PC Underbyte: Where did my disk space go?

According to the marketing materials, my notebook as a 120GB hard drive. Translating marketing GB (1,000,000,000 bytes) into computer science GB (1024 cubed, or 1073741824 bytes per GB) that 120GB is really about 111.8 real gigabytes. And, that’s what the partition table shows for the hard drive.

But that’s NOT what Vista sees when it looks at the drive.

That’s reporting an 85.2 GB drive! Where did 26.6 GB go?

In typical fashion, I Googled around, reformated and restored the drive, ran CHKDSK, repartioned, reformatted, restored, and so on. Windows just won’t see more than the 85.2. Finally, I decided to ask the drive to take a look at itself. I grabbed a Windows version of the SmartMon Tools.

SmartMon is usually installed as a part of a Linux installation, but you have to install it into a Windows environment. Modern drives (those made for the past 10 years) have S.M.A.R.T software embedded in their controllers and are capable of monitoring their own health. The SmartMon tools communicate with the S.M.A.R.T. controllers.

smartctl, the command line tool, quickly reported what’s happened. The SMART attribute “Reallocated_Sector_Ct” reports 8,589,934,592,000 sectors have been relocated. At 512 bytes per sector, the math doesn’t come out to 26 GB, but it’s a strong indicator that the drive is in really bad shape. I guess the time it fell off the top of my rolling bag at PHX and hit the floor hard might have done some damage.

I’m now backing up a lot more frequently and have a new disk on order from Amazon.

smartctl version 5.38 [i686-mingw32-vista-sp2] Copyright (C) 2002-8 Bruce Allen
Home page is http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Model Family:     Fujitsu MHV series
Device Model:     FUJITSU MHV2120BH PL
Serial Number:    [No Information Found]
Firmware Version: 00000029
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   3
ATA Standard is:  Exact ATA specification draft version not indicated
Local Time is:    Wed Nov 04 13:03:53 2009 CST
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
                  Enabled status cached by OS, trying SMART RETURN STATUS cmd.
SMART support is: Enabled

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED

General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status:  (0x00)	Offline data collection activity
					was never started.
					Auto Offline Data Collection: Disabled.
Self-test execution status:      (   0)	The previous self-test routine completed
					without error or no self-test has ever 
					been run.
Total time to complete Offline 
data collection: 		 ( 702) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities: 			 (0x7b) SMART execute Offline immediate.
					Auto Offline data collection on/off support.
					Suspend Offline collection upon new
					command.
					Offline surface scan supported.
					Self-test supported.
					Conveyance Self-test supported.
					Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities:            (0x0003)	Saves SMART data before entering
					power-saving mode.
					Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability:        (0x01)	Error logging supported.
					No General Purpose Logging support.
Short self-test routine 
recommended polling time: 	 (   2) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time: 	 (  82) minutes.
Conveyance self-test routine
recommended polling time: 	 (   2) minutes.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x000f   100   100   000    Pre-fail  Always       -       14649
  2 Throughput_Performance  0x0005   100   100   000    Pre-fail  Offline      -       31784960
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0003   100   100   000    Pre-fail  Always       -       1
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   099   099   000    Old_age   Always       -       1430
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   100   100   000    Pre-fail  Always       -       8589934592000
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000f   100   100   000    Pre-fail  Always       -       4083
  8 Seek_Time_Performance   0x0005   100   100   000    Pre-fail  Offline      -       0
  9 Power_On_Seconds        0x0032   094   094   000    Old_age   Always       -       3152h+12m+19s
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0013   100   100   000    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       1255
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       102
193 Load_Cycle_Count        0x0032   098   098   000    Old_age   Always       -       42284
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       35 (Lifetime Min/Max 3/60)
195 Hardware_ECC_Recovered  0x001a   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       734
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       442826752
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0012   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0010   100   100   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x000f   100   100   000    Pre-fail  Always       -       28853
203 Run_Out_Cancel          0x0002   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       1533291396628
240 Head_Flying_Hours       0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0