When quoting disk space, should I quote the partition size as the "total size" and include the filesystem tables (the space occupied by the filesystem itself) as "used space" (thus the disk will always have some used space, but the user won't be wondering why their 200gb hard disk is only e.g. 198gb large) or should I quote the "total size" as being only the space available for saving files and the "used space" as being 0 bytes for a disk with no files on it? How do most operating systems do this?

  • 1
    Can you make the question more relevant by adding details about the application and it's users and usage?
    – jazZRo
    Sep 17, 2015 at 7:23
  • Sorry there was no particular application, I was just curious. Sep 17, 2015 at 13:05
  • Always display used and remaining from the formatted disk size; not the unformatted disk size.
    – Max
    Sep 17, 2015 at 14:26

1 Answer 1


Most Operating Systems only show the Total Available Disk Space.

Available Disk Space

This is because, supposing that the above hard disk is in fact 500GB unformatted, if I were to show 500GB, a user might be confused as to the cause of the other 50GB used space, since he's only got 450GB.

He might go ahead to delete his important files which aren't the cause of the pre-occupied space.

A good way to improve this could be proper consumer education that when someone says 500GB, it is a given that he will only get 450GB as usable memory.

Another way could be to showcase 500GB and show the unusable 50GB in a different color, with a color map suggesting that color/memory is unusable and is used by the OS.

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