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How to Restore a Hard Drive to its Full Capacity?

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Feb 19, 2024 • Filed to: Answer Hard Drive Problems • Proven solutions

“Someone help me as my 1 TB hard drive is only showing 32 GB space! How to restore my hard drive to full capacity without harming it?”

If you also have a similar query and would like to restore your external hard drive to its full capacity, then you have come to the right place. Too many times, while formatting or using the hard drive, it can shrink or suffer from logical errors. The good news is that learning how to restore a hard drive to its full capacity is easy. In this post, I will teach you how to restore a hard drive to its original size in different ways.

Restore Hard Drive Banner

Why Does 1 TB Hard Drive Only Shows 32 GB Space?

To learn how to restore a hard drive capacity, it is important to understand the common triggers behind this issue. Ideally, your hard drive’s capacity could have shrunk due to the following reasons:

How to Restore a Hard Drive to its Original Capacity?

As you can see, there could be so many reasons for an external hard drive for only showing 32 GB space. To overcome this and fix the 1 or 2 TB hard drive only showing 32 GB space issue, you can follow these suggestions.

Fix 1: Perform a Quick Format of the Hard Disk

A while back, when my external hard drive was only showing 32 GB space, I performed a quick format and it instantly fixed the problem. The best part is that you can learn how to restore a hard drive capacity with this method easily by following these steps:

  1. Connect your hard drive to your computer (if it is an external drive) and launch My Computer (or This PC) on Windows Explorer.
  2. Now, right-click the icon of the hard drive that has been shrunk and go to the “Format” option from the context menu.
  3. Here, you can select a preferred file system or change the formatting scheme for the drive. In the end, click on the “Format” button and wait as your hard drive would be reassigned.

Quick Format Drive

Fix 2: Delete the Partition and Reformat it via Disk Management

If a quick format is not able to fix the issue and your 1 TB hard drive is only showing 32 GB storage, then try this approach. In this, we will take the assistance of the Disk Management application to delete the partitions and then format the hard drive entirely.

  1. Once the hard drive has been connected to your system, you can launch the Disk Management application from the start menu. You can also open the Run prompt and enter the “diskmgmt.msc” command.

Open Disk Management

  1. As the Disk Management application would be launched, you can select the partition and right-click. From here, you can choose to delete the 32 GB partition of your drive.
  2. After getting rid of all the partitions, you can right-click the hard drive icon, and choose to format it instead.

Disk Management Formatting Option

  1. This will open a dedicated wizard from where you can select an appropriate file system for the drive. You can follow the wizard and enter the relevant details to format the entire disk successfully.

Disk Management Format Drive

Fix 3: Use the Diskpart Utility to Format the Drive

At times, users find it hard to learn how to restore the hard drive to its original size due to different reasons. In this case, I would recommend launching Command Prompt and using the Diskpart utility to fix this issue.

  1. If the external hard drive is only showing 32 GB space, then connect it to your computer first, and launch Command Prompt as an administrator.
  2. Once the Command Prompt is launched, enter the “diskpart” command to load the disk partition utility.
  3. Now, just enter the “list disk” button to get a list of all the connected disks. You can further use the “select” command followed by the identifier to mark it (like select disk 2).

Diskpart Select Disk

  1. Great! Once the disk is selected, you can type and enter the “clean” command to wipe its storage.
  2. Afterward, enter the “create partition primary” command to create the primary partition on your drive.
  3. In the end, you can enter the “format” command to format the drive followed by its file system. For instance, to format the disk in the NTFS file system, you can enter the “format fs=ntfs” command.

Diskpart Format Drive

Fix 4: Update the Relevant Hard Disk’s Drivers

In case your system is running on an old or outdated driver, then you can find it hard to restore the external hard drive to its full capacity. To fix this, you can just update the drivers (disk or USB) to the latest available versions. Here’s how to restore the hard drive to full capacity by updating the drivers.

  1. Go to the Start menu and look for “Device Manager” to open the application. Alternatively, you can also open the Run prompt and enter the “devmgmt.msc” command.

Open Device Manager

  1. As the Device Manager window will open, you can expand the relevant category and select your hard drive or USB driver.

Update Drivers via Device Manager

  1. Right-click the driver’s icon and choose to update the driver from here. This will launch a dedicated wizard that you can follow to look up relevant updates and install them on your system.

Fix 5: Manually Install the Software for the USB Driver

Lastly, if your external hard drive is only showing 32 GB space, then you can manually install its drivers. For this, you need to know the device’s details and can find the compatible driver by visiting its website.

  1. Just launch the Device Manager application and right-click the driver’s icon to go to its properties.
  2. As the Properties window would open, go to the Details section and check the specifications of the installed driver.

Check Driver Details

  1. Now, you can just go to the official website of the driver and install the relevant software on your system to fix it.

By following these methods on how to restore the hard drive to its original size, you would be able to fix this issue. Though, if your 1 or 2 TB hard drive is still only showing 32 GB space, then you can consider visiting an expert or the service center of the manufacturer to get it fixed.

How to Retrieve Data from a Hard Disk That Lost its Capacity?

While learning how to restore a hard drive to full capacity, you might have to format the disk. In this case, your important files from your hard drive might be deleted or lost. While this might seem like an unforeseen situation, you can get your files back with a dedicated tool like Wondershare Recoverit Data Recovery. It is a 100% safe and user-friendly solution to extract your lost, deleted, and inaccessible files under all possible scenarios.

To restore your lost or deleted data from your computer’s drive or an external hard disk, you can follow these instructions.

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Step 1: Mark a location to scan

Firstly, install and launch Recoverit Data Recovery on your computer and select a location to scan. You can pick any partition of your computer or can select any other connected source (like an external hard drive).

mark a location

Step 2: Let Recoverit extract your data

As you would click on the “Start” button, you can just wait for a while and let Recoverit scan the selected source. It is recommended to wait for a while and check the progress from the on-screen indicator. If you have got your data back, then you can pause or stop the process from here.

extract the data

To make things easier for you, Recoverit will automatically list your data under different categories. Besides that, you can also use the inbuilt search and the available filters to look for specific files (based on size, file type, and more).

file filter

Step 3: Preview your files and recover your data

You can also get a preview of your photos, videos, audio files, documents, etc. that are retrieved by Recoverit. Lastly, just select what you wish to get back and click on the “Recover” button.

preview files

This will let you select a new location where you want to save your data. I would recommend saving your data to any other drive that you can still access without any trouble.

recover files

That’s a wrap, everyone! After reading this guide, you would be able to restore an external hard drive to its full capacity. As you can see, I have listed different ways on how to restore a hard drive to its original size by following different methods. Although, during the troubleshooting techniques, if you end up losing your data, then you can just try Recoverit Data Recovery. A professional data recovery tool, it would let you get back all kinds of lost and deleted content from any partition, disk, or even an external hard drive easily.

Recoverit author

Theo Lucia

chief Editor

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