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Data Storage Upgrades Hardware

Recovering Secret HD Space 849

An anonymous reader writes "Just browsing and noticed a link to this article. 'The Inquirer has posted a method of getting massive amounts of hard drive space from your current drive. Supposedly by following the steps outlined, they have gotten 150GB from an 80GB EIDE drive, 510GB from a 200GB SATA drive and so on.' Could this be true? I'm not about to try with my hard drive." Needless to say, this might be a time to avoid the bleeding edge. (See Jeff Garzik's warning in the letters page linked from the Register article.)
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Recovering Secret HD Space

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  • Uh, no (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sivar ( 316343 ) <charlesnburns[NO@SPAM]> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:23AM (#8518960)
    Sorry, but this is complete bullshit.
    Did aureal density technology increase to 200GB/platter overnight? No.

    Please refer to this thread [] on for more information.
    • Re:Uh, no (Score:5, Funny)

      by Froggert ( 187187 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:30AM (#8518991)
      No you fool, don't tell them yet! This is all part of my incredibly ingenious plan to get all the script kiddies and spammers in the world to follow these instructions to "enlarge" their three inch hard disks and corrupt all of their data in the process. Nobody remotely knowledgeable about computers would ever believe this, and nobody who knows nothing about computers would possibly attempt to do this. Who does this leave? Yes, the script kiddies and spammers. Now it's back to Plan B, sharks with frickin' laser beams on their heads.
      • Re:Uh, no (Score:5, Funny)

        by antic ( 29198 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @05:01AM (#8519148)
        I initially misread your post as "enlarge their three inch hard dicks". From the crap that my mail server blocks, the spammers have been trying to enlarge their three inch hard dicks for a long time...
      • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @06:55AM (#8519511) Journal
        You see I have encountered numerous Dells wich has only a portion of their HD partioned. Not hidden or recovery partitions. Just 6gb of a 8gb disk used. Maybe the machine was sold as 6 but 8 was cheaper or they ran out of part but it still mean't an easy upgrade. (was the time of napster so everyone needed more HD space)

        But yeah more then doubling the HD capacity sounds fishy and there are plenty of letters to the inquirer article explaining how and why it ain't true.

    • Re:Uh, no (Score:5, Interesting)

      by borgasm ( 547139 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:45AM (#8519070) Journal
      Well thats what they advertise...

      There are lots of internal sectors that are reserved for errors. There are builtin algorithms on the disk to diagnose and correct physical errors. You just don't notice them because the disk remaps those sectors transparently.

      Hooray! I learned something in class for once!
    • Re:Uh, no (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @05:03AM (#8519159)
      Yeah, it works.. I just tried it and it seems to b##0"#,##0;\-""#,##0 ""#,##0.00;\-""#,##0.00# ,##0.00;]\-""#,##0.005 * ,##0.00;]\-""#,##0.005 * ,##0.00;]\-""#,##0.005 *
    • Virus ? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Evil Pete ( 73279 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @05:30AM (#8519259) Homepage

      Is this the first tech info virus ? Follow instructions to destroy your own HD. Seems like just putting a hammer through it would be easier, but it would probably work with the clueless. Hmmm, yeah not a bad idea I guess in a very twisted way.

    • Re:Uh, no (Score:4, Informative)

      by thogard ( 43403 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @05:33AM (#8519271) Homepage
      A standard "make one partition full sized" uses only the parts of the drive that aren't reserverd. If there was a way to use the disk size including the bits reserverd to fixup bad sectors, then you could get more space.
      Now if your 1st partition is a full disk - reserved and your second partition is full sized including reserved and the reserved aren't all at the end of the disk, your going to end up with partitions of the ratios they talk about.

      However what happens you start putting windows on this thing? Well block sizes of big drives aren't your friend and most small files will end up in reserve clustors. Since directories are small files too and if they don't conflict, you should be able to load up a few gig of data on one of these disks before you start to find out that its overwriting other bits of the other partiion. I expect one of these 180 gig drives could be loaded up with at least 90gig of data before the directorys started acting funny. One cool bit about this is block related files (like mp3) will show up on the dir just fine but when you play it, it might switch songs in the middle. I don't think the RIAA could ask for a better gift.
    • Re:Uh, no (Score:5, Informative)

      by SenseiLeNoir ( 699164 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @05:45AM (#8519322)
      Firstly, this is just resectoring, and is HIGHLY dangerous as all it is doing is making some sectors appear twice. Physically its just one sector.

