Why space is not an issue for Microsoft Surface Pro devices

Martin Brinkmann
Jan 30, 2013
Updated • Jan 30, 2013

So you have probably read about the controversy about Microsoft's Surface RT device space-wise, that Microsoft advertised it with 32 GB or 64 GB of space when it in fact offered less free space to users of the device (that's about 16 GB and 45 GB respectively). The very same controversy happens again with Surface Pro devices which apparently reserve a large part of the device's storage capabilities for the operating system and recovery partition. The 64 Gigabyte Surface Pro will have 23 Gigabyte of free space, the 128 Gigabyte version 83 Gigabyte of free storage.

Keep in mind that storage size is calculated in GiB on Windows (that is Gibibyte) while storage size is measured in Gigabyte (GB) by manufacturers. This means basically that Surface Pro 128 GB units report a total size of 119 GB (Windows Explorer uses GB even though it means GiB) and 64 GB units one of 59 GB.

This is still a lot by all means, especially when you look at the 64 Gigabyte version as almost 2/3 of the device's storage are used by the operating system and installed software.

It needs to be noted that hardware manufacturers always list the maximum storage capacities of their devices and not the free capacity, and while that is less for Android or iOS powered devices, it is still worth mentioning.

23 Gigabyte is not a lot of free space considering that you can install desktop programs on the Surface Pro and likely will do so. Adding Microsoft Office and a couple of other large applications plus some music could very well fill the device up to the brim already. Heck, a single modern PC game could fill up that storage space alone.

Why is it not an issue then? Because the device offers enough ports and connectors to extend the storage. The Surface Pro has a microSDXC slot which you can add Flash memory cards to. Prices start at about $1 per Gigabyte, a 64 Gigabyte microSDXC card retails for about $64, and 128 Gigabyte cards have dropped in price considerable and are now also available for around $130.

While this means another expense, it also means that Surface Pro users can increase the available storage of the tablet PC easily. And lets not forget the USB port that the devices have as well. You can connect external hard drives to that port to add Terabytes of space to the device. While this is not the most practical thing to do if you are using the Surface on the go, it is still an option that is available to you. Another option that Surface Pro users have is move some files, documents for instance, to cloud storage like SkyDrive.

Adventurous users may also copy and then delete the recovery partition of the Surface, or create a full system backup and then delete it, to free up space on the device. (via Neowin)


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  1. Some Dude said on March 19, 2023 at 11:42 am

    Are these articles AI generated?

    Now the duplicates are more obvious.

    1. boris said on March 19, 2023 at 11:48 pm

      This is below AI generated crap. It is copy of Microsoft Help website article without any relevant supporting text. Anyway you can find this information on many pages.

  2. Paul(us) said on March 20, 2023 at 1:32 am

    Yes, but why post the exact same article under a different title twice on the same day (19 march 2023), by two different writers?
    1.) Excel Keyboard Shortcuts by Trevor Monteiro.
    2.) 70+ Excel Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows by Priyanka Monteiro

    Why oh why?

    1. Clairvaux said on September 6, 2023 at 11:30 am

      Yeah. Tell me more about “Priyanka Monteiro”. I’m dying to know. Indian-Portuguese bot ?

  3. John G. said on August 18, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    Probably they will announce that the taskbar will be placed at top, right or left, at your will.

    Special event by they is a special crap for us.

  4. yanta said on August 18, 2023 at 11:59 pm

    If it’s Microsoft, don’t buy it.
    Better brands at better prices elsewhere.

  5. John G. said on August 20, 2023 at 4:22 am

    All new articles have zero count comments. :S

  6. Anonymous said on September 5, 2023 at 7:48 am

    WTF? So, If I add one photo to 5 albums, will it count 5x on my storage?
    It does not make any sense… on google photos, we can add photo to multiple albums, and it does not generate any additional space usage

    I have O365 until end of this year, mostly for onedrive and probably will jump into google one

  7. St Albans Digital Printing Inc said on September 5, 2023 at 11:53 am

    Photo storage must be kept free because customers chose gadgets just for photos and photos only.

  8. Anonymous said on September 5, 2023 at 12:47 pm

    What a nonsense. Does it mean that albums are de facto folders with copies of our pictures?

    1. GG said on September 6, 2023 at 8:24 am

      Sounds exactly like the poor coding Microsoft is known for in non-critical areas i.e. non Windows Core/Office Core.

      I imagine a manager gave an employee the task to create the album feature with hardly any time so they just copied the folder feature with some cosmetic changes.

      And now that they discovered what poor management results in do they go back and do the album feature properly?

      Nope, just charge the customer twice.

      Sounds like a go-getter that needs to be promoted for increasing sales and managing underlings “efficiently”, said the next layer of middle management.

  9. d3x said on September 5, 2023 at 7:33 pm

    When will those comments get fixed? Was every editor here replaced by AI and no one even works on this site?

  10. Scroogled said on September 5, 2023 at 10:47 pm

    Instead of a software company, Microsoft is now a fraud company.

  11. ard said on September 7, 2023 at 4:59 pm

    For me this is proof that Microsoft has a back-door option into all accounts in their cloud.
    quote “…… as the MSA key allowed the hacker group access to virtually any cloud account at Microsoft…..”

    so this MSA key which is available to MS officers can give access to all accounts in MS cloud.This is the backdoor that MS has into the cloud accounts. Lucky I never got any relevant files of mine in their (MS) cloud.

  12. Andy Prough said on September 7, 2023 at 6:52 pm

    >”Now You: what is your theory?”

    That someone handed an employee a briefcase full of cash and the employee allowed them access to all their accounts and systems.

    Anything that requires 5-10 different coincidences to happen is highly unlikely. Occam’s razor.

  13. TelV said on September 8, 2023 at 12:04 pm

    Good reason to never login to your precious machine with a Microsoft a/c a.k.a. as the cloud.

  14. Anonymous said on September 18, 2023 at 1:23 pm

    The GAFAM are always very careless about our software automatically sending to them telemetry and crash dumps in our backs. It’s a reminder not to send them anything when it’s possible to opt out, and not to opt in, considering what they may contain. And there is irony in this carelessness biting them back, even if in that case they show that they are much more cautious when it’s their own data that is at stake.

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