Used space on external HDD

I have a 2TB external hdd. When I highlight the drive in Windows Explorer and right click on “properties”, it says 1.5TB is used. The drive has a few tiny folders in it and one large one. The large one says 347GB.
So where on earth is the rest of the used folders/files?!

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Sounds like you might have some bad sectors. The only way I know of to figure that out is to reformat the disk. I doubt they all are bad but in order to find out that is the only way I know of.


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Yes, agree. You may want to move/copy the small files from it first, though, prior to reformatting (as they will almost certainly be corrupted or destroyed).



Your file directory may be messed up/corrupted for some unknown reason. The suggestions above are valid - just copy the files that it shows to a backup, then reformat that drive into something manageable like 450 gb sections. Remember NTFS…doc

What Should I Set the Allocation Unit Size to When Formatting? (

OK, guys. I’m going to reformat. First I backed up the files onto another disk. Then I deleted all the files/folders. It still says 1.5TB used!
When I go to format, it says NTFS as the default. As per Physician, I’ll leave it there. It also says “allocation unit size” 4096 bytes. What to do here? Physician says something about 450 gb sections. It doesn’t give that as an option, or anything like that at all. It goes up to 2048 kilobytes.
And the last option is quick format is checked. Leave that?

That 4096 bytes is the smallest amount of space that can be used. I would keep it at that size. Go with quick format. That should be all you need. Some people partition disks because it reads the disk faster but then it looks like you have a lot more disks. I really do not care about a few ms of speed faster and just put it all as one disk.



One more thing RB, you are probably dealing with a bad storage device and you will find out it is slowly going bad so just keep that in mind. If it keeps doing what it is doing you will probably need to replace it.


I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks. I’ve been eyeing an SSD external drive anyway. This one:

Formatted. That did it! 162MB used, whatever that is. The thing is empty.
1.81TB free space.
Thanks to all of you for your help!
I’ll keep in mind that this may die soon. I’ll put on it only things that I have backed up elsewhere also.

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That SSD is slow, at “Up to 550MB/s - USB-C, USB 3.1”. You probably want at least USB 3.2 speed which is double that. For example, the Samsung T7 Shield, which I have, and which Crystal Diskmark shows to consistently perform at 900+ MB/s when connected to my USB-C 3.2 port.

But if you’re enamored with the carabiner hole in the Sandisk, they make a USB 3.2 version that’s even cheaper, and twice as fast:

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Thanks! I just don’t know what to look for when shopping for computer stuff. So I appreciate you pointing out what I overlooked.
I feel like I should hire someone to shop for my next computer. I glaze over when looking at the stats.
I want a 2TB SSD computer with lots of memory! But I’m surprised at how hard it is to find a computer with 2TB SSD. I thought by now that would be fairly common. But I guess not yet. I keep waiting, making due with my old computer, waiting for larger and cheaper SSD’s.
But as far as any other stats to look for, I’m completly in the dark, like processors, video cards, etc.

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Most full size desktop PCs are pretty expandable, so even if you get one with, say, a single 1 TB internal SSD, you can likely add another internal one. It’s fairly simple to do. I’d have a hard time deciding on a particular desktop to buy, but it would most likely be a “small form factor” or “mini” one like the Intel Nuc line. They’re less expandable, but some still are.

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BuildMyPC - #1 PC Parts Compatibility Checker Website for Building Your PC

Good site for doing configurations of PC’s and figuring costs.

Newegg desktops with 2tb SSD: AMD Ryzen 3,New,Desktop,More than 1TB Desktop Computers |


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Yeah, don’t get any of those with a Ryzen 3. Those are pretty low performance CPUs!

Can you elaborate? What’s wrong with Ryzen 3? I was thrilled for a minute there for the 2TB SSD’s, but now you are saying stay away?
Where can I find 2TB SSD computers with good processors? I wish I knew what to look for in stats! What stats are important? I know I want a large SSD and a lot of memory, but what else should I be careful about?
What else?

