Microsoft Surface Pro may grab up to 70% of on-board storage for itself

Microsoft Surface Pro may grab up to 70% of on-board storage for itselfWhen is 128GB not 128GB? Well, that's a trick question to be fair, but the answer I'm looking for is when it's inside a Microsoft Surface Pro.

Microsoft has revealed that the full-blown Windows 8 install grabs as much as 45GB of space for itself and pre-installed apps, leaving only 83GB of user-available space. And that's if you go with the bigger of the two models. The 64GB version may leave you with as little as 19GB of space to play with.

Yes, all retail smartphones, tablets and PCs give up some of their available space to the OS in question and various pre-installed bits and pieces, but losing anything from a third to two-thirds of the advertised storage is a big deal.

It adds fuel to the debate that devices should be advertised based on their real user-accessible storage space, not a theoretical total that itself is based on flawed mathematics in the first place, which is why the opening line is a trick question.

A quoted 128GB actually isn't even 128GB in reality, as advertised storage sizes are calculated in part using a decimal system rather than fully on binary-based calculations.

So 128GB is more like around 119GB in reality. We're assuming that the 45GB is based on the same system of calculation, however (Microsoft doesn't specify), so the proportions remain the same even if the actual figures aren't. If it's a "real" 45GB, of course, it makes for an even bigger percentage of your total gone.

Never mind – Surface Pro users can at least make use of an extra 7GB of SkyDrive space Microsoft includes as standard. We'll leave you to “do the math” on how much difference that actually makes.

Even if the true figures do work out slightly differently to how it's come across, it remains a bitter pill to swallow for anyone who does decide to fork out what's likely to be close to £1,000 for the Surface Pro (we still don't have UK prices or launch dates yet).

What do you think – should we all just accept that storage is never going to be as advertised, or is it time for the quoted figures to start reflecting reality more accurately? Hell, is there any real chance of that change happening in the real world? Let us know in the Comments below.

Via Softpedia

Read more about: Windows 8Microsoft Surface Pro

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38 comments

krogothnx  Jan. 28, 2013 at 19:06

Madness. Just madness. How can you advertise a product as 64GB and only really give a third of that as usable space?

barrybarryk  Jan. 28, 2013 at 19:13

There's no source at your source... The only source softpedia have linked is a Surface RT storage document which has no mention of the Pro.

If a preinstalled Win 8 install is going to take up anywhere near 40GB it's coming with a full fat Office install preinstalled as a trial and someother giant suites because Win 8 uses 10-13GB HDD Space. Even doubling that as a shadow copy for a recover partition brings you nowhere near 40GB

tjncooke  Jan. 28, 2013 at 19:17

I'm running Windows 8 on a 32GB netbook (30 "real" GB). With Office 2013 preview installed, I have around 6GB (real) free, which is enough for its intended use: A SECONDARY DEVICE. I will have to wait and see what the Surface comes with that doubles the install size, but the whole "OMG, advertised space isn't what we can actually use" statement is overblown. Every computer you buy advertises its total storage space, not its user storage space. This method of advertisement probably needs to be changed, but that's not the point.

If you want the Surface to be your primary computing device, do what any reasonable person would do, and add an external drive via USB. You can't do this with an Apple tablet. There are also plenty of ultrabooks that are sold with 128GB SSDs...why aren't these being blasted for limited space? There seems to be a double standard between tablets and ultrabooks...

mk23  Jan. 28, 2013 at 19:49

wont' all other windows 8 pro tablet/hybrids i.e samsung ativ pro, acer w700 etc.. also have the same sacrifice? if so, then I don't understand why Microsofts' surface pro is being singled out here...