      Secondly, ALL IDE type drives (and some SCSI) have soem reserved space (possibly 5%) which is intelligently remapped whenever a bad sector is found. (rememeber you are NOT supposed to Low Level format an IDE drrive). During manufacturing, it is inevitable that bad sectors WILL be found, but these are remapped to the hidden reserved section, whcih is why most Hard disks you buy now do not APPEAR to have bad sectors. The reason is they are already mapped into the reserved area. So the rule is, when you DO start seeing bad sectors on your IDE drive, you can be sure that the reserved space is now full and its time to start looking for a new Hard Drive.

      "Recovering" the space allocated to the reserved section is NOT good at all, since you then bypass the IDE bad sector mapping mechanism, and if the drive is not suitably surfaced checked, you can bet yoru bottom dollar that you will see some bad sectors.

    • Re:Uh, no (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Shanep ( 68243 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @11:02AM (#8520953) Homepage
      Sorry, but this is complete bullshit.

      Yes. I call it corrupting your partition table. ; )

      Years ago, when an 800MB drive was "big", a friend of mine tried to convince myself and a group of IT staff friends, that he could get around BIOS limits of a particular DEC workstation, through some tricky settings of the geometry in the BIOS. LBA was not big in those days and MS OS were still using the BIOS for disk access beyond the boot process.

      Anyway, my friend managed to "trick" the BIOS into seeing 800MB (previously 504MB).

      So, in an attempt to prove him wrong, I then proceeded to format the drive. MS-DOS format claimed it was formatting the drive as 800MB, but this did not deter me. I knew that MS-DOS was simply fooled into thinking that 800MB was actually addressable on that particular (504MB through BIOS limited) machine.

      The format completed fine! But I was still not detered. I said, "ok, now we start to fill this drive up...".

      I started copying a large directory over and over to fill the drive. When we approached about 500MB... "Seek error: sector not found.". The drive no longer booted either.

      What had happened, was that we managed to force the BIOS to accept geometry values which it could not fully address. Most Significant Bits which MS-DOS would send, would never get seen by the drive, since the BIOS could not go beyond a certain address width. So while formatting, MS-DOS would be sending write commands which would be honored by the drive, but the BIOS would be passively stripping some of the highest MSB's out of shere lack of support of them.

      The end effect, was that at the 504MB point, the drive head would be about 504MB's in to the 800MB, then at 505MB, the address would go back to zero and the head would come back to the start! That first sector would be formatted again, the drive would report success, and MS-DOS format would think nothing of it. When it got to "800MB", it would have all appeared to format ok to MS-DOS.

      The end result was an 800MB drive, with a partition table which that BIOS was never going to be able to fully service, even though MS-DOS format "saw the proof" that all was fine. ; ) When someone tried to copy data to the next "safe" sector beyond what the BIOS could address, what they were actually doing was writing back over the beginning of the disk! Corrupting the partition table.

      ; )

      I was delighted, because everyone else was on my friends side, even though one of my buddies also had a background in electronics and should have known what I was talking about. Anyway, modern drives DO have secret areas set aside for remapping of bad sectors (to give you the consumer the perception of zero bad sectors and all the space you legally purchased), but this space is way smaller than what these jokers are claiming and it is normally not user accessible.

      So, save yourself the hassle of wondering in a few months time, why your drive has "crashed". You might not remember the "magic" that you did to your drive.
  • I call (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ANY5546 ( 454547 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:25AM (#8518966) Homepage

    No way in heck can you increase the amount of storage a HDD has so drastically. I mean, the physical disks can only hold so much, and no matter what you do, they arent going to magically double or triple.

    These are physical disks, they have a set number of sectors. One size and one size only.

    Unless you get into the whole mega vs. mibi byte but thats a whole nother can of worms!
    • Re:I call (Score:5, Funny)

      by flacco ( 324089 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:41AM (#8519055)
      No way in heck can you increase the amount of storage a HDD has so drastically. I mean, the physical disks can only hold so much, and no matter what you do, they arent going to magically double or triple.

      unless the disks were secretly, specifically designed this way.

      for example, for the benefit of spooks who want the device to maintain a rolling log of disk data for some period of time after the unsuspecting user thinks it's been deleted/reformatted/security-wiped.

  • Simple corruption (Score:5, Informative)

    by gadfium ( 318941 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:25AM (#8518967)
    I'm a Ghost developer.

    This is just a method of corrupting your partition table so the same disk sectors appear more than once. If you try this, don't ask Symantec for help afterwards.
    • Damn. (Score:5, Funny)

      by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:34AM (#8519012) Journal
      Not only do US programmer have to compete against programmers in other countries, but now we have to compete againts the Undead?

    • by myowntrueself ( 607117 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:41AM (#8519052)
      Oh come *on* people.

