By Bryce / Last Updated May 6, 2020

The case: My 500GB Seagate external hard drive only shows 32GB

“Recently, my friend has given me a Seagate 500GB external hard drive. I want to copy data from my laptop that running Windows 10 to it. But after I connected it to my computer, I found that it only shows 32GB capacity in Windows File Explorer. But the real capacity of it should be 500GB. How can I restore the external hard drive to its full capacity simply and quickly? ”

Possible causes of external hard drive not showing the real capacity

There are many elements that can account for external hard drive showing less capacity and main factors are concluded as follows:

Install bootable operating system on the external hard drive, changing its file system and bring free space out.
The external hard drive is removed inappropriately.
Formatting external hard drive is interrupted.
The external hard drive is attacked by virus.
The external hard drive is not authorized by official channels.

Three effective and easy solutions to recover external hard drive to full capacity

After you have realized the reasons of external hard drive only showing 32GB, it is time to get to know how to fix this issue.

Method 1.Extend partition or create new partition

Firstly, you can enter Disk Management to check the properties of the external hard drive. If the external hard drive has 32GB is partitioned and the rest space is showing as unallocated space, you can choose to extend the partition with the unallocated space or create new partition on the unallocated space. Then, you are able to see the full capacity of your external hard drive.

If the file system of the 32GB partition is FAT32, you’ll be unable to extend it using Disk Management. Here AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is recommended, allowing you to extend or shrink FAT32 partition without efforts. Free download it and follow the steps given below:

Step 1. Install and run AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. Right-click the 32GB FAT32 partition and choose “Resize Partition”.

Resize 32gb Partition

Step 2. In the pop-up window, drag the bar towards the right to extend the partition with unallocated space.

Step 3. Return to the main interface. Review operation and click “Apply”> “Proceed” to commit it.

Method 2. Reformat external hard drive using Diskpart utility

If there is no unallocated space but it still only shows 32GB, you can reformat the external hard drive using Diskpart utility. What you should pay attention to is that this way will erase all data on the external hard drive, thus you need better back up data on it in advance. Then, refer to the following steps:

Step 1. Press Windows +R simultaneously, input “diskpart” and hit Enter.

Step 2. In the pop-up window, type the commands in order and each command shall be accompanied by hitting Enter key:

  • list disk – all disks connected to your computer will be listed

  • select disk # - “#” refers to the number of your external hard drive in the computer

  • clean

  • create partition primary

  • select partition 1

  • format fs=ntfs quick (ntfs can be replaced with exfat)

  • assign letter f

External Hard Drive Only Showing 32GB Fixed

PS.: You are not allowed to format partition larger than 32GB with FAT32, if you insist to, you can turn to third-party partition format tool.

Method 3. Delete partitions and create partition using GUI software

There is no doubt that Diskpart utility is helpful in solving external hard drive not showing full capacity. But for computer green hands, it is easy to make mistake. For example, select wrong disk, resulting in data loss. In such a condition, you can turn to AOMEI Partition Assistant to fix showing wrong capacity issue. With an intuitive and simple graphic user interface, it is easy-to-handle. Here are the detailed steps:

Warning: All data on the external hard drive will be erased.

Step 1. Run AOMEI Partition Assistant. Right-click the external hard drive and choose “Delete all Partitions”.

Delete All Partitions

Step 2. In the following window, choose “Delete all partitions” and click “OK”.


Step 3. Right-click the unallocated space and select “Create Partition”.

Step 4. In the pop-up dialogue, specify the partition size as full capacity and the file system as you need. Then, click “OK”.

Step 5. Click “Apply” and “Proceed” to execute operations.


  • Apart from functions mentioned below, AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is featured with many useful functions like creating a bootable USB drive, wiping hard drive, and so on.

  • AOMEI Partition Assistant can work with Windows 10/8/7, XP, and Vista. If you need to resize partition or deleted partition in Windows Server, you can employ AOMEI Partition Assistant Server.


In most cases, you are able to solve external hard drive only showing 32GB issue with the methods aforementioned. If the external hard drive is still not showing full capacity, you can run anti-virus software like Emisoft Anti-Malware to scan it.