Yesterday, there have been numerous reports discussing the hard drive size of the Microsoft Surface Pro. I’ll be getting mine when they come out and will be getting the 128 GB size. Most of the world recognizes that 1 GB is 1024 MB and that 1 MB is 1024 KB and so on and so forth. But, in the hard drive manufacturer world, 1 KB is 1000 bytes. Strange right? Think about your last PC. Remember that 1 TB drive you though you had? Funny thing, it was actually just over 900 GB of useable space. There’s a great post that already calculated the math found at http://jasong.us/VmEBMW.
So, back to the Microsoft Surface Pro. We’ll cover the 128 GB machine. Before Microsoft even touched the drive, subtract the 9 GB for the manufacturer “rounding.” According to the estimates by Microsoft, we should be subtracting 12 GB. This will take us to 116 GB. My 240 GB SSD is similar:
The Windows 8 RT operating system plus pre-installed apps and recovery partition are estimated to take up 13 GB on the RT model. Windows 8 Pro on my laptop is currently occupying 21 GB:
Keep in mind that the libraries necessary to run traditional Windows applications are not included in the RT model. So, once I subtract that from the space mentioned earlier, I’m down to 96 GB. The reported useable space is 83 GB meaning that there is still 13 GB unaccounted for. After we consider the recovery partition size (which can be deleted) at an estimated 8-10 GB, the remaining 3-5 GB are for the preinstalled apps. Rumor has it that 3.5 GB of this amount includes a trial version of Office 2013.
As always, gurus always try to compare this to Apple and to the iPad. In this case (Surface Pro), that’s difficult. Think of an iPad but running Mac OS X instead of iOS. There are plenty of people out there that peg OS X to be between 16 GB – 20 GB on a fresh install.
Let’s reverse the storage concerns. We’ll start with the 83 GB. Start by removing the recovery partition. We don’t need it. If we really wanted to, we could create a recovery USB drive using that old thumb drive we have laying around. Remember, it’s rare to find a recovery partition on other, non-Microsoft tablets. This should get us back to the 91-93 GB range. Then, let’s remove the unnecessary software and Windows features (if there are any). Let’s also remove any trial software. Instead, spend the $6 a month on a personal Office 365 account. You can download the full-fledged software, get 20GB in extra SkyDrive storage, and use the web version of the apps. We should approach 95 GB and may be closer to the 100 GB mark. At this point, we are stuck. It’s a full OS will backwards compatibility of most of our applications. I know that first hand as I have a Visual Basic 6 application that still runs fairly flawlessly on Windows 8.
We can still grow our storage space. Remember that the Surface Pro has a full-size USB 3.0 port. It also has a microSDXC card slot that supports up to a 64 GB card. The full USB 3.0 can support any size USB drive. Currently, you can purchase a 32 GB nano USB drive. Full size drives can be purchased well over 1 TB.