      Almost every slashdotter wants to find new and interesting ways to hose their data.

      Its only natural.
    • by eggstasy ( 458692 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @05:01AM (#8519153) Journal
      I once made a floppy that reported its size as 4 gigs, back when hard drives couldnt even reach 1.
      It's pretty easy to set your hard drive to whatever "size" you want it to be... just dont expect it to work properly :P
      Having said that, there were a few proggies floating around back then that could make your floppies slightly larger by formatting them with a weird, non-standard configuration.
      You could do wonderful things with them, from 1.7-1.8 meg floppies, that were a bit slower and less reliable, to some magic 1.22 meg format that mysteriously made my floppies faster.
      Ahh, those were the days ;)
      I have very *ahem* fond memories of spending the whole day formatting and copying Civ2 to 96 floppies... ouch!
      • Re:Simple corruption (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Fweeky ( 41046 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @05:42AM (#8519310) Homepage
        Heh, I remember how Amigas used to have a more powerful FDD controller than PC's, meaning they could squeeze more on a disk; the space-optimized filesystems there let you squeeze almost 1MB onto a single DD floppy vs the already impressive default of 880k; and yup, you got nearly 2M from a HD floppy! ;)

        Anyone wanting to try such amazing technology today can use a Catweasel [], although I'm not sure if it supports anything more exotic than standard Mac/Amiga floppies.
      • by MrAngryForNoReason ( 711935 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @06:31AM (#8519456)

        1.7-1.8 meg floppies, that were a bit slower and less reliable,

        You made floppies even slower and less reliable I wouldn't have thought that was even possible. Obviously some kind of WORN file system (Write Once Read Never!)

    • Re:Simple corruption (Score:4, Informative)

      by whereiswaldo ( 459052 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @05:10AM (#8519187) Journal

      One flaw I found in the article is that they say you need two drives, both containing an OS. Later they ask you to swap out one of them for another drive with an OS. That whole section sounds like smoke and mirrors.
      If this extra space really exists, why do you have to "trick" the OS into believing it is there? I was expecting some mention of a low level format at least, but there's no way this will work. I'll bet the didn't do any data integrity tests which would no doubt show right away the flaw in their system. Oh well, who needs proof if you're just storing appz and mp3s.
    • by 0x0d0a ( 568518 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @05:31AM (#8519262) Journal
      Just to be a bastard, I gotta point out that this could probably be considered a Ghost bug. While there might not be anything Symantec could *do* to help someone that's mucked up their drive, I could reasonably see them complaining to Symantec about it.
    • by gd23ka ( 324741 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @10:18AM (#8520571) Homepage
      (Most) ATAPI-4 and later hard drives have a way dividing up drive space in user-addressable space and host protected space (Host Protected Area). The "user" in this context is the bios of your computer or your operating system of course.

      The Host Protected Area is space on your hard drive that your bios, your operating system or even your applications can be set aside for certain management information. I take it that some backup programs (ab)use it to "hide" compressed boot images on hard drives. I wouldn't be very surprised if companies like Dell or IBM stole some of your hard disk so you can restore a windows installation.The "Host Protected Area" has nothing at all to do with the drive-internal handling of bad sectors or other drive-interal.Drive-internal information as well as sectors used for replacing sectors gone bad are not accessible through the ATAPI commandset for accessing the HPA.

      The ANSI T13 Standard Document for ATAPI-6 (current) are overprized at $18.00 but you can download a draft of upcoming ATAPI-7 from the T13 working group's site at There you will find in Section 4.9 of the document: "A reserved area for data storage outside the normal operating system file system is required for several specialized applications". Systems may wish to store configuration data or save memory to the device in a location that the operating system cannot change. The optional Host Protected Area feature set allows a portion of the device to be reserved for such an area when the device is initially configured. A device that implements the Host Protected Area feature set shall implement the following minimum set of commands:"


      SET MAX ADDRESS ... ... I take it that READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS tells you how many sectors of user addressable space have been configured on the drive and SET MAX ADDRESS lets you adjust that.

      The way I see it there may be a lot of preinstalled hard drives out there with a compressed windows installation images on them "hidden" in the HPA. Maybe a new version of hdparm will allow linux users to reclaim that dead space.

