Why Does the SSD Show Less Space? (5 Solutions)

Your drive appears to be smaller than advertised because the computing industry calculates and reports storage drive capacity slightly differently than it does other capacities.

A statement to the effect that “1 GB = 1 billion bytes” can be found in any storage device’s specifications can be found there.

Actual capacity usable may differ. Read on to know more why SSD (Solid-State Drive) shows less space than its actually advertised space.


  • Humans and computers, both do not measure memory in the same way, therefore measuring systems differ and measurements differ.
  • In order to divide and organize files your SSD requires some space for creating partitions in your storage system.
  • Operating systems and its bundled packages occupy some space, which cannot be avoided.
  • Some hidden features occupy space, but since they are hidden, the space they occupy seems mistakenly occupied or malfunctioning.

5 Reasons Why SSD Shows Less Space (with Solutions)

Why does the SSD show less space

How often have you opened a new computer, phone, or external drive only to be shocked to find that it did not have as much storage space as it claimed on the box? That 512GB SSD might only hold 477GB.

This occurs for a number of valid reasons. Listed below are some major and minor reasons why SSD shows less space

1. Binary and Decimal Measuring Systems

Preinstalled applications are undoubtedly a contributing factor, but the main reason why you don’t receive the full amount of advertised space in SSDs is that computers measure numbers differently than people do.

The prefixes “kilo” for thousand, “mega” for million, “giga” for billion, “tera” for trillion, and others are used in computing as standard value prefixes.

The decimal system, which measures numbers with a base of 10, is used by people, including hard disk manufacturers. Therefore, we refer to 500 gigabytes as 500 billion bytes when we say that.

In contrast, computers use the base-2 binary system, in which every number is either a 1 or a 0.

21 in binary equals the number 1 in decimal form, 22 equals 4, 23 equals 8, 24 equals 16, and so on. The value of a binary number rises by a power of two with each additional digit. Therefore, 2 x 10 equals 1,024.

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Now we know why computers define these common prefixes with 1,024 instead of 1,000.

A kilobyte is 1,024 bytes for a computer, not 1,000 bytes for a person. As you go up the scale, this compounds, making one megabyte equal 1,024 kilobytes and one gigabyte equals 1,024 megabytes.


Consider purchasing a 250GB external SSD to see how this impacts you. The computer does not show the disk’s actual size of 250,000,000,000,000 bytes.

To determine how much space this actually occupies, we can divide the number by 1,024 three times (once to convert bytes to kilobytes, once more to megabytes, and once more to gigabytes) by working backward:

250,000,000,000 / (1,024 * 1,024 * 1,024) equals 232,830,643,653 bytes, or 232.83GB.

When looking at a 250GB SSD in Windows, the maximum space is displayed as 232GB, which matches the result of our calculation above. From the advertised amount, there is a discrepancy of about 18GB.

2. Other Measurement Differences

You might be left wondering why there is such a disparity after walking through this. Technically, hard drive manufacturers do provide an accurate amount of space on their products, so why don’t they label it as it is on SSDs.

Kilo is a power of 1,000, which is the correct definition. A power of 1,024 is also known by the name “kibi.”. To clear up this misunderstanding, the International Electrotechnical Commission has published standards for binary data measurement.

While a kilobyte (KB) is equal to 1,000 bytes, a kibibyte (KiB) is equal to 1,024 bytes. The same is true for mebibytes (MiB), gibibytes (GiB), tebibytes (TiB), and so forth.


Windows actually measures in gibibytes but for some reason incorrectly uses the “GB” prefix. One gigabyte (GB) is correctly defined as one billion bytes by other operating systems, such as macOS.

As a result, the same 250GB drive attached to a Mac would display 250GB of total space.

3. Disk Partitioning

In addition to the aforementioned factors, more partitions could also result in a decrease in the total amount of space a drive has.

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In case you were unaware, partitioning is the process of dividing physical SSDs into various logical sections.

A drive can be used in a variety of ways by partitioning it, including the installation of two different operating systems on one disk.

The manufacturer frequently includes a recovery partition on the disk when you purchase a computer off the shelf. If there is a serious issue, you can reset your system using the information in this.

These files occupy drive space like any other type of data. You might not be aware that recovery partitions exist, though, as they are frequently hidden from standard view.


Right-click on the Start menu or hit Win X and select Disk Management in Windows to view the partitions on your drive.

Each disk in your system, along with the partitions that make it up, are visible here.

That’s your recovery partition if you see a label that says Restore, Recovery, or something similar.

Usually, erasing these partitions will allow you to get back that space. The majority of the time, it is best to ignore them.

Having them makes recovering your system much simpler, and the small space gain isn’t worth the hassle of manually recovering your system.

4. The OS and Pre-Installed Applications

The fact that there is data on your SSD when you purchase it, is the most fundamental cause of the actual disk space being less than you anticipated.

However, it is a significant issue with phones and pre-built computers. This is not the case for removable disks like flash drives or SD cards.

An enormous amount of storage space is taken up by the operating system, such as Windows or macOS, when you purchase a computer.

There is no workaround for these protected OS files because they are required for the system to function properly.


For illustration, suppose the C: Windows folder consumes 25GB. That represents about a tenth of the total amount of disk space. But not only the OS files use up space right out of the box.

The majority of operating systems come with extra apps you might or might not want. This ranges from obtrusive macOS built-in programs like GarageBand to bloated Windows 10 add-ons.

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They come bundled with your OS (Operating System) even though they are not technically a part of it, so they start using up space right away. Normally, you can remove these to free up space in your SSD.

5. Hidden Features That Consume Space

The majority of operating systems also include components that take up space but aren’t actual files. For instance, the System Restore and Previous Versions features in Windows are both powered by the Shadow Copy service.

If your system isn’t functioning properly, System Restore enables you to go back in time, and Previous Versions keeps backups of your private files so you can undo changes. Of course, both of these require a workspace.


Press Win Pause to quickly open the About menu in the Settings app, where you can view and alter the amount of space that features that depend on Shadow Copy services use.

Click System protection from here on the right-hand side. Pick your drive from the list in the ensuing window and click Configure.

A new dialog box will appear that gives you the option to completely turn off system protection, though we don’t advise doing so.

You can change the maximum amount that Windows uses by viewing the Current Usage in the section below. A good percentage is somewhere around 10%.


The factors covered in this article are responsible for the obvious discrepancy between the storage space that is advertised and the actual storage space on a phone, drive, or other storage device.

These are the primary causes, which can help you explain why SSD shows less space and knowing them will enable you to make informed decisions and ensure that new devices always come with the appropriate amount of storage.

About Dominic Cooper

Dominic CooperDominic Cooper, a TTU graduate is a computer hardware expert. His only passion is to find out the nitty gritty of all computers since childhood. He has over 12 years of experience in writing, computer testing, and research. He is not very fond of social media. Follow Him at Linkedin