Where did my other 200 GB go?
November 26, 2008 9:25 AM   Subscribe

How do I recover a 320GB drive that only reads 110GB now? Similar to this

This is my first time posting a question here on MeFi, so I apologize for any formatting mistakes.

I bought a 320GB Seagate 2.5" SATA HDD to upgrade my laptop storage. I got a cheap enclosure to clone my existing HDD so I could just swap the drives out. But it seems that when I cloned the drive using Acronis TrueImage, it cloned the 110GB (from the 120GB drive) to the new drive and now the drive is only recognized as 110GB. I tried a low level formatting tool to no avail. Can someone help me or direct me to somewhere where I can recover the storage on this drive, and suggest how I can avoid this problem in the future? I googled it and it seems to be an issue with something called LDA, and how it should be 48-bit to recognize drives over 137.5 GB, but I'm not sure what that means and the explanations on how to fix it were less than helpful.

Additional Information:

I told Acronis to automatically upscale my partitions, which may be one of the causes of the issue. There is an 80GB partition and a 30GB partition on the drive currently.

If it helps: the laptop is a Dell Inspiron 9400 with 2GB RAM and running XP.
posted by WilliamWallace to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Acronis cloned your drive's partition - which includes all of your data. The rest of the drive's storage is still there, but probably isn't partition - which is why it isn't showing up in Windows.

Your 80gb and 30gb partitions are a little confusing, but if this is the way your 110gb local drive is partitioned then it makes sense that Acronis would re-create that.

I really dislike Acronis in general - but you should be able to use TrueImage to do your backups while using all of your external drive's storage. Check your backup settings - there is a switch in there somewhere to fix this behavior.
posted by wfrgms at 9:40 AM on November 26, 2008

Same thing happened to me with my Inspiron e1505 when I upgraded from 40 GB to 160 GB, and this thread saved me. (Granted, I needed to try just about every solution listed, but ultimately I got it working.)
posted by brandman at 9:44 AM on November 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: @wfrgms Yeah I know the partitions are confusing, but that's how the laptop came. Acronis seemed to be a popular tool, which is why I chose it. Is there a better program that I can use to clone my drive? I'm open to suggestions.

@brandman Thanks for your answer, I'll try those things, it looks like a lot of good information
posted by WilliamWallace at 10:28 AM on November 26, 2008

If you look at the drive with some partitioning software, you will almost certainly see that there is a lot of empty space still on the drive, which hasn't been assigned to an active partition and is thus unaccessible.

There are two things you can do at this point: you can either try to 'grow' the existing 110GB partition to include all the space on the drive, or you can just create a new partition in the remaining empty space. The latter is lower-risk and easier, but will result in your computer treating the single physical hard drive as two virtual drives. (I.e. you'll end up with E: and F: or whatever on the same drive.)

I'm hesitant to recommend growing a partition because it carries some risk of catastrophic data loss, but there are lots of tools available to do that, if you decide to go that route. (I'm not familiar with tools for Windows however, so I'll leave specific recommendations to others.)

Definitely DO NOT attempt to grow the partition unless everything on it has been backed up and you're okay with the idea of possibly losing it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:53 AM on November 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

If it's just a partition issue, you might be able to just create a new partition from the free space.

On XP, you'd go to Disk Management to make a new partition. Right-click on My Computer, click Manage, open the Storage menu from the left sidebar, then select Disk Management. Here's a Knowledge Base article that tells how to create the partition.

Sorry if the explanation is too simple-minded. Hope this helps. Good luck.
posted by philomathoholic at 10:56 AM on November 26, 2008

The "best answer" link seems to be overly complicated. Any decent partitioning tool (I use Acronis Disk Director) will allow you to resize your drive to account for the extra space or even allow you to create additional partitions.
posted by wongcorgi at 12:15 PM on November 26, 2008

I'm interpreting that the hard drive is the internal one with your operating system on it. If that's the case, you probably do want to keep it as one partition. Of course, if you are okay with it being smaller with a bigger "storage" partition, go ahead and use disk management like Philomathoholic suggested.

If you have all the files backed up, which it sounds like you more or less do thanks to having the old drive, I'd suggest downloading a live CD Linux distribution with either GParted or QT Parted installed. I personally like Simply Mepis, but you could also use Knoppix. If you have a slow connection, ask around to see if anyone has an Ubuntu CD, as their install GUI comes with GParted inside one of menus (Tools or Utilities, I believe). These aren't Windows tools, but I don't usually trust an operating system to adjust a partition it's operating from. Knoppix and Mepis make the process pretty simple. There is also a live CD from GParted, but I'd suggest going with another live CD, as they offer other utilities to better justify using a disc. Of course, the disc with just GParted will download faster, as well. You can also put most of these on a USB key, but I have trouble getting those to boot and I'm worried your laptop might not work with them. GParted's thing has a program to make it easier. For burning to disc, I like to use ImgBurn.