  • Floppy / Drill fun (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Channard ( 693317 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:26AM (#8518968) Journal
    This does sound suspect, but it reminds me of the trick you used to be able to do with 720 floppy disks - you could drill a hole where the hole on a 1.4MB disk would be and use it as a 1.4MB disk. Trouble was, it wouldn't retain data for very long, but it usually lasted for a day at least before the data degraded.
    • by Canadian1729 ( 760713 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:29AM (#8518987)
      Then what kind of disks did you use? I did that to literally hundreds of disks more than 10 years ago, and they still work perfectly today; I've used some in the past week.
    • by innocent_white_lamb ( 151825 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:33AM (#8519011)
      THIS method is obviously BS (to put it mildly) but back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth we could double the size (or was that 1.5x, I can't remember) of a MFM hard drive by hooking it up an RLL controller. I remember putting a full-height IBM 10mb hard drive into my 386 and making it into either a 15mb or 20mb hard drive. I used that hard drive to store and rotate Fidonet echomail for several years, as I recall.

      That worked because RLL encoded the data using a different method than MFM.

      This, though, is smoke and mirrors.
      • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @05:47AM (#8519325) Homepage
        (I post this here because maybe you've been around long enough to remember when ARC vs. ZIP vs. LZH vs. some others was a big deal.)

        Back in the days of the "archive format wars" somebody made a program called NaBob that was pretty funny. It made archives that were so perfectly compressed that they approached singularity. That is, every archive turned out to be one byte long.

        The various compression methods, it was said, were named after different types of quarks. So, as the files were compressed, it would report, "upping," "downing", "charming," "stranging," etc.

        The file extension was .BOB.

        When you ran the uncompress process, all your files would be mysteriously "extracted" from the archive again. Amazing! It really stored all that data in a single byte!

        Of course, all it was really doing was setting the hidden file bit on all your files and creating a one-byte file with the .BOB extension, but hey, as they say, there's one born every minute.

        That program always cracked me up, so I just thought I'd share.
    • by Zurgutt ( 131637 ) <kaarel&hiiumaa,ee> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:41AM (#8519051) Homepage
      In 1994 I bought a box of 720K single-density floppies by TDK. After discovering that making this extra hole could double the disk capacity, I crudely bashed the holes in them with the end of scissors.

      These floppies were used almost daily for 3 years. (no hard disks available at that time). They were reformatted countless times.

      Not single one of them ever failed. About a year ago, when failed to reformat and make a boot disk from several fresh-brought floppies I digged up one of them, reformatted again and succeeded in making a reliable boot disk.

      Quality of todays media just makes me cry.
      • by Geekbot ( 641878 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @07:32AM (#8519634)
        I'll second that. Wish I had a mod point for you. I don't trust 3.5s any more at all. USB flash drives for quick mobile storage, CD-Rs for anything bigger or more long term. Even the CD-Rs don't last well anymore. Now all those 3.5s come with those stupid little plastic sliders instead of the sturdy old metal ones. Constantly I find those things coming off and getting jammed in the drives at work. And the plastic is so cheap and flimsy they are almost a real "floppy" disk again.
        Of course, it doesn't help that now it's not just the computer geeks using these things and a bunch of stupid college kids are storing all of their term papers on these crappy things. Then they run around with them jammed in their back pocket or backpack until crushed, bent, or otherwise destroyed.
        My job involves me helping people use the computer, but I'm about to put a sign up that help with college work will cost extra.
  • by atlasheavy ( 169115 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:26AM (#8518969) Homepage
    I have to agree with all of the naysayers on this. As much as I'd love to double my hard disk space for free, there's no such thing as a free lunch. This looks like a really terrific way to hose all of the data on your hard drive. You're really better off just shopping around for a reasonably priced 100gb hard drive or something instead.
  • yeah right. (Score:4, Informative)

    by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:28AM (#8518979) Homepage
    So either the whole thing is a hoax, or, more likely, the OS is looking at a damaged drive (damaged partition table, at least) and seeing the same partition in multiple ways. Try to write on that shiny new partition and you'll be overwriting data on the old one. Guaranteed.

    Some drives are known to short stroke their platters. This raises the more serious problem of this idiocy... The problem is modern drives store important information on those hidden inner areas of their platters (firmware, disk information, reallocated bad sectors), who knows what you could be overwriting whenever you use that space. Put something down in the wrong place and the drive will never start again or corrupt data at certain sectors. It's a lottery ticket everytime you write data in that partition. That's not what I call useable capacity.

    Don't believe me? Go ahead and try it. You'll lose all those Buffy episodes you've downloaded on KaZaA, and instead you'll have to spank it to the Portman pictures your mom doesn't know you have stashed under your bed.
    • by silvaran ( 214334 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:36AM (#8519026)
      Some drives are known to short stroke their platters.

