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

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

214 Comments
  • How much of that is the recovery partition, which can be offloaded to external media?
  • 8GB is the size of the recovery partition.
  • it also comes with a trial version of office which you can carve off of there for another 2Gb+ I'm guessing.
  • 3.5gb to be more precise...
  • lolz that's ridiculous.  Yep that would be the first thing to go, even before the recovery partition.
  • I am planning to pick up the 64 GB Version when it finally becomes available in my region. This is the math as I see it.
     
    Free Space out of the box - 23 GB.
    Remove Recovery - 8 GB.
    Remove Office - 3 GB.
    Total Free Space for my use - 31 GB.
    I will be adding a SD card of 32 GB into the mix and I plan to put all my music on to that. So, 30 GB on the Surface Pro is mine to keep for future app installations and such. Did I get it right?
  • actually it would be
    23 + 8 + 3 = 34
    kind of curious what else is on there though, my Win8 folder doesn't take up 30GB...
  • My understaning is 16Gb recovery partition.  (The actual OS is around 12Gb). 
     
    Exacty the same concept as a desktop, laptop, ultra book etc. This is no different.
     
    The recovery partition can be 'reclaimed' if need be (would just need to put it on a USB and use that if the recovery need arises).
     
    A 64Gb SD can also be added bringing the Surface Pro total upto 192Gb if need be (for around 50 bucks).
     
    Remember, this is an 'Enterprise' class device, hence the recovery partition etc..
     
  • Yeah, but it's also supposed to be a consumer hybrid, so they SHOULD have included the recovery on a 16GB flash drive or something.
  • @Keith Wallace
    Why SHOULD they give a consimer a USB drive some will then promptly lose? BTW, which other company gives you a recovery partition on USB drive?  You have the option - end of story. 
  • That is crazy!  No reason they can't make the OS a lot smaller than that.  Does it come with some free software that we don't know about??
  • when you have a real desktop OS, and not a little mobile toy OS, it is going to be bigger.
  • Way to talk to me like I am an idiot or don't realize that it comes with Windows 8.  Point being, Windows 8 isn't that big on my computers at home.
     
  • Yes it is
  • No it's not. The space include the recovery partition, hibernation file, and preloaded applications. Windows 8 does not take up 36gb on my PC.
  • I'll chime in too. Yes it is, and I know this for a fact because I have upgraded 5 computers to Windows 8 Pro w/Media Center on 60GB SSDs and it is what it is.
    There is 100% no reason people should be making a fuss over this!
    Nobody talks about this with an off the shelf PC! Why create drama where there is none. :/
  • Um, there's plenty of reason to fuss. Less than half of advertised storage is what you get for 64gb version which is a joke. And you lose nearly a 1/3 for the 128 GB version. I wouldn't shell out what they're asking for for these things when you lose that much space off the bat.
  • It's SSD and that's the reality of it when you load a full computer OS. My Dell Latitude came with a 64GB SSD and windows XP only had 28GB free Windows 7 was 19GB free and Windows 8 is 13GB. I don't see why everyone is crying over this. If we where talking laptops you all would be ok with it. This is what you get for getting fast low power consumption and no moving parts.
  • Exactly. It's a trade-off. Plain 'n simple.
  • Why everyone is making such a big fuss is becuase the micrsoft surface is the first real Tablet/hyrbrid computer. For people looking at the surface as a PC, people would not see a problem with this issue. Where as tablet users see this as an unacceptable problem.
  • The first?! "Hybrids" (as you call them) existed for years... There is nothing new here. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great device, but I don't get why people think this is a revolution.
  • He didn't say the first hybrid. He said the first REAL hybrid. As in something that ships out of the box with enough juice to power photoshop on a 2560x1600 monitor while at the same time being a portable tablet with a high end stylus and touch-optimized UI. There is a lot to get excited about in this generation. Unfortunately for me, I'm not quite ready to grab a v1 when new low-wattage processors are queued up for release in the near future. I'll wait for a haswell-based surface. An extra couple hours of battery life and around 2x the graphics performance is what I expect for a v2 in the later half of the year.
  • I talk to you as you are.
  • Let's compare it to what it is:
    http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=583324
  • that's right.  And I'm guessing if you uninstall all of the helpful things Microsoft has provided to you, you can get close to that 48gb number the MBA is sporting.
  • But it's a similar issue with Windows RT on Surface
  • A little "toy" OS like Windows RT?
    lol
    I still dont know why they even bother with this thing , it has half the battery life , its heavier, overpriced and has less than advertised storage. I know most devices also do that but still.
  • Er, because it has an Ivy Bridge processor and full Windows 8 Pro? ...
  • windows RT is full Windows 8 on ARM you fool.
  • Uh.. No it's not. You can't run legacy programs on RT, only metro apps.. If you're going to insult somebody at least make sure your facts are straight first, lol.
  • It can't run legacy programs because it is on ARM. You would have to recompile the programs to work on ARM. It's still basically full windows 8. However, MS did limit which programs will run on the desktop. So, you won't be getting many ARM desktop apps in the future.
  • I have the RT. Wish they would hurry and patch/update Windows to make an easy option to include/combine your SD card with your library. This would solve a ton of problems.
  • http://m.winsupersite.com/article/windows8/surface-tip-microsd-content-l...
  • Have you tried this method before?  I have and it does't work properly. 
     
    New files are not recognized by the APP.  So if i add a new music album, it will not recognize.  If the tablet goes to idle, the music stops.  While this is a solution, it is not a good one. 
     