I believe that you simply drag the partition to the new size you want from the corner inside the app. It sounds like you only have one physical drive in your computer, but if you have more than one, keep in mind Linux labels drives differently from Windows XP, so make sure the capacity lines up with the drive you want to change, more or less (Remember, hard drive companies advertise more space than a drive actually offers). I'd keep the external unplugged for this, even though I don't think they'd be easy to mix up. GParted will let you preview how the drive will look before you hit the button to apply the changes, so don't worry about making mistakes until you press the button.

Dell may have a recovery partition installed. I don't know much about Dell's recovery partitions, or if they are useful, because I tend to maintain my own backups and system restores. A quick Google says that they tend to be an image of the computer's hard drive in factory condition, which means it's a backup with none of your files and all the add ons Dell includes which slow down your PC. If you have a Windows CD handy for reinstalls, I'd delete it. If the recovery partition is important to you, I'd suggest moving it to the back of the drive in GParted and expanding your Windows partition to fill the new space, so that you have one big, contingent Windows partition. Otherwise, delete it and expand Windows to cover that space.

I'm sorry I typed such a long post. It might make a Linux recovery CD look a little daunting, but I just felt like throwing all the info out there. Just pick a distribution from the second paragraph, and follow my instructions in the third and fourth paragraphs. PM me or ask here if you have any questions.
posted by mccarty.tim at 12:32 PM on November 26, 2008

Response by poster: @brandman: What particular thing from that forum thread ended up working for you? Or was it a combination? Since our laptops are similar, I would imagine the same process should work.
posted by WilliamWallace at 7:49 AM on November 27, 2008

Sorry for the late response here, I just saw you linked to this from another discussion. Which TrueImage version and product are you using (Home 11, Echo Workstation, etc)? Also, what method did you use to clone the HD (e.g, did you use the bootable rescue media)? There are many different ways to do what you describe but I have been using TrueImage products for a number of years and if you follow the appropriate steps it will do what you need...
posted by masher at 12:20 PM on December 6, 2008

Response by poster: I'm using TI Home 11, and I just used the Automatic Clone tool. And I know what the problem is, it's the deeply hidden Media Direct partition on my Dell laptop. It's the Dell HPA that truncates the disk, and to recover my space I need to resize my drive again with a boot disc with Hitachi Disc Tools, or HDAT2 or something similar. This and this describe the problem really well and how to fix it, though it's kind of vague on the whole unhiding the HPA and removing it from the original HDD before cloning.
posted by WilliamWallace at 8:01 PM on December 7, 2008

Best answer: Sounds like you have a path forward. FWIW, I would create the Acronis bootable rescue media CD, boot from the CD, copy ONLY (because I hate the manufacturer's software adds for reasons exactly like this) the boot partition from HDold to HDnew, remove HDold, install HDnew, and create a new MBR from a bootable CD (use Windows if you have it, Ubuntu, or similar).
posted by masher at 10:45 AM on December 8, 2008

Response by poster: That sounds like a better way, especially considering how much trouble the Dell HPAs have given me and everyone else upgrading their Dells. I'm kind of unclear on how to create a new MBR from the CD, is it hard?

I am familiar with the Linux environment, I use it almost every day at work, though I have never used it on my home computer, but that Ubuntu solution looks intriguing.

I see how to repair the MBR with the Ubuntu, but how would I create the MBR partition with the Ubuntu Live Disc?

Thanks for all your continued help.
posted by WilliamWallace at 8:10 AM on December 9, 2008

Nope, not hard at all. The link I provided gives you the step-by-step and despite the lingo, it really creates a new MBR. Sorry for the confusion: what you are doing is following "How To Avoid the Truncation Problem" from your link with an added Acronis step to CYA.

To clarify, the MBR partition would be "recovered" to HDnew w/ Acronis and then you would overwrite the MBR with the Ubuntu procedure.

If you were not able to gain all of the remaining disk space during the Acronis recovery (which is likely as this is where you ran into trouble), once you have replaced the MBR you should be able to reclaim the space however you wish. If unable to reclaim directly, one more Acronis recovery will do the trick for sure!

Let us (me?) know how you did and if you run into troubles.
posted by masher at 9:26 AM on December 9, 2008

Response by poster: Update:

I used the Hitachi Tools to recover the HDnew to its full size again, but I was unsuccessful, as it only recovered it to 137.5 GB, which may have something to do with enabling 48-bit LBA on my machine. Could you give me more of an idea of how to recover the full size of the disk with Acronis?

That said, I have not tried to copy the MBR yet, I was just trying to restore the disk, and I only started downloading Ubuntu today.
posted by WilliamWallace at 1:10 PM on December 10, 2008

Yes, the 137 limit might have to do with 48-bit LBA (every time I have seen this it was not a coincidence). Does it show full size or 137 in your BIOS? If it shows 137, update the BIOS and see if it shows the full space (if you haven't yet heeded the advice about backing up your data, now is a good time to do so).

Ahhh, the fun of trying to do something so seemingly simple! You'll get there...
posted by masher at 9:29 AM on December 11, 2008

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