Where is the missing space on my hard drive?
Last week, one of my friends told me that he has experienced a strange problem with
missing space on hard drive. He purchased a laptop with 500GB HDD installed. In
Windows Explorer, he found the C drive (280GB out of 300GB) is running out of space.
He checked that all stored data don’t even get to 150GB. That is to say, he has
nearly 130GB disk space missing? How come?
Actually, the strange situation is not strange to most users who are a little bit
care about the hard drive capacity on the computer. Some users also find storage
space missing on PS3 hard drive, XBOX 360 and portable hard drive. Windows missing
space on hard drive account for different factors under different situations. For
example, missing space
after cloning and after partition are different. One may caused by
unallocated space and the other may caused by incorrect cluster size.
When you purchase a hard drive, the seller won’t tell you that you actually buying a
smaller disk. There is a different disk capacity algorithm between computer and hard
disk manufacturers. Hard drive manufacturers take 1GB = 1000MB and 1MB = 1000KB out
of convenience. Nevertheless, computer counts 1GB = 1024MB and 1MB = 1024KB. So the
difference appears. Therefore, around 7% disk space missing on a hard drive is
What occupies missing storage space on hard drive?
To find out the missing storage on the hard disk drive or SSD, we need to first
figure out what caused the space missing, so that we can suit the remedy to the
case. In general, we have following several events that take up the hard drive space
without telling you.
Hidden partitions on the hard drive. Most laptops come with hidden partition
like OEM partition and recovery partition. After upgrading to an advanced
system, system reserved partition will be created automatically and set as
hidden. You can see hidden partitions in Disk Management, or delete OEM partition if
you have backed up system.
System protection on drive C. System protection is a feature that regularly
creates and saves information about your computer’s system files and settings.
It creates restore points just before significant system events, for example,
install a program or device driver. If the restore points set to 50% of the
drive capacity, much space will be taken. Check “System Volume Information”
folder to view the data.
Hibernate file (hiberfil.sys) or Page file (pagefile.sys) that takes up the
space. The kind of file is related to the random access memory (RAM) of your
computer. Normally, it takes up several GBs. You can uncheck “Hide protected
operating system files” to view it. You can also disable the system
In fact, although you find what occupying the missing space, you cannot do much about
these files. They are important to system running. Of course, above files are not
the whole possible factors caused missing space on hard drive in Windows 10, 8, 7,
XP and Vista.
Recover missing space from unallocated space
Except for aforementioned factors that may result in hard drive space missing,
unallocated space is also a potential factor. For instance, after replacing a 500GB
HDD to 1TB SSD, 500GB space is missing. All you got in Windows Explorer is the
previous 500GB stuff. As a matter of fact, if you clone the 500GB HDD to 1TB SSD
using sector by sector clone, the left 500GB space will become unallocated space on
the hard drive and won’t show up in Windows Explorer. You can check this in Disk
Management. Open it by typing “diskmgmt.msc” in Run box.
1. Right click the unallocated space and select “New Simple Volume” to create a new
partition with that space. You can create multiple partitions using this space, just
choose the size properly.
2. Alternatively, right click the partition before the unallocated space and select
“Extend Volume” to extend partition to this space.
In terms of making use of the unallocated space, AOMEI Partition
Assistant Pro provides more options. Apart from creating and extending
features, it allows you to move
unallocated space to C drive, even if they are not adjacent. Many helpful
features are embedded with this software as well.
After knowing what occupies the hard drive space, you definitely won’t complain
missing space on hard drive, internal or external. We all know that the space is not
really missing. Just find the way it act and take corresponding measures.