Linux reports larger disk size than reality: advice, please

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Linux reports larger disk size than reality: advice, please

Postby PDW42 » 2017-03-05 14:59

I recently installed antix (a lightweight Debian distro) on a Thinkpad 570E, a very old machine with 192Mb RAM and a 10Gb disk. Linux boots and seems to run OK, but the disk size is reported as 40Gb, not the actual 10Gb. This has actually happened with more than one Linux installation on this machine, so I suspect the issue is deeper down than the details of the specific distro.

Is it possible to correct the disk size by convincing Linux that the disk is smaller than it thinks - and are the consequences as worrying as I suspect they might be if I do nothing and hit the 10Gb physical maximum?
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Re: Linux reports larger disk size than reality: advice, ple

Postby arochester » 2017-03-05 15:06

AntiX Forum >>> http://antix.freeforums.org/

AntiX might be a Debian type distro, but it is not just Debian.
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Re: Linux reports larger disk size than reality: advice, ple

Postby PDW42 » 2017-03-05 16:08

Fair comment, but for some reason the AntiX board demands more information to register (real name, date of birth) than I want to give out. I thought I might find a friend here.

BTW I forgot to say in my original post that Windows XP, the previous OS for this machine, knew the right disk size, so I assume the basic hardware and firmware are OK.
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Re: Linux reports larger disk size than reality: advice, ple

Postby phenest » 2017-03-05 16:48

It's not that we're not friendly, it's just this forum is Debian specific.

As for the antiX forum, try a fake name and DOB. Who's going to know?

Unless, of course, you wish to try Debian on your computer, and then we're than willing to help.
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Re: Linux reports larger disk size than reality: advice, ple

Postby PDW42 » 2017-03-05 17:17

OK guys, I get the message ... so much for any reputation for helpfulness from at least one Linux community.

There seem to be two types of online communities - 'smile/pat on head/help' and 'blow off'. I prefer the former.
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Re: Linux reports larger disk size than reality: advice, ple

Postby stevepusser » 2017-03-05 19:18

Can you confirm the issue in a Live Debian session? Then they shouldn't have any complaints here. Maybe if you just boot Debian to the terminal, the live Session won't use too much RAM.

Maybe the make and model of the disk would be relevant, too.
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Re: Linux reports larger disk size than reality: advice, ple

Postby arochester » 2017-03-05 19:28

Have you actually seen the Hard Disk?

That laptop comes with a 12 Gb Hard Drive.

If it has been changed to a 10Gb, it could also have been changed to 40Gb.
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Re: Linux reports larger disk size than reality: advice, ple

Postby stevepusser » 2017-03-05 19:32

Maybe that's what Windows reports using the powers of 2 measurement vs. the manufacturer's base 10 decimal inflated size.
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Re: Linux reports larger disk size than reality: advice, ple

Postby PDW42 » 2017-03-05 19:34

Thanks for the responses.

stevepusser, I have a base station for this machine and it has a CD, not DVD drive; it also won't boot from USB - we're talking Early Stone Age here :) The only non-hard disk boot option I have is the CD drive. Add the memory of 192Mb and I suspect that Debian, even Live, won't be an option.

Sorry, arochester - the disk might indeed be 12Gb, not 10Gb which was from my bad memory. What it definitely isn't is the 40Gb that Linux is reporting.
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Re: Linux reports larger disk size than reality: advice, ple

Postby stevepusser » 2017-03-05 19:55

I've never used it, but I have seen others on the AntiX and MX forums recommend using the PLOP boot manager to allow a machine like yours to boot from a USB drive. https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/16822/b ... t-let-you/

Or maybe find an older Debian release ISO that fits on a CD--it's still Debian, then.

Edit: maybe the Squeeze rescue live rescue disk here at 530 M: https://cdimage.debian.org/mirror/cdima ... /i386/net/
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Re: Linux reports larger disk size than reality: advice, ple

Postby phenest » 2017-03-05 21:27

Exactly what is reporting the 40GB size? From the command line, or some graphical file manager, or something else? Have you checked everyplace to see if they're all reporting the same thing?
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Re: Linux reports larger disk size than reality: advice, ple

Postby Dai_trying » 2017-03-05 21:29

you could try Q4OS there are live-cd's that are actually cd-size. It is debian based so usual tools are available.
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Re: Linux reports larger disk size than reality: advice, ple

Postby dasein » 2017-03-05 21:39

PDW42 wrote:so much for any reputation for helpfulness from at least one Linux community.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=srpwqf2MWAw

There are over 100 "Debian-based" distros, and no, this community doesn't support them all. (See also viewtopic.php?f=3&t=114644&start=15#p542283)

If you want distro-agnosticism, try Linux Questions.

For lulz, you could post the output of
Code: Select all
fdisk -l
run as root
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Re: Linux reports larger disk size than reality: advice, ple

Postby cpoakes » 2017-03-05 22:41

What command(s) are reporting the wrong size? I would rely on hdparm, smartctl, and sfdisk to be accurate, as they pull information at a low level directly from or close to the hardware. I would also trust gparted. Check:

Code: Select all
hdparm -I /dev/sdX

Caveats: Replace sdX with your hard drive number (likely sda); execute the command as root. Look for the sections "device size with M" reported in both MB and MiB. And check:

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smartctl -i /dev/sdX

Same caveats. Look for "User Capacity" in MB. And:

Code: Select all
sfdisk -uM -s /dev/sdX

Same caveats apply. Output is reported in MiB.

If these report 40GB, then with a high degree of certainty you have a 40GB device being used as a 10GB device by Windows (likely the first partition is 10GB). Run smartctl to do a (non-destructive) long test to validate the drive and drive info. (Can someone recommend a GUI version for smartctl? The command line options and use are not intuitive for occasional/new users.)
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Re: Linux reports larger disk size than reality: advice, ple

Postby dasein » 2017-03-05 22:45

cpoakes wrote:If these report 40GB, then with a high degree of certainty you have a 40GB device being used as a 10GB device

Only if someone upgraded the HDD after-the-fact. A quick glance at the spec sheet for the Thinkpad 570E shows that the factory-original HDD is indeed 12GB.
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