      Is that what kids are calling it nowadays?
    • by PacoTaco ( 577292 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @06:08AM (#8519385)
      I've discovered a method to turn a single processor computer into a dual processor machine! First go into the BIOS and turn Hyper-Threading on. Finish booting the system. Now get a hacksaw. Hit reboot and quickly saw the processor in half. Before the system restarts, kill the power. Take the left half of the CPU and put it in the second processor slot. Start the system again and everything should be working wonderfully!
  • by altamira ( 639298 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:28AM (#8518981) Journal
    In other news, witnesses reported UFO sightings all over the country...
  • Disk is cheap. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by djh101010 ( 656795 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:29AM (#8518986) Homepage Journal
    My data is way more important than squeezing a bit extra out of an 80 dollar drive. Interesting idea and all that, but this isn't like in the old days of the "punch a new hole to make your 5-1/4 inch floppy double sided", where if you screw up, you lose only a disk worth of data - with this, if you screw up, you lose a _disk worth_ of data.

    If I need more space, I'll buy a bigger drive, they keep getting cheaper and faster and bigger all the time anyway.
  • by Channard ( 693317 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:31AM (#8519003) Journal
    'A representative for large hard drive distributor Bell Micro said: "This is NOT undocumented and we have done this in the past to load an image of the original installation of the software. When the client corrupted the o/s we had a boot floppy thatopened the unseen partition and copied it to the active or seen partition. It is a not a new feature or discovery. We use it ourselves without any qualms' Which, having worked for a PC sales company, I can confirm is true. And certainly, while earlier models had partitions you could wipe with partition software, later PC builds had this hidden space. But the space was 1GB at most - there's no way there was the kind of 40GB plus hidden space the article claims.
  • by thefatz ( 97467 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:32AM (#8519006) Homepage
    Gain upto 300-600 more gigs. Your lover will be happy. Risk

  • Summary... (Score:5, Informative)

    by nacturation ( 646836 ) <nacturation @ g m> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:33AM (#8519010) Journal
    I think posting in the "letters" linked article sums it up pretty well:

    About the "recover unused space on your drive" article:

    Working for a data-recovery company I know a thing or two about harddisks....

    One is that if the vendors would be able to double the capacity for just about nothing, they would.

    All this probably does is to create an invailid partition table which ends up having:

    |*** new partition ***|
    |*** old partition ***|

    overlapping partitions. So writing either partition will corrupt the other. It probably so happens that whatever situation people tried it, it just so happened that the (quick) format of the "new" partition didn't corrupt the other partition to make it unbootable.

    And the 200G -> 510Gb "upgrade" probably has ended up with three overlapping partitions....


    • Re:Summary... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MyFourthAccount ( 719363 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @06:05AM (#8519374)
      Yes, that post sums it up pretty much, other than that 'probably' should be replaced with 'absolutely'.

      Basically this idiot has found an incredibly cumbersome way to screw up his partition table. (see below for more details)

      Then of course this gets posted and linked to all over the planet for everyone to try for themselves. Who are these fucking idiots that post this kinda stuff? They should get 'gullible' tatood on their forehead.

      Hint: nowhere in the article is it said that they actually tried to use all the space and verify all data remained intact. Wouldn't that be the first thing you'd do before posting something like this online?

      Anyways, I've written several IDE drivers (and worked on the IDE core for BIOSs) and I can tell you that there is NO way you can increase the size of a 200GB drive to 510GB, especially not with the tools that are described (Ghost).

      Look at the 80GB example: they got 150GB? That's interesting, because that would mean that the drive all of a sudden became a 48-bit LBA drive. Older drives are limited to 137.4GB in size and to get 150GB capacity you need 48-bit LBA. I don't think Ghost is going to reflash the firmware of the drive to add support for that (yes, that's meant to sound sarcastic).

      Ghost works at the partition level. A drive reports it's size in sectors. This is basically a lower (or closer to the hardware) level.

      All they do is move partitions around. But the drive will keep reporting the same number of sectors. Where do the extra sectors come from?

      Why don't these people run an IDE identify program on those harddrives. They'll see that the drive still reports the original number of sectors. Exactly the same amount of sectors you can get to through /dev/hda.

      It's true that some OSs don't create the most ideal partitions so you lose _some_ sectors but nothing in the order of magnitude described though.

      Initially I thought maybe they where using the extra error-detection/recovery bytes that each sector has (which would be a very stupid idea), but that would never give you that much increase.

      Or that they were removing some factory/OEM predefined partition, which is basically the only relatively safe thing you can do to reclaim some disk space. Again, not the same order of magnitude, plus you'd never go over the size that the disk is sold as.
  • Andre Hedrick (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:36AM (#8519025)
    The old Linux IDE guy spoke of something like this a while back. Apparently the drive vendors got sick of stocking every drive model for warranty replacement, and implemented a scheme where they could "flash" a generic drive with a specific model number and capacity. Therefore it's possible that your "120GB" drive is really qualified for 160GB but was set that way for inventory reasons.

