Surface Pro has 128GB, but you can only use 83GB of it


Surface Pro

A handful of you are already planning on picking up the Surface Pro when it comes out February 9 (use that reservation card). Before you make the decision on whether to get the 64GB or 128GB version you should know about some storage issues. Like the original Surface RT, useable storage on the Surface Pro will be less than advertised. If you pick up the 128GB model you’re looking at 83GB left and if you pick up the 64GB version you’ll be stuck with 23Gb. Let that sink in.

We first brought the issue up in a From the Forums column, well technically you brought it up first, but it’s worth highlighting again since its making rounds around the blogosphere. Microsoft has released the following statement to a variety of outlets:

“The 128 GB version of Surface Pro has 83 GB of free storage out of the box. The 64GB version of Surface Pro has 23GB of free storage out of the box. Of course, Surface Pro has a USB 3.0 port for connectivity with almost limitless storage options, including external hard drives and USB flash drives. Surface also comes pre-loaded with SkyDrive, allowing you to store up to 7GB of content in the cloud for free. The device also includes a microSDXC card slot that lets you store up to 64GB of additional content to your device. Customers can also free up additional storage space by creating a backup bootable USB and deleting the recovery partition.”

While it’s definitely an advantage that you can add more storage with a microSD card, it’s still rather unfortunate so much space is used up by the OS, built-in apps, and the recovery partition. If you’re reading a tech site like ours, odds are you can easily remove the recovery partition by creating a backup bootable USB, but the average user out there won’t even know what’s wrong.

Knowing what you now know, which version of the Surface Pro are you going to go with? Can and should Microsoft communicate the situation and potential solutions to customers in a clear manner? Are they hoping to push SkyDrive? Sound off below or in this Windows Phone Central Forums discussion.

Source: Engadget



Reader comments

Surface Pro has 128GB, but you can only use 83GB of it



I remember the days when I didn't have to worry about disk space when buying a mobile PC; strange the standards we will accept with newer and newer tech. Kind of like that bag of chips that keeps getting more expensive as the bag itself starts to shrink.

Tempest in a teapot.  Since both the Surface RT and Surface Pro tablets support SD memory, HD space will be a non issue for 99% of users.  Oh, throw in another 7GB of Skydrive storage also.  
FWIW, when you buy a 64GB Macbook Air, you have 48GB of usable storage with no option to add more onboard storage.

It's all about audience. Who is the pro really for? Consumer or corporate? I can see the problem on the consumer side because people are now accustomed to buying laptops with 500GB+ drives. Not saying they ever use it, not nearly so. But it's perception. On the corporate side, for most even 64GB would be plenty. Why? Because in any company with a properly designed network the only thing on your local HD are your programs. Your data should be on a secure server. I have a 150GB drive on my 5 year old desktop at work and it has 100GB of free space, as an example. For the folks comparing the Pro to an iPad and such, given that all you can do on an iPad is read documents and type in little bits of data, massive amounts of storage aren't required. If you plan on using the Pro in a similar consumption manner then 64GB, removing the recovery block, should be plenty.

If you think about it, my idea is the best. MS charges you $30.- for a microSD card that contains a tool that moves the revocery record to the SD card, as well as any trial software from MS. Very easy to implement and everyone will be happy. Insert microSD, run tool... voila you gain lots of space. Nothing complicated about this and people will be happy.

I don't care that's the OS requires that space. The Surface will be for mobility work using RDP more than anything else. Take my money already and give me my Surface Pro 128g. Besides, I'm for sure going to add a 64g MicroSD on the side there. More than enough memory for what I need it to do.

I would just do backup and remove recovery partition. Or maybe wait few more months for price to drop down

I'm going with the 128Gig Surface Pro. The second I get it, I'm formatting it and reinstalling the way I want it. Problem solved. Sorry, but the OS space argument is outdated and doesn't work anymore. All the talk about the "end level consumer" and not knowing how or what to do is irrelevant as those "individuals" most likely own iPads and won't even consider the Surface Pro because it doesn't have a half eaten piece of fruit on the back.
The Surface Pro IMO is the perfect device, because as long as you are willing to use SD and USB storage...You have unlimited storage...And aren't barred like you are other devices, on top of the fact that it’s a fantastic OS

That's bad news, it was already sad/ridiculous with how much space the RT version takes but this Surface Pro model cannot even compete with notebooks (Macbook Air sacrifices 8GB for the full OSX and with 128GB in overall you 'lose' 25GB for everything i.e. iLife etc.). Microsoft really needs to trim the system and make everything optional if they don't want to kill their product on arrival, I think that 3GB for a mobile OS is enough those days and Windows RT system should be around 5-7GB + Office etc. while W8 Pro could take more (9-12GB ?). That's the maximum and it has to suffice if they want to sell 128GB at those prices, otherwise they can forget about 32GB and lower the price for 64GB ASAP. I assume that soon they'll fix the minor missteps and some shortcomings will be addressed with better hardware parts (weight, battery life, app launching speed, display resolution) so this would make sense in 2013:
Surface RT 2nd gen 64GB for $499 & 128GB for $599 + Touchcover $49
Surface Pro 2nd gen 64GB for $699 & 128GB for $799 + Touchcover $49 (Typecover $79)
Office available in the AppStore or additionally bundled with the Pro version (that would be a better choice) so with the keyboard, Digital Ink Pen and apps the whole package would cost $900-960. Only then they stand a chance in the Macbook/iPad fight.

The Surface Pro isn't even in the same league as the iPad. It’s a full function PC. The iPad is as much a fashion accessory as it is novelty item; dare I say the same at the Macbook Air. It’s hardly a fight because the people who want an iPad/Macbook are already made up as to why they think they NEED one (or both) of the options.
I still stand my ground on the idea that Apple products are designed for those who refuse to learn, and want to be told what to do. The whole product base came from a culture of people who couldn't tell the difference between the power button and a static portion of the computer case.

There's some truth in those words alright. But the point is that Surface Pro has the ability to be used as a (heavy) tablet so it will be compared with other tablets, furthermore Microsoft is positioning Surface as a competitor to Macbook Air (by asking premium price for their device) unfortunately the Surface Pro is not a better notebook in this fight, while at the same time the Surface RT is supposed to match the iPad but right now it's not doing the best job.
Microsoft has a chance (especially with the RT model) but they need to change their approach, they believe that if Apple could sell a smartphone without basic functionality in the past (like turning on the phone out of the box, mms, cam recording, mp3 ringtones etc.) then they can get away with some annoying unfinished elements with Windows. This can be a huge and fatal mistake but I hope they'll see the error and sacrifice a bit of their whooping profits.

128GB iPad, w/OneNote and Word, and 4G cellular... I wanted a Pro, but 1) had to wait so long. 2) no integrated 4G. 3) would have to buy keyboard separately. 4) do not like the felt backing -- good for on a desk but not carrying -- on the Type Cover. 5) for the price I could get a ThinkPad convertible tablet or even a Mac Air. 6) the 55GB of lost volume

Relative to other W8 devices I won't be buying this. Microsoft should have used a flash ROM for the OS and freed the RAM. Its too expensive for this compromise.