AlfredSoyemi  Jan. 28, 2013 at 20:43

Your article on user left over storage space is so over blown. You also did a hack job on your assumptions of what you don't know by
1) comparing apple to oranges (Win 8 RT and Win 8 or Pro)
2) Then you compounded your assumption problems by stating that while you might not know how much space is used by the manufacturer, it is ok to ratio it from known values. What kind of crap is that? You mean windows 8 installations grow in proportion to storage size? I bet you deliberately forget to mention that assuming the device comes with crapware, they can be un-installed thus reclaiming your space. Also, as mentioned above by barrybarryk, there is no way Win 8 OS and recovery partition could have consumed 40GB.
You and many others like you will do anything and everything to make Win 8 and its devices look bad due to some personal vendetta or what? Try being forth coming for a second with truth and let your readers honestly decide if win8 device is not for them, don't do it by lying.

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 28, 2013 at 20:58

Your article on user left over storage space is so over blown. You also did a hack job on your assumptions of what you don't know by
1) comparing apple to oranges (Win 8 RT and Win 8 or Pro)
2) Then you compounded your assumption problems by stating that while you might not know how much space is used by the manufacturer, it is ok to ratio it from known values. What kind of crap is that? You mean windows 8 installations grow in proportion to storage size? I bet you deliberately forget to mention that assuming the device comes with crapware, they can be un-installed thus reclaiming your space. Also, as mentioned above by barrybarryk, there is no way Win 8 OS and recovery partition could have consumed 40GB.
You and many others like you will do anything and everything to make Win 8 and its devices look bad due to some personal vendetta or what? Try being forth coming for a second with truth and let your readers honestly decide if win8 device is not for them, don't do it by lying.


Now who's in a bad mood?
Microsoft confirmed the data in a statement to Softpedia.

It's also quite clear that the Surface Pro situation merely serves as an example. We have been through this. We chewed over the fact that some netbooks, smartphones and tabs and pads also deliver a lot less than advertised. The ratio on the Surface tabs is a bit worse though.
Anyway, the "leave comment" part makes it quite clear what this article is and isn't.
You are also plain wrong as to the space of the OS and recovery partition. I could post screenshots of Win 8 on an Acer 5745 or a Macbook Pro, but I won't - because you were rather unpleasant right out of the gate.

Pondlife  Jan. 28, 2013 at 21:00

Blimey all out of the woodwork...

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 28, 2013 at 21:08

Blimey all out of the woodwork...

Yeah, well... I felt generous :p

AlfredSoyemi  Jan. 28, 2013 at 22:10

[quote]Your article on user left over storage space is so over blown. You also did a hack job on your assumptions of what you don't know by
1) comparing apple to oranges (Win 8 RT and Win 8 or Pro)
2) Then you compounded your assumption problems by stating that while you might not ....

Now who's in a bad mood?
Microsoft confirmed the data in a statement to Softpedia…..



The url you posted read as follows:
“We’ve already told you that Microsoft was yet to upgrade its Surface storage FAQ, so information on the available space on the upcoming Pro tablet remains pretty vague.

The company, however, told us in a statement that the 128 GB version of the Surface with Windows 8 Pro offers users 83 GB of available space, which means that the operating system and the pre-installed software eat up approximately 45 GB.”


My argument is that the OS plus if there is recovery partition does not take 40GB. The article you sites state OS and the Pre-Installed software which I stated in my early response to your article that they can be un-installed freeing the user of this storage space.

I did not start out to reply mean, I get infuriated when reviewers think they can just bash any product with bias because they hold the pen, that is still not an excuse for me unloading on you that way to which I sincerely apologize.

Pondlife  Jan. 28, 2013 at 22:18

Can't wait to see what this other 20+gb of installed crap is.

barrybarryk  Jan. 28, 2013 at 22:41

Well no the Softpedia article claims MS have confirmed the pro will have 83GB of usable space, the statement isn't on there (or anywhere else for that matter).
If the Pro has a 128GB SSD, Formatted to NTFS it'll give 119GB of space and including everything installed and reserved it's left with 83GB (That's a difference of 36GB for those following along, almost triple the size of a 64bit Windows 8 Install)

If the Pro with the 64GB SSD is loaded with the same image: first formatted to NTFS will give it around 59GB of usable space, then adding on our assumed 36GB for Win 8 leaves it with 23GB of storage.