    This was on the linux-kernel list a while back, too lazy too find it. (And it's possible I misunderstood -- Hedrick is a crackpot who is barely able to articulate what he is thinking.)
  • by Sivar ( 316343 ) <charlesnburns[NO@SPAM]> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:36AM (#8519029)
    Be sure to use similarly advanced techniques to "defraggle []" your hard drive.
  • by Zakabog ( 603757 ) <john AT jmaug DOT com> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:37AM (#8519031)
    I saw the article title and I was very excited. I've bought many hard drives, and just recently I bought a 160 gig drive (was like $80 too after a mail in rebate, Fry's I love you...) and was about to buy a 250 ($110 after rebate, Fry's, still love you.) But then I figured, well if I do buy the 250, it's going to be able to hold around 200 gigs, and for some reason 50 gigs will be gone without a trace. I think there's 30 gigs missing on my 160 too, I've noticed this on a lot of drives (as drive sizes go up, so does the missing space.)

    I thought this would actually let you use up that lost space somehow, you did buy the drive, it should contain the space, but it doesn't. RAM is just the opposite, you buy 512, it has 560 or so, well any ram I bought did. Anyway, is their a way to recover this lost space? Is their something I'm doing wrong? It seems to be worse in linux (but I heard that's cause it reserves space for root to access.)
    • by lingqi ( 577227 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:59AM (#8519143) Journal
      but in case you are not:

      HD are sold in GB with GB "defined" as 1,000,000,000 bytes, which is ~7.4% less than a real GB (2^30 bytes). After formatting, (depending on your FS) a extra few percent goes away for your file table, sector marker, directory structure, etc. so in real GB (in units of 2^30 bytes), it'll be a lot less than 160, or whatever your "bought" size.

      Don't expect to recover those.

      RAM is sold with truthful advertising. 128MB = 128*2^20 bytes, which is like 134,217,728 bytes - despite the 134, it's still 128MB.
  • by M3wThr33 ( 310489 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:38AM (#8519035) Homepage
    But really, has anyone ran over the data with a bunch of unique files to see if it's not just sharing tables and writing over itself on the respected sides?
  • by Zakabog ( 603757 ) <john AT jmaug DOT com> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:44AM (#8519067)
    I'm suprised with all the comments from people who DON'T want to try it out. This is SLASHDOT! Come on don't we all have dozens of 512MB hard drives? Or even some old 10 gig drive that you found in some computer while you were dumpster diving?
  • by unknown_host ( 757538 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:50AM (#8519090)
    (A.K.A The Song of Failing Disks)

    Ten little gigabytes, waiting on line
    one caught a virus, then there were nine.

    Nine little gigabytes, holding just the date,
    someone jammed a write protect, then there were eight.

    Eight little gigabytes, should have been eleven,
    then they cut the budget, now there are seven.

    Seven little gigabytes, involved in mathematics
    stored an even larger prime, now there are six.

    Six little gigabytes, working like a hive,
    one died of overwork, now there are five.

    Five little gigabytes, trying to add more
    plugged in the wrong lead, now there are four.

    Four little gigabytes, failing frequently,
    one used for spare parts, now there are three.

    Three little gigabytes, have too much to do
    service man on holiday, now there are two.

    Two little gigabytes, badly overrun,
    took the work elsewhere, now just need one.

    One little gigabyte, systems far too small
    shut the whole thing down, now there's none at all.
  • by rock_climbing_guy ( 630276 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:51AM (#8519098) Journal
    I j5st tried thiJ out wi_* my MAXTOR 80YB 7&00 RPM hard dFDve. It's ju7t amazifg; it says that I have over 200 GB unfoFGatted, with almosF 190 GB for3atted. I'm sure that the risks are all overstated. Who needs Gga3 for error correcGion and bad blocks, or whatever. It's just paranoia. If you want mor6 stFrage space, go try this out right sgrGREG][2fFS3g4
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:55AM (#8519120)
    I've done something similer in the past with a 40GB drive. I managed to get 67GB out of it. Worked fine and all the space was usable. The only problem was bad sectors, after only 2 weeks I had 15% of the dirve unusable, and after a month I couldn't even accsess it. So while it dose work it will quickly devistate the life expectince of the drive.

