶ The external hard drive is out of date.

Outdated drivers can malfunction your external hard disk, which let the drive show or display the wrong size when plugged in. That’s why it’s suggested to clean and maintain your disk as frequently as possible.

▶ The previous formatting process was incomplete.

Formatting is a way of enabling Windows to recognize the (external) hard drive. If the formatting process is unfinished or interrupted, it may cause the disk to be corrupted, and then show its capacity incorrectly like hard drive only showing half capacity.

▶ The external hard drive is infected with viruses or malware.

A virus or malware infection is likely to eat some storage space on an external drive, which certainly brings an external hard drive not displaying in my computer or not displaying correctly. An anti-virus program is a great tool to keep your disk safe and sound.

▶ The external disk is initialized to the wrong partition style.

Every new disk should be initialized before it can be put into use. Two partition tables: MBR vs. GPT are suitable for different situations. As is known to all, MBR partition style only supports disk volume that is up to 2TB.

Therefore, if you initialize a hard drive that is larger than 2TB to MBR, the space that exceeds 2TB cannot be recognized by Windows. That's why your external hard drive showing wrong capacity.

▶ Partitions on the external drive are lost or deleted.

If one or more partitions on the external hard drive are deleted by accident, the space will be shown as “ Unallocated” in Disk Management and can't be accessed in Windows File Explorer.

How to fix “external hard drive capacity not displaying correctly”?

From above, you have known some reasons why external hard drive capacity decreased. In this section, we'll discuss what you should do to fix this issue. The below five solutions are carefully collected by us. You can pick the one you are most suitable for and follow the detailed steps.

Fix 1. Update external hard drive driver

Step 1. Type "Device Manager" into the search bar and press "Enter".

Step 2. Click "Disk drives" to expand the category. Right-click on the hard drive that shows the wrong capacity and select "Update driver".


Step 3. Then click on "Search automatically for updated driver software". Windows will now try to automatically update your driver.


Follow the next instructions to update the drivers for your external hard drive. If this method doesn't work, try the other four solutions.

Fix 2. Reformat the external hard drive

To format a disk, you can try Windows built-in disk formatting utility first. Here, we take "DiskPart" as an example.

Step 1. Type "cmd" in the search bar. Right-click on the Command Prompt and select "Run as administrator".

Step 2. Input and run the following commands and hit "Enter" after each line.


list disk (get a detailed list of all disks on your system)

select disk n (n is the number of the external hard drive)

clean (delete all partitions on the selected disk and clear it)

create partition primary (create a primary partition on the disk)

format fs=ntfs quick (or format fs=exfat. Which file system to be formatted with is based on your meed)


Then, assign a drive letter to the newly created partition. After that, you can check if the external hard drive capacity not displaying correctly issue has been fixed, if not, go ahead to the next method.

Fix 3. Wipe the external hard drive to its full capacity

If formatting is not working, you can try permanently wiping the hard drive to restore the disk to its full capacity. To secure the lifespan and maintenance of the external hard disk, we recommend you use AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard, a free disk manager for Windows 11/10/8/7/XP/Vistcan, which can write zero to the target disk quickly and safely.

Download FreewareWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Note: Both formatting and wiping will erase all the data on the target external disk, please back up any data you don’t want to lose.

Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard on your Windows PC, right-click the external hard drive which does not show the size correctly and select "Wipe Hard Drive".


Step 2. In the pop-out window, you can see four wiping methods. Choose the first one and click on "OK" button.


Step 3. Then, click on the "Apply" and "Proceed" to execute this wiping operation.


After wiping, this drive will become unallocated space, don't forget to create a new partition with the space so that your external hard drive can show correct capacity.

Fix 4. Convert the external hard drive from MBR to GPT

As we discussed above, an external hard drive with an MBR partition table cannot address the space that exceeds 2TB, so you can convert it to GPT to solve the external hard drive capacity not displaying correctly problem.

However, Windows Disk Management or DiskPart only supports the conversion on the empty disk. That means you have to delete all the existing partitions first, which can definitely cause data loss. Luckily, AOMEI Partition Assistant is not only a disk wiper but also an MBR2GPT converter. It allows you to convert data disk from MBR to GPT without losing any data. Let’s see how to make it.

Step 1. On the main interface of AOMEI software, right-click the external disk and select "Convert to GPT".


Step 2. Then a small window will appear, just click "OK" to confirm to convert the disk to GPT.


Step 3. Finally, click "Apply" on the left corner to start the conversion.


Then, you can check if the external hard drive showing wrong capacity issue disappear.

Fix 5. Recover the deleted partition on the external hard drive

If you accidentally delete some partitions on your external disk, you will find its capacity not showing correctly as well. To solve this problem, please upgrade to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional to recover the lost or deleted partition quickly.

Download Pro DemoWin 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1. Click "Partition Recovery" under "Recover" menu. Select the disk that contains the deleted partition and click "Next".


Step 2. Select a search method and click "Next". You can try "Fast Search" for the first time and use "Full Search" later.


Step 3. Tick the deleted partition from the list and click "Proceed" to start the partition recovery.



On this page, we have shared some common reasons why external hard drive capacity not displaying correctly and five effective ways to fix it. Hope they are helpful for you and you would know what to do if the same issue occurs again.

It's worth mentioning that AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is very practical in resolving various tricky disk and partition problems, such as SSD not showing up, no option to format SSD, extending volume grayed out, etc.

Hedy · Staff Editor
Hedy is an editor of AOMEI Technology. She is very good at solving problems of partition management, and she wants to share all the problems she had already solved to users who met the same questions.