I think the more important question RB is what are you going to do with it? Everyone has different things they are looking for. To me that system would be fine but if you are looking to play games or edit video not so much. I am not looking to be a speed demon anymore I just want something that can play youtube videos, do spreadsheets, and go on the internet to read articles. That would be fine for my use case.


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Actually, the Ryzen 3 is a good cpu for someone who doesn’t game or do video editing/CAD stuff. Its a cost effective option for someone who surfs the net and uses the computer more for work vs gaming. The next step up would be Ryzen 5: New,Desktop,More than 1TB,AMD Ryzen 5 Desktop Computers |
Some of these Ryzen 5 now say gaming computers. Most of the Ryzen 7 will say gaming rigs as well: New,Desktop,More than 1TB,AMD Ryzen 7 Desktop Computers |

Honestly if the price is really close, I would go with a Ryzen 5 but thats me. Notice there is a big price jump to the Ryzen 7 since now you are moving into more expensive video cards (gaming) and more RAM. Of course we all have differing opinions on this but if you want/need a good home desktop for banking and surfing the internet a Ryzen 3 is an excellent choice IMHO. HTH…doc

edit: the Ryzen 3 as Andy said is fine for watching videos on Youtube or your streaming provider like amazon or netflix, can handle browsing the internet and doing simple stuff like spreadsheets. An expensive video card and some more RAM would probably give you a decent gaming rig since most games run off the video card - not the cpu. Let us know what direction you end up going and how happy you are with the rig


I don’t do gaming. I surf the web with many tabs open, which slows my computer down drastically. Is that a memory problem? When I go to task manager, go to performance, and look at memory, it says 6.2/7.9 GB (78%). I’m assuming that means my computer has 8 GB of memory? Please confirm. That’s not much, right? Is that what’s slowing down my browsing?
I also use a lot of apps such as Quicken, Quickbooks, Excel, Word, and others.
I also do a lot of online video streaming and this has been problematic also.

The thing is, I’m very tired of how slow my computer is, both web browsing and using apps. Opening apps takes a lot of time, etc.

So even though I don’t do gaming, I don’t want to compromise.
So my question is, does all of the above slowness sound like a memory problem? Or could it be a processor issue also?

And as far as processors go, are the high numbered Ryzens better and faster? Like 5 instead of 3 or 9 instead of 5?
And what about Intel? Are they faster than Ryzen? Intel i9 vs i7 or i5. Again, are the higher numbers better?

So if I compare prices and don’t mind paying more, what’s best?
A big question I have is how much difference will more memory make vs. better processor?
And if memory price isn’t an issue, should I get 64 instead of 32?


The first hit on Amazon for “amd desktop” is better. It as 32 GB RAM (likely double what you may need now!), a 1 TB SSD and a 1 TB spinning disk (not ideal). But as I said, it’s usually easy to add a second SSD. It’s an HP model, but it’s being sold by a reseller I know nothing about, so I’d be wary. Need to look at buyer comments and ratings. I try to only by items on Amazon that are “shipped from, sold by” Amazon.

This particular desktop has a AMD 6-Core Ryzen 5600G, so is more “future proof”, and even a pretty good discrete (separate from the CPU) graphics card - the AMD Radeon™ RX 6400 - but is probably fine unless you’re into games. The price strikes me as very good as well: under $700.

As others have already commented, your typical needs are what matters, but you also don’t want to lock yourself into a lower-end machine right away, or you may soon become unhappy with it. I’ll see what else I can find.

[ EDIT: it turns out that the reseller “Cardinal Pro Electronics” has some pretty poor ratings, so probably best to look elsewhere. ]

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Thanks. But like you said, I’ll look elsewhere.
Also, I don’t want a spinning disk. Just 2TB SSD.
And I’m not into doing upgrades myself. I’m far from a techie and don’t want to open the case! I’m a wimp, LOL!

And I definitely do NOT want to lock myself into a lower end machine, even at that wonderful price! I want speed!
See my post above.