    On a side note a freand of mine tried this with his 20GB drive at around the same time, cranked it up to 32GB... Funny thing is it still fully works. Amazing isn't. Just don't try it at home :)
  • by Kynde ( 324134 ) <kynde AT iki DOT fi> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:57AM (#8519134)
    ... that makes me want an article moderation capabilities to slashdot. I mean, how great would've it been to avoid seeing this at all because it had gotten (Score: -1, bullshit).

    I mean tricking an OS into seeing the partition table twice hardly counts for doubling the actual drive capacity. Geeez.

    Mmmm.. already dreaming of (Score: +4, top news) and (Score: -1, dupe)
  • Great..... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Lord_Dweomer ( 648696 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @04:58AM (#8519135) Homepage I can expect spam that reads:

    Increase your harddrive size by 150mb! Women don't like men with small harddrives. Trustmeeee and click this blind link and giveme your CCnfo and I promise thisvkpj&$(*)#Hf89h0eq2987y

  • by Rufus211 ( 221883 ) <{gro.hsikcah} {ta} {todhsals-sufur}> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @05:12AM (#8519190) Homepage
    mkfs.ext2 /dev/hdb1
    mkdir /mnt1
    mount /dev/hdb1 /mnt1
    mkdir /mnt2
    mount /dev/hdb1 /mnt2

    Tada! now when you `df` you'll have twice as much total space!
  • by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @05:12AM (#8519191) Homepage Journal
    I played a practical joke on my friends back in my high school programming course. Back in the DOS days, Norton had a tool where you could mess with the data stored on the FAT table. I came to school with a floppy that had reported it had over a gigabyte of free space. Heh it was funny watching their eyes get big. Sadly, there were no females around to demonstrate my technological prowess.

  • by sokk ( 691010 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @05:40AM (#8519300)
    In other news:
    Users report that 486to586.exe actually works.

    "It works, it really works", "My machine feels much faster" was some of the comments from the happy users.

    Karma whoring: But after some investigation, it was identified as a renamed copy of loadlin.exe :P
  • No cigar, but... (Score:5, Informative)

    by thomasj ( 36355 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @06:20AM (#8519426) Homepage
    The way harddisk are made these days it would be possible to claim an increase in useable space, if you could find some way to hack into the firmware.

    Disks of today have no direct mapping from head, cylinder and track number to physical location on the platter. Rather there is an internal table of the mapping with room for remapping potential weak sectors to unused space. When the head signal is getting close to be inconclusive the just read sector is written at a spare sector, the mapping table is updated, and the old one is marked as bad.

    If this article had show how to manipulate the disk so a number of the spare sectors could be used for enlarging the disk it would have been interesting...

  • It's a trap! (Score:5, Informative)

    by glassesmonkey ( 684291 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @06:35AM (#8519465) Homepage Journal
    The only saving grace of this article it that even the most intelligent person would have trouble following the Computurs-Fer-Nascar-Dads style instructions. From the article:

    Do not try to delete both partitions on the drive so you can create one large partition. This will not work. (this is because they are overlapping and you won't see 'extra' space if you delete the overlap)

    You have to leave the two partitions separate in order to use them. Windows disk management will have erroneous data (again alluding to the error in reporting space)

    in that it will say drive size = manus stated drive size and then available size will equal ALL the available space with recovered partitions included. ... It has worked completely fine with no loss before and it has also lost the data on the drive before. (so it obviously WILL 'lost' your data)
  • by Eudial ( 590661 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @06:55AM (#8519510)
    The IBM Thinkpad (R-series atleast) has 4 Gb of hidden diskspace that you can enable for ordinary usage in BIOS.
    It sounds fairly little, but on a 20 Gb drive that's 20%

    Usually there is some kind of backup-image there, but it isnt really necessary (especially for us Linux people).
  • by rackoon ( 632226 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:10AM (#8519790)
    Notice how they say an unpatched version of ghost is required:

    Ghost 2003 Build 2003.775 (Be sure not to allow patching of this software)

    That's because the patched version fixes A BUG that allowed the "ever expanding miracle".
  • by Asprin ( 545477 ) <gsarnold@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:33AM (#8519884) Homepage Journal

    And didja know you can re-zip all your zip files to make the ONE QUARTER their original size?!?!

  • by Erik Hensema ( 12898 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @08:47AM (#8519938) Homepage
    You should see an 8 meg partition labeled VPSGHBOOT or similar on the slave HDD (hard drive T) along with a large section of unallocated space that did not show before. DO NOT DELETE VPSGHBOOT yet.

    What probably happens here is: ghost creates a special file, or at least writes to an empty part of your filesystem. Then, it writes a complete mini-os to this 8 MB region.

