Why don’t we get Full Storage in Memory Card and Pen drive

Published by Raju Gorla on

less storage in memory card and pendrive

Why do memory cards and pen drives show Less space than original?

If you check your storage in memory card and pen drive, then you will notice some difference in it, in this article, we discuss the reasons behind this.

You might notice that your computer shows the size of your pen drive or memory card a little less as compared to the size promised by the manufacturer company or as a label on the box.


Have you ever wondered why your memory card or pen drive has a smaller storage capacity than they showed?


The reason has to do with math and marketing but our question is.. “Why can’t the stated capacity of the drive can’t be usable?”

storage in memory card and pendrive

So here is the answer there are three different reasons behind it 

The reason behind less storage in memory card and pen drive:

1. The last reason it is actually a logical reason and main reason now moving to the topic humans think of numbers in base 10 that is for manufactures


1 KB equal to 1000 bytes 

1 MB equal to 1000 kilobytes 

1 GB equal to 1000 megabytes,…


 On the other hand for computers 


1 KB equal to 1024bytes 

1 MB equal to 1024  kilobytes 

1 GB equal to 1024 megabytes,…


For instance, you bought a new 32 GB memory card when you put it in your mobile or computer it shows 29.7 GB only where the 2.3 GB of storage is gone?


“Did the manufactured company cheat you?”


Well, this difference is due to the different number of systems used by humans and digital circuits. Let’s have a look at this simple calculation for manufacturers and all digital circuits(Computers) as well as what customers think.


For Manufacturers:

32gb equal to 32 x 1000 MB that equal to 32 x 1000 x 1000 kilobytes that equal to 32 x 1000 x 1000 x 1000 bytes that is equal to 32E9 bytes i.e.,

1 GB = 1000 MB = 1000 x 1000 KB = 1000 x 1000 x 1000 Bytes


For Computers:

And the computer knows 1 MB equal to 1024 KB and 1 GB equal to 1024 MB and that is equal to 1024 x 1024 KB 


1 GB = 1024 MB = 1024 x 1024 KB = 1024 x 1024 x 1024 Bytes


Therefore the computer calculates as follows 32 GB equal to 32 x 1000 x 1000 x 1000 bytes by 1024 x 1024 x 1024 bytes that equal to 29.8 GB i.e., 

32 x 1024 x 1024 x 1024 bytes – 32 x 1000 x 1000 x 1000 bytes = 2.359 GB


Therefore actual storage present in memory card or pendrive is 

32 GB – 2.359 GB = 29.7 GB



32GB for Manufacturer = 29.7 GB for Computer/User


Drive/Card storage Actual storage(digital)
1 KB = 1000 bytes 1 KB = 1024 bytes
1 MB = 1000 KB 1 MB = 1024 KB
1 GB = 1000 MB 1 GB = 1024 MB
32 GB = 32 x 1000 MB = 32000 MB 32 GB = 32 x 1024 MB = 34.359 MB


This 32GB in the point of manufacturer view is correct but from the customer point of view, this is not fair.


To increase the profits manufacturing companies follow these tricks to reduce their manufacturing costs and to get more profits.

memory cards

2. The nest reason is different operating systems treat your disk differently windows os may not show the disk space like Linux, Mac, or Unix there are little discrepancies between the file formats and algorithms used by the different operating systems but it doesn’t matter as much.


3. Another reason is that a portion of memory space is reserved for system files and data sectors for a better performance this is the primary reason behind the less usable space than the mentioned space 


I hope you understand the reason behind less storage in the memory card and pen drive than the actual memory size.


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Sunil Nehra · October 27, 2020 at 11:29 am

Very good information.

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