Print 113 comment(s) - last by johnsmith9875.. on Feb 4 at 9:30 PM

Windows 8 Pro and Microsoft's pre-installed apps take a big bite out of available storage

This isn't the first time that we've heard about space constraints in Microsoft's Surface tablets, and this likely won't be the last. Back in early November, we briefly touched on the fact that Surface RT has its available storage space seriously encroached by the operating system and pre-installed software. The 32GB version only has 16GB available to the user, while the 64GB version has 45GB available to the user.
For comparison, the 32GB and 64GB iPad/iPad mini have roughly 28.6GB and 57.2GB available respectively to the user.
We are now hearing reports that the upcoming Surface Pro takes an even bigger hit due to Windows 8 Pro and pre-installed apps from Microsoft. According to Hexus and Softpedia, the 128GB Surface Pro will only have 83GB of space available to the user. So the user is losing 45GB of storage space due to formatting/OS/pre-installed apps.
That's a big chunk of space robbed from the user on the 128GB version, but users who are thinking about the 64GB Surface Pro might want to think twice if it too is going to get hit with a 45GB punch to the gut. However, it should be noted that both the Surface RT and Surface Pro do features expandable storage via an SDXC slot; and the Surface Pro also features a USB 3.0 port.
For a refresher, the Surface Pro will be available in the U.S. and Canada starting on February 9 at $899 and $999 for the 64GB and 128GB models respectively.

Updated 1/29/2013 @ 2:16pm EST
The Verge reports that the 64GB Surface Pro will only have 23GB of available free space fresh out of the box. Microsoft also states that you will be able to get some of that free space back by "creating a backup bootable USB and deleting the recovery partition."

Sources: Hexus, Softpedia, Microsoft

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RE: wow
By retrospooty on 1/29/2013 9:26:40 AM , Rating: -1
Ya, I admit, I was kind of excited about it when we heard it was coming, but now that it's here, I don't think I would buy one even if it were 1/2 the price. The good thing is its one device that you can use at work and then later take off the kb and have a tablet for portability. I could easily use the full deal at work, but I dont see wanting to carry this around as a tablet. I see myself still using my 7 incher for that.

Then again, I dont have a whole ton of work I need to do out of the office. If I were traveling alot for work, I might want it.

RE: wow
By txDrum on 1/29/2013 9:45:03 AM , Rating: 2
That's a dumb comment. And to the first - point out a single spec that is better on a macbook air. You can't, except maybe battery life. The surface pro has a better screen (MBA uses TN), equivalent CPU, more/same ram? (not less), blah blah blah. I still wish that it was 100$ less than what it was, but thinking this thing isn't worth 500$ would be silly. Think about the pos laptops you get at that price.

Also: that headline is a bit silly. MOST people ordering surface pro will probably uninstall a lot of those apps, and you can gain 15gb alone from removing hibernation and a badly organized pagefile.sys. At least note the fact that windows 8 allows you to free up storage.

It's a Windows 8 install. The one on my desktop takes up ~12GB or something. Please note that it's possible to reduce space. I think it's stupid that you have to do it in the first place, but it's still not nearly as bad as you make it sound.

RE: wow
By retrospooty on 1/29/13, Rating: -1
RE: wow
By Brandon Hill on 1/29/2013 10:13:00 AM , Rating: 5
I wouldn't expect it to have 128GB free, but I also wouldn't expect a third of the storage space to be taken up by the OS and what's supposed to be Microsoft's "bloatfree" attitude towards pre-installed apps.

RE: wow
By kyuuketsuki on 1/29/2013 11:24:48 AM , Rating: 2
Much of that can be freed up by turning off hibernation and system restore, modifying the way the pagefile is handled, and using an external USB device for the recovery partition (if possible). Granted, these are things MS should do in the first place, but still, a lot of that storage space can be recovered.

RE: wow
By Netscorer on 1/29/2013 12:55:15 PM , Rating: 3
Please show me any regular PC user who can do even one of the optimizations you named, forget about all of them. I've seen Lenovo Yoga forums and even with detailed instructions, there were countless users who ended up with bricked devices because they deleted the wrong partition when merging all that dead wasted storage or improperly formatting USB flash for restore and trying to boot up from it.

RE: wow
By ritualm on 1/29/2013 4:29:40 PM , Rating: 2
You're overestimating the ability of the average PC user to correctly set up these deep systemwide changes.

RE: wow
By retrospooty on 1/29/2013 12:18:27 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that is high. Is it alot of 3rd party bloatware, or is it just poor management of pagefile and hibernation files?

RE: wow
By Mint on 1/29/2013 2:44:04 PM , Rating: 2
I really don't think 45GB it's that much different from any win7 notebook, but I could be wrong.

It'll be interesting to see the breakdown if this rumor is true.

RE: wow
By Brandon Hill on 1/29/2013 2:49:38 PM , Rating: 2
It's not a rumor, it's straight from the horse's mouth:

RE: wow
By Mint on 1/29/2013 3:08:45 PM , Rating: 2
Sure, but it's still not that unreasonable compared to typical laptops, and I'm still curious about the breakdown.

It's got a backup partition (which you can remove), a hibernation file and pagefile (side effects of being a full PC with 4GB RAM), and Office trial preinstalled.

That probably accounts for most of the unexpected used space.

RE: wow
By Voldenuit on 1/29/2013 3:18:40 PM , Rating: 2
Don't turn off hibernation on the Surface Pro.

By default, hiberfil.sys is configured to only save 75% of the RAM state to HDD. For the 4 GB Surface Pro, that's only 3 GB.

And you can configure hibernation to take up no more than 50% of your RAM size.

The real problem is how Microsoft handles dlls, old service packs, etc. in Winsxs. If you feel the crunch now with 23 GB free on a clean install, it's only going to get worse with a year's worth of updates and maybe a service pack thrown in.

MS needs to fix winsxs, it's the major eater of windows install directory space in all versions of windows since Vista.

In the meantime, this almost cripples surface pro's potential, and the 64GB Pro is all but useless.

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