Shell & Desktop Enhancements
|Restoring Factory Hard Drive Capacity if HDD Shows up as 32 MB on Empty HDD|
The factory hard drive capacity loss becomes more and more common problem of very large capacity drives (i.e. 1 TB), though it is not specific to any concrete hard drive manufacturer. Sometimes it happens with existing hard drives that are full of data or even with brand new drives. Anyway, data portion in most cases isn't affected. So if your hard drive suddenly showed that its capacity is equal to 32 MB or another false small value, stay calm, your data must still be there.
Here is how it typically happens: a hard drive with a large capacity between 500GB and 1.5TB suddenly lose most of its capacity for the reason unknown or apparent. In most cases the capacity shrinks to 0.0 GB or 32 MB (and sometimes to 32 GB) and eventually becomes inaccessible to the Microsoft Windows Vista.
The problem, simply speaking, is in the portion of the hard drive that is responsible for telling the system how big it actually is, which appears to be mis-reporting this information. There is no accurate technical explanation why such an issue randomly strikes PC users, but it will be enough to say that a portion of a drive firmware that is known as DCO, HPA and LBA48 records becomes corrupted.
If the hard drive is blank and doesn't contain any data, the fix is simple enough. First, the hard drive, which capacity is reported to be only 32 MB, must be connected to the computer, which works. If it is an IDE drive, it must be the only one on the IDE cable. In case of SATA drives no additional steps required to be done, just connect the hard drive via SATA data cable and make sure it is not bootable (so the computer won't try to boot of it).
Second, visit blog.Atola.com site and download Atola Technology HDD Restore Capacity Tool program.
Then you should launch the program and select from the menu the hard drive that mis-reports its capacity. Confirm that the selected hard drive is correct and then hit "Restore Capacity" button. After that, the program will correct the above-mentioned portion of hard drive, which contains information on the drive capacity.
When the operation will be done shut down the computer and wait for 10 seconds before powering it back up.
If the operation was done successfully and everything worked fine, the hard drive with previously corrupted portion of data that caused it to show only 32 MB of available space will show the correct factory capacity. As it is said by the maker of the program, the HDD Restore Capacity Tool just changes firmware settings of the hard drive, but "it does not read to or write from the user data portion of the disk". We did not try to use Atola's tool in case of a full hard drive just because it is difficult to replicate an issue that causes drive's capacity to be falsely equal 32 Mb.