    It backs up the original MBR (which is the bootsector, it also hold the partition table) and writes its own MBR. This MBR has a partition table which includes an 8 MB partion. The boundaries of the partition are the boundaries of the special file.

    Since this MBR isn't meant to be used in any normal operation environment, it's not quite legal. Some (not all, the MBR can only hold 4) of the original partitions still show up in the new MBR. Therefore, the 8 MB partition lies inside a much larger partition.

    This probably confuses fdisk, which lets you create a partition directly after the 8 MB partition, but inside your original partition.

    When you subsequently delete the 8 MB partition, fdisk is probably confused again. The end of the original partition is probably obscured by the new, overlapping partition. So it lets you create yet another partition, from the beginning of the disk to the start of the overlapping partition.

    The end result is: one large partition holding two small partitions inside it. This will exactly double your diskspace. Just don't try to use it :-)

  • Nope (Score:5, Informative)

    by pcmanjon ( 735165 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @09:17AM (#8520110)
    I can't possibly see how this would work. They're reporting a (more than?) 2x size increase on the largest harddrive they alledgedly did this trick on.

    If it works at all, all it really accomplishes is trick windows into thinking the partition really is bigger than it is. There's NO WAY it could get any bigger in reality, since drive capacity is based on the number of sectors the drive reports to the computer, and that is a fixed, hard-coded number that can't be changed by Norton Ghost or any other utility. If you try to address sector maxcapacity+1, you'll just get an error message back from the drive, it won't actually do anything.

    This is just a case of someone making sh** up in order to appear on the front page of hardware websites... A bit like participating in a 'reality show' on TV.
  • Not possible at all (Score:5, Informative)

    by pcmanjon ( 735165 ) on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @09:21AM (#8520141)
    You're joking right?

    On the subject of the Inquirer article.

    The 200JB, or BB or whatever is clearly impossible. There is no hidden space on them to recover at all, let alone 310GB! I can't imagine what kind of idiocy provoked someone to believe that was even possible. Western Digital doesn't make drives with more than 3 platters! The 200GB Western Digitals are only available with 80GB/platters. They only have 5 heads. It's therfore impossible to recover any capacity from them at all (5*40GB=200GB).

    Some of the other drives are known to short stroke their platters. This raises the more serious problem of this idiocy... The problem is modern drives store important information on those hidden inner areas of their platters (firmware, disk information, reallocated bad sectors), who knows what you could be overwriting whenever you use that space. Put something down in the wrong place and the drive will never start again or corrupt data at certain sectors. It's a lottery ticket everytime you write data in that partition. That's not what I call useable capacity.

    Also, if this was working properly, the 80GB deskstar would yield:

    either 90GB (+10GB) if it was a 180GXP (three heads on 60GB platters)
    or 80GB (+0GB) if it was a 7K250 (2 heads on 80GB platters)

    Anyone with most basic knowledge of hard drives should know that most of the numbers up there are simply impossible, not to mention simply ridiculous.

    It's not that there aren't hard drives which are short stroked and sold at a capacity below that available for access in theory, but that something is clearly wrong with this method in that it is simply inventing space that physically can't be there. Perhaps hard drive manufacturers are shortstroking disks to the point that they are formatted with the capacity of drives with fewer platters or heads, but this could never justify the failure of this method on the 200GB Western Digital drive. This drive is a known quantity. No matter what, even if they got a disk that was a shortstroked 6 head drive (which would make no sense), the maximum capacity is 250GB, not 510GB. You would need 7 platters to get that capacity with todays technology!
  • Tried it, broke it. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Freak ( 16973 ) <> on Wednesday March 10, 2004 @12:16PM (#8521637) Journal
    Okay, I have an old 540MB hard drive lying around, so I decided to try it, just for kicks. (And to silence those who are saying that either those who don't try it are cowards, or who actually think it works.

    I followed the directions to the letter. I ended up with a 1GB drive! (On a supposedly 540MB drive. In the end, FDISK claimed 965 MB.) I filled up the first partition (with mp3s, naturally.) I then started filling up the second partition...

    Surprise, surprise. It crashed halfway through copying the mp3s. Reboot? BZZZT! Windows 98 crashed a quarter of the way through loading. Starting up from a DOS disk, and my directory structure is all frooed up on the C partition. Filenames with random ASCII characters in them, inaccessible directories, all sorts of data corruption goodness. The D partition had correct names, though. (So my second batch of mp3s was probably fine.)

    ** DO ** *** NOT *** ** TRY ** ** THIS ** !!!!!!!

    (Or, more specifically, do not try this on a hard drive you want to keep, or with data you want to keep.)

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito