When I check the storage space that Windows uses on the two computer systems I run it on, I notice that it occupies 43.4 Gigabyte on a Windows 7 64-bit Pro system and 15 Gigabyte on a secondary system using Windows 10. That's only the Windows folders though and does not include recovery partitions, data in the user or programs folder.
You can use a freeware like TreeSize Free to display the size of the Windows folder on your system.
The Windows 7 PC is the older PC and the main system that I use which explains the storage size discrepancy at least partially.
Microsoft plans to improve the overall storage requirement of its upcoming operating system Windows 10 for systems running it.
The company revealed two enhancements coming to Windows 10 in this regard in a blog post on the official Blogging Windows blog.
The first improvement comes only to some systems. Windows takes into account several factors, such as the amount of memory and the cpu to determine whether data can be compressed to free up storage space without affecting the system's performance in a negative way.
If that is the case, Windows 10 will be compressed automatically to free up storage space. According to Microsoft, doing this saves 1.5 Gigabyte of storage on 32-bit systems and 2.6 Gigabyte of storage on 64-bit systems.
Applications that users install on the system are compressed as well if the system passes Microsoft's requirements in this regard.
Probably more interesting than that is the removal of the separate recovery partition. This recovery partition has a size between 4 and 12 Gigabyte usually according to Microsoft depending on make and model.
This will be applied to upgrade systems as well as new machines that ship when the operating system is available later this year.
Microsoft notes that "without a separate recover image, the Refresh and Reset functionalities will instead rebuild the operating system in place using runtime system files".
The core benefit of this approach is the gain in storage space but there is another benefit: updates don't need to be applied again after the operation.
Windows 10 ships with options to create separate recovery images to recover a system from severe corruption. It appears that Microsoft's runtime solution may not be able to recover severe damages to the system.
Users of the operating system can create recovery media which acts as a last resort if reset or refresh operations don't complete successfully.
It is unclear at this point in time if Microsoft will make the creation of recovery media mandatory but it is unlikely that this is going to happen.
The two enhancements save several Gigabyte when they are both applied to a system. While that may not make a huge difference on systems with plenty of space, it will make a difference on low-storage space systems.
It remains to be seen how this works out in the end. Information about extra battery drain due to compression and the percentage of refresh and reset failures would be interesting in this regard.
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