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Linux Mint and lost hard drive space

dollfacepersian Posts: 6
edited November 2011 in Storage

Newbie here. I posted this in the Linux Mint and DBaN communities. Posted this here too because I just wanted to check all my bases. More information is better, right?

I was wondering why Linux Mint 11 (is this a problem for other distros too?) seems to eat up so much space on hard drives, both internal and external - and if there is a way to access the missing space that doesn't involve wiping everything or a lot of tweaking short of taking everything apart.

I'd installed Mint on a 320 GB hard drive (had my eeepc 1005HA stock 160 GB hard drive upgraded, along with the memory, if that's important), and found I only had around 270 GB of hard drive space left. And when I reformatted my 1 TB external hard drive (NTFS to ext3/4), I had only 850-70 GB left, more or less. I'd decided to DBaN the internal drive, but DBaN read the drive as a 298 GB one. I did a Quick Erase anyway, and when I booted to DBaN again to see if things were all right, the hard drive still read as 298 GB. (Is there something really wrong if even DBaN doesn't read the entire drive?) But when I reinstalled Mint, it was read as a 320 GB one again.

By the way, I called the service center where I had my computer upgraded and they said that there were no problems with the hard drive, that the BIOS really did read all 320 GB of it.


  • marc
    marc Posts: 647
    I do not know about your exact problem but I'll throw in some information:

    320Gb is base10 and the info in almost all operating systems are red in bytes. That is 1Kb=1024bits and not 1000. So your hard drive won't ever read 320G in any OS. For a 320GB drive:
    320 GB = 298.02 Gb

    Further more, formatting in ext3/4 takes more space than in NTFS and that is because of the metadata that is kept in the filesystem.

    So, overall, I don't think you lost any disk space (or if you did, it is expected behaveour)

  • dollfacepersian
  • woboyle
    woboyle Posts: 501
    Also, just so you know, the OS will reserve some space for root that users can't access for just those occasions when the system really IS getting full, allowing the system to continue to run and for the admin (root) user to clean up some space for continued safe operation. Often that is just a matter of removing a bunch of log files (found in /var/log), and possibly core files from crashed applications, or other stuff the users put on the system (videos take a lot of space).


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