Fix Hard Drive/External Hard Drive Only Shows Half Capacity

Tracy King updated on Feb 22, 2020 to Storage Media Recovery | How-to Articles


Many reasons would result in hard drive showing partial capacity, like a half. Read this page, so you can get answers to how to restore hard drive full capacity. EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard comes handy when you want to recover data from the unseen hard drive space.

Full solutions to restore a hard drive or external hard drive's  full capacity:

Workable Solutions Step-by-step Troubleshooting
Fix 1. Scan and remove virus If you have anti-virus software installed, run the anti-virus software...Full steps
Fix 2. Convert MBR to GPT Download and launch EaseUS Partition Master, right-click the MBR disk...Full steps
Fix 3. Recover unallocated space Press Windows + R hotkeys to bring up the Run box, type diskmgmt.msc...Full steps

Why is hard drive showing partial capacity?

Hard Drive, like HDD/SSD, plays an essential role in reading and writing data. The bigger the hard drive, the better. So we don't need to worry that there is low disk space warning when keep installing programs, games or saving huge documents, movies, music and whatever we want in daily computer use.

What a pity. Many people invest in a large hard drive of 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, but only seeing half capacity, or even less. Though they didn't use that much. What's the problem? Why is the hard drive showing its correct size?

In general, the hard drive showing wrong size issue happens to a lot of users, and the following reasons may account for the problem:

  • Virus or malware does damage
  • The hard drive is with MBR style
  • Partition deleted or lost, showing unallocated

How to reclaim the other half hard drive capacity

After knowing the reasons, you can feel released for a while because we're going to share corresponding solutions with you.

Method 1. Scan and remove virus

To check virus or malware infection, if you have anti-virus software installed, run the anti-virus software for the first time.

For people who don't have the software, read the linked page of how to use cmd to remove virus in Windows 10/8.1/8/7.

Method 2. Convert MBR to GPT

This is particularly for a large-capacity hard drive over 2TB but initialized to MBR style. As we know, MBR only works with disks up to 2TB in size, at the same time, allows for creating 4 partitions in total. To make full use of the rest space you don't see, you need to convert MBR to GPT.

EaseUS Partition Master is a perfect choice to convert hard disk between MBR and GPT, it's super easy and guaranteed with zero data loss during the conversion.


Step 1: Download and launch EaseUS Partition Master on your Windows computer. 

open EaseUS Partition Master

Step 2: Right-click the MBR disk that you want to convert and choose "Convert to GPT".

convert MBR to GPT

Step 3: After that, find and click the "Execute 1 Operation" button on the toolbar and choose "Apply" to start the conversion. You need to restart your device to enable this change. 

convert MBR to GPT

Method 3. Recover unallocated space

Sometimes, the hard drive showing half capacity only because the other half is hidden somewhere, or merely because you deleted the whole partition by mistake.

This happens when you check the hard drive's property, only find that it's not showing the correct used space and free space. This time, go to Windows Disk Management and check the hard drive partitions status.

Step 1: In Windows 10/8.1/8/7, press Windows + R hotkeys to bring up the Run box, type diskmgmt.msc and hit Enter.

Step 2: On the disk map, check if the hard drive partition displays as Unallocated.

If yes, you need to convert the unallocated space to a standard partition with a file system. There are three options to make it happen:

  • Create a new simple volume on the unallocated space
  • Add the unallocated space to a neighboring partition
  • Perform partition recovery with data loss

The effect of the option [1] and option [2] is easy to realize, by applying again the EaseUS Partition Master.

Follow the tutorial: Make full use of unallocated space by creating a new one or adding to an existing one.

But both troubleshooting would erase data on the present space. If you have files to recover, download and install EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard. It's hard disk data recovery software that specializes to recover data after deleting, formatting or virus infection.

Step 1. Select partition to scan lost data.

On EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard, select a partition like C: drive, D drive or E drive where you lose your data and click "Scan" to start.

select and scan partition

Step 2. Find and preview lost partition data from the scanning result.

After the scan, select and preview found partition data in "Deleted Files" or "Lost Files". The Filter or Search bar may also help you access the lost files.

Preivew found partition data

Step 3. Select and recover lost partition data.

Select all lost partition files and click "Recover" to get everything back. Before making your partition safe to save data again, save all recoverable files to another secure device.

recover data from partition

The option [3] is different, it only takes effect by using EaseUS Partition Recovery. It's designed to recover a whole lost, deleted or hidden partition along with data on it. It looks like you never lost the partition at all.


Step 1: Run EaseUS Partition Recovery on your PC.

Select the disk or device where you lost partition(s), click "Scan" to continue.

Select disk to scan lost partition.

Step 2: Wait for the scanning process to complete.

Let the program scan selected disk and find the lost partition(s).

Scan lost partition.

Step 3: Preview and restore lost partition(s).

Double-click on the partition which is marked as "Lost" with "Good" recoverability.

Preview lost partition

Preview the content of the lost partition. Click "OK" and click "Proceed" to start restoring the lost partition.

Select found partition to restore.

Step 4: Click "Recover Now" to finish the partition recovery process.

Note: If the program warns you that there is a conflict, back up the listed partition with essential data to an external hard drive first. Then execute the final operation to restore your lost partition.

Finish partition recovery.

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Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why choose EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard?

"EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard is the best we've seen. It's far from perfect, partly because today's advanced disk technology makes data-recovery more difficult than it was with the simpler technology of the past, but it's fast and efficient..."PCMag

"The first thing you'll notice about EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard Pro is that its interface is very clear and uncluttered, with only a small collection of self-explanatory controls. You won't find lots of extra options hidden in a system of hidden menus, either; what you see really is what you get."techradar

"Recover lost files, even after deleting a partition or formatting your drive."Macworld

2. Why cannot I recover 2GB data for free?

It is recommended to check the version installed is Free or Trial because they are different versions.

Trial has data preview function but cannot save any files, while the Free version enables to recover 2 GB files. The default free space is 500 MB and you may share the product on social media to get another 1.5 GB.

3. Why cannot the recovered files be opened?

A file is saved as 2 parts on the storage device: directory info (which is comprised by file name, time stamp and size info, etc.) and data content.

If the files with original file names and folder structures cannot be opened, one possible reason is the corrupted directory info. There is still a chance to recover the data content with the RAW Recovery method in our software.

4. Why isn't it suggested to recover the files back to the original drive?

The storage structure of the lost files would be altered or damaged by any changes on the drive. If you save the recovered files back to the same drive, the original data structures and data content would be corrupted or overwritten, which causes permanent data loss. So you should prepare another disk to save the files.

5. How can I check whether my data is recoverable or not before purchase?

The Free version helps you save 2GB files to better verify the recovery quality of our product before purchase.

6. How long does it take to scan the drive?

It strongly depends on the capacity of your hard drive and the performance of your computer. As reference,most drive recoveries can be completed in around 10 to 12 hours for a 1-TB healthy hard drive in general conditions.

About Data Recovery Wizard

It's super easy to recover 250+ types of files after deletion, disk formatting and virus infection. Click the links and compare the difference of each version.