Why a hard drive has less storage space

It has happened to most people. we tend to get a new hard drive (or perhaps a flash drive) with amazing storage capability solely to seek out that it’s less space than what was mentioned on the box. Angered, we tend to begin express negativity the manufacturer and our dealer for false selling thinking that they must be sued for doing this. Hey, however have you ever ever questioned however they still try this once more and once more while not stepping into legal trouble?


The answer is that they’re not selling it incorrectly at all. Surprised? i will clarify.

A manufacturer considers 1 Megabyte to be 1000 Kilobytes, 1 Gigabyte to be 1000 Megabytes, 1 Terabyte to be 1000 Gigabytes and so on. This is correct considering that kilo means 1000 and mega means 1000000 (10^6). However, computers calculate on base 2 and to them, 1 MB is actually 1024 kilobytes, 1GB is 1024MB and 1 TB is 1024GB. This difference in the method of computation is responsible for this “missing space.”

Lets take an example of a 500 GB hard disk.

From a manufacturer’s point of view, the 500GB will have 500*1000*1000*1000 = 500000000000 bytes.

From a computer’s point of view, 500GB is actually 500*1024*1024*1024 = 536870912000 bytes.

So, a hard drive that promises to have 500 GB storage space will actually display 465.66GB, 536870912000-500000000000 = 36870912000 bytes (34.34GB) less storage space when connected to a computer

Take a glance at the table given below to visualize what quantity space is “lost” thanks to computers functioning on a base two system. As you’ll be able to see, with the increase in capacity of the device, there’s a rise within the missing space as well.

Space Promised Displayed on a computer Difference
100GB 93.13GB 6.87GB
250GB 232.83GB 17.17GB
500GB 465.66GB 34.34GB
1TB 931.32GB 92.68GB
2TB 1862.64GB 185.36GB

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