There is no version of that math which makes the Image 45GB, and there is no version that leaves the 64GB with 19GB and there has been no official word from MS by way of a statement being reported by anyone else. Just Softpedia inferring whatever they like from one number and using rubbish maths to try justify it.

Windows is Massive, the 64GB is going to have a rubbish amount of space for storing content, though that doesn't excuse the Softpedia article from being nonsense. Hard Drives and PCs have always been sold in this way, it should be second nature for people to do the maths on it, I can't remember the last time I worked on someones personal laptop and it didn't have a sizable chunk of the space taken away with a recovery partition by the OEM.

groberts116  Jan. 29, 2013 at 07:25

Your article on user left over storage space is so over blown. You also did a hack job on your assumptions of what you don't know by
1) comparing apple to oranges (Win 8 RT and Win 8 or Pro)
2) Then you compounded your assumption problems by stating that while you might not know how much space is used by the manufacturer, it is ok to ratio it from known values. What kind of crap is that? You mean windows 8 installations grow in proportion to storage size? I bet you deliberately forget to mention that assuming the device comes with crapware, they can be un-installed thus reclaiming your space. Also, as mentioned above by barrybarryk, there is no way Win 8 OS and recovery partition could have consumed 40GB.
You and many others like you will do anything and everything to make Win 8 and its devices look bad due to some personal vendetta or what? Try being forth coming for a second with truth and let your readers honestly decide if win8 device is not for them, don't do it by lying.


Now who's in a bad mood?
Microsoft confirmed the data in a statement to Softpedia.

It's also quite clear that the Surface Pro situation merely serves as an example. We have been through this. We chewed over the fact that some netbooks, smartphones and tabs and pads also deliver a lot less than advertised. The ratio on the Surface tabs is a bit worse though.
Anyway, the "leave comment" part makes it quite clear what this article is and isn't.
You are also plain wrong as to the space of the OS and recovery partition. I could post screenshots of Win 8 on an Acer 5745 or a Macbook Pro, but I won't - because you were rather unpleasant right out of the gate.
I have to disagree with your article. Windows 8 Pro on my desktop only uses 21 gigabytes. I doubt if the Surface Pro would require any more space for Windows 8 Pro.

Stelph  Jan. 29, 2013 at 09:34

Can't wait to see what this other 20+gb of installed crap is.

If its like the W510 I suspect mostly it is a restore partition

Hallow  Jan. 29, 2013 at 09:56

The key word in the headline was 'may'. That tells you all you need to know about the veracity of this anti-MS troll.

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 29, 2013 at 12:20

Hallow,
who are you talking about? By adding "may" Martin makes it instantly clear that it's not gospel, AND it depends on a number of variables. That makes him a troll?
Or did you mean me? Well, let me say this: I hate Microsoft. But that is my personal slant.
I pointed out other devices don't deliver advertised storage, either.
But it is worth noting that the Surface devices (NOT all!) are leading in storage hogging.
If you consider the fact that MS advertise 7.5GB cloud storage, the article gains some extra LOLs, don't you think? Hey, we give you less than half the advertised space in usable form, but in exchange you can haz 7.5GB of our cloud space... Great deal when you work offline in some backwater B&B or on the undergroundwithout signal ;)

@groberts,
the keyword in your reply is "believe"! It's simple: it VARIES!
Wouldn't you agree that there is a difference between buying a "250GB laptop" that actually only gives you 180GB thanks to recovery and bloat AND a tablet that calls itself 64GB but only gives you 30GB? The principle is the same, but in real life there's a difference.

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 29, 2013 at 12:37

[quote]Your article on user left over storage space is so over blown. You also did a hack job on your assumptions of what you don't know by
1) comparing apple to oranges (Win 8 RT and Win 8 or Pro)
2) Then you compounded your assumption problems by stating that while you might not ....

Now who's in a bad mood?
Microsoft confirmed the data in a statement to Softpedia…..



