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Heads Up for Thinkpad t420 refurb buyers: possible undersized HD partitions!

red_vigilante 608 142 August 15, 2015 at 11:25 PM
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Last Edited by red_vigilante August 16, 2015 at 11:37 AM
There have been a lot of refurb Thinkpad t420 deals posted lately, so I figured this was worth mentioning. I was preparing to wipe the hard drive it came with, when I noticed it had 170 gigs of unallocated space just sitting there, unused. Turns out it was a 500 gig hard drive, but it had been repartitioned to appear to be ~320 gig (which was what it was advertised as having.)

This could easily go unnoticed for people who weren't planning on wiping or reinstalling. To check, open Windows Explorer, right-click on Computer, click Manage, then select Disk Management (under Storage) in the left pane. Look for chunks marked "Unallocated" or "Unformatted", or simply verify what it says the capacity[1] of "Disk 0" is. If you did get a bigger drive and you want to reclaim that space, you can either:

1. Partition it as a new drive letter (like an E: drive). This should be straightforward--just right-click the chunk marked "unallocated" and create a new 'simple volume'.

2. Resize your main OS partition, which is less straightforward and might be a little dangerous. (I haven't attempted this under Windows in 10+ years, but if you're willing to boot a Linux live distro I think GParted can handle it.)

3. Wipe the whole thing (writing down your Win7 key first), and upgrade to an SSD for your system drive. Platter hard drives suck unless you really need the extra space, but even then you could just grab an msata SSD (there's a 128 GB one for $55 right now on Amazon) and keep this drive for bulk storage.

Incidentally, another unadvertised feature that some of us are getting with these are extended 9 cell batteries.

1. A note for novices: if you're wondering why the sizes don't add up nicely or are a bit less than what they should be, this is because of a long running cluster**** where base 10 terminology is freely mixed up with base 2 terminology for fraudulent *creative marketing* purposes.
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A warning: it may have been partitioned this way to avoid bad sectors without having to install a new drive. I'd run some heavy duty drive tests before reclaiming unused space.
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Quote from FenrirCo View Post :
A warning: it may have been partitioned this way to avoid bad sectors without having to install a new drive. I'd run some heavy duty drive tests before reclaiming unused space.
A fair point, but it seems a bit unlikely that the bad sector just happened to be at the physical location on the drive that would turn a 500 giger into the advertised 320 giger. Mine was from the Newegg deal; it wasn't like Cowboom or an outlet store where each system is listed individually with its own stats.

Much more likely: the install image they were using assumed a 320 GB drive and defined partitions accordingly, without checking to see what the actual size of the drive was.

Quick scans have thus far revealed no errors. I'll see what Linux has to say about it later.
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Last edited by red_vigilante August 16, 2015 at 03:16 PM
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