The url you posted read as follows:
“We’ve already told you that Microsoft was yet to upgrade its Surface storage FAQ, so information on the available space on the upcoming Pro tablet remains pretty vague.

The company, however, told us in a statement that the 128 GB version of the Surface with Windows 8 Pro offers users 83 GB of available space, which means that the operating system and the pre-installed software eat up approximately 45 GB.”


My argument is that the OS plus if there is recovery partition does not take 40GB. The article you sites state OS and the Pre-Installed software which I stated in my early response to your article that they can be un-installed freeing the user of this storage space.

I did not start out to reply mean, I get infuriated when reviewers think they can just bash any product with bias because they hold the pen, that is still not an excuse for me unloading on you that way to which I sincerely apologize.


I think we may just be arguing past one another.
YOU have valid points. But there: you say "reviewer" - Martin isn't "reviewing" anything in that article. Zip. Zilch. Even the headline says "may". The last paragraph is all about "whaddaya think, folks"... It is a small article that reports on a small issue (in the larger scheme of things), and offers discussion points. So, disagreeing? Sure. But I got ticked off
by kneejerk accusations of "booh, troll", "booh, anti-MS"... WHAT IS THE POINT?

We won't get better products by wrapping our favourite corps in cotton wool while humming their favourite lullaby. IT IS irrelevant that this case is about MS. It could be about Tesco's
cauliflowers - where half the weight is inedible leaves....
And the advertised cloud space gets a tad smelly, if you consider the trade off, dontcha think?
IT ISN'T about pro- or anti-MS sentiments. It's about advertising, about the consumers.

Pondlife  Jan. 29, 2013 at 12:45

Can't wait to see what this other 20+gb of installed crap is.

If its like the W510 I suspect mostly it is a restore partition


Is the restore partition what they started putting on instead of giving you the disks, so it doesn't alter?
If so I think they need to start providing the restore on a flash drive and giving some space back as it's getting a bit silly.

barrybarryk  Jan. 29, 2013 at 12:47

Lots of people managed with 64GB SSDs as their boot drive for Windows 7. Hell I still use a 128GB SSD and have ample space even though Windows 7 uses more space than 8

barrybarryk  Jan. 29, 2013 at 12:50

You can make your own USB recovery media for Windows 8 if you really want the few GB it takes up but if you want more usable space you'd be better off disabling hibernation and the page file

Pondlife  Jan. 29, 2013 at 13:08

Lots of people managed with 64GB SSDs as their boot drive for Windows 7. Hell I still use a 128GB SSD and have ample space even though Windows 7 uses more space than 8

As a boot device on a system with a larger drive installed inside is a bit different from a system where you can't fit more internally.

That it needs a restore partition isn't exactly encouraging tbh

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 29, 2013 at 13:12

You can make your own USB recovery media for Windows 8 if you really want the few GB it takes up but if you want more usable space you'd be better off disabling hibernation and the page file

Yes... could, should, would... Because the vast majority of Windows consumers even know what a recovery partition is. You can also slipstream Win 7, make it 400MB, kill explorer etc...
Lets maybe stick with the most likely REAL LIFE scenarios.

corgi74  Jan. 29, 2013 at 13:12

It will all be sorted with Windows 9 and Surface 2
Just you wait ;)

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 29, 2013 at 13:13

Oh my. Okay. I'm outta here. God bless MS!

JanSt / MOD  Jan. 29, 2013 at 13:14

It will all be sorted with Windows 9 and Surface 2
Just you wait ;)
Ha. Exactly.

barrybarryk  Jan. 29, 2013 at 13:28

Mine doesn't have anyother drive it's a machine I use for work so no games and I use a NAS for my media because there's TB's of it and copying it to every device I want to access it on would just be stupid.

How is having a recovery partition in any way discouraging? Windows PCs have been sold with them since Vista or did you not notice. If you want a disc burn it, if you want a USB flash drive just copy it on there

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