    There are many other solutions, but very complicated for the normal person.  I think it was pretty dumb of MS to expect their users to have to configure their surface devices to get it working smoothly.  It needs to work out of the box. 
  • The one that I used used a method with the cmd prompt. It was pretty easy to do and it works perfectly fine. I forgot the link which is why I haven't added it. Ima look for that link though
  • I believe it does the same thing whether you use the UI or the cmd prompt.
  • It does in fact work for me, but you are 100% correct, it is a pain in the ass..
  • you know, I could try all the fucking methods (and I have) but the bottom line is Windows Libraries is a fatally flawed implementation that needs to be patched or done away with completely and they need to stop treating flash storage as a second class citizen.  If nothing else, allow us to "lock" the storage to the disc space like you could on the WP7 Focus.  I'll then go buy the biggest microSD card I can find and be done with it.
     
    Windows Libraries is like the retarded brother of DFS.  Just frickin give us DFS.
  • We don't want the same implementation as the focus. In this case, the expandable storage is significantly slower than the built in. The built-in SSD is around 10x faster at reads/writes than you can get in the new super tiny micro cards. They're not as fast as the cards most people are used to using with their cameras and such. I honestly don't know why MS decided for the super tiny ones.. it seems like a needless increase in cost and loss of performance/available storage, with very very little in the way of physical space savings.
  • It will work--BUT your card must be formatted with NTFS *and* you must not remove and reinsert the card while the device is turned on.  Doing so will "break" the work-around and you'll have to redo using a different mount point.
     
    The reason for this is that the functionality of Windows Libraries depends on Winodws Search, and Search will not index removeable drives or any disks formatted with any version of FAT.
     
    This has not been a limitation in the past, but the particular storage constraints of tablet devices coupled with Microsoft's design of the native Metro media apps (to browse content in Libraries only) has suddenly caused this to be an issue. 
     
    Microsoft should have forseen this and implemented a more relaxed indexing scheme for Windows 8/RT in my opinion.  But until they do, we'll have to make do with work-arounds.
  • yes i have, working like a charm.
    i could pull up my exel, word. Play music, but haven't try video yet.  i could pull up photos for viewing without any issues.
  • http://www.groovypost.com/howto/make-microsd-card-work-surface-windows-r...
    Try this. I did it on mine and it worked fine
  • what about when you add new content like new music, doesn it update properly?
  • http://www.teamradicus.com/post/Surface-and-SD-Card.aspx
    Use this one. This one worked for me with no issues. Did it on about 5 machines and anytime I added new music or videos they show up right
  • I used that one and it made a mess out of my library.
  • Never used libraries. Just put SkyDrive as my main folder and point all saves there, Zune looks for music and pics, no problems. I despise libraries.
  • Libraries and pink bunnies...i despise those sons-of-a-britches...
  • Damn it I feel stupid and pissed at the same time. I had no idea that all the music I downloaded yesterday was not going to my SD. Why the hell would anyone design an SD slot and not create an option to link this to the library. This shouldn't be something I have to patch. Sonovabitch. I mean, even my 810 can do it.
  • It's amazing JUST how many sites and places pounced on this story. I'm not going to complain about this site covering it but it bugs me like that's all that it will be considered for if no one takes the time to even read the whole article wherever they read it...not the be all end all to the tablet as far as I'm concerned. I have not taken exception to the available storage on the 32GB RT version, it stands to reason what with not ONLY the OS but multitude of included apps and programs, but not necessarily bloat. That's for the OEMs to do :/
  • Did you ready any of those articles, including this one? The missing ~41GB will be because of the OS, built in apps, and recovery partition. The first two I can sympathize, but you're asking tech illiterate people to handle that on their own? 
  • The next question is should the tech 'illiterate' be buying a Win 8 PRO device unless they know that's what they need?  Is that who MS is marketing this version of Surface towards?
  • Have you ever been to a coffee shop or class room? So many MacBook Pro's that never get used to their "pro"tential (see what I did there?). There are people out there with the money to buy a device that does more than they'll ever need, but they'll still get pissed when they run out of memory.
  • Why shouldn't the tech-illiterate not buy a Surface Pro, especially the ones who will be using it for business? Case in point, telecommuting. I don't know of any enterprise-class VPN vendors supporting Windows RT, but they all support Windows 8.
  • So you would rather "would be customers" to be entirely uniformed of those stats? It would easily convince me to get the 128gb model knowing this info. If I weren't a tech savvy consumer I would be upset out of the box not knowing what's in store, or how to fix it, even if just a little bit of space can be freed up.
  • ^^^^^^This comment needs to be read by everyone! ^^^^^^^^^^
  • Because of you Sammie, I read it. :)
  • Most non techies will likely get an RT version, not a PRO version.  If they want/need a PRO version then presumably they understand why they need it and then probably get why it eats up more space as well...
  • Nooooope. My dad thinks computers are witchcraft and he is buying one (read: Surface Pro) for himself and my mom.
  • That was a hilarious comment.
  • Im still buying one. But I will probably get the 128 version now
  • and this really makes evident how bloated all the backwards compatibility stuff has become in Windows over the years. Windows has become a massive mess of support for years and years and years of things, needing many many different copies of components and a mess of SxS to keep everything running. THIS above everything else is why Microsoft wants to cut ties, cut backwards compatibility out completely, and only look at moving forward with WinRT
  • Go  ahead and cut stuff in WinRT but never in x86 windows. I like my backwards compatibility. In another year this won't be an issue anyways, with flash dropping in price even more and 128GB being the standard.
  • As a core engineer on Windows on and off for more than ten years, backwards compatibility has little to do with the size of Windows.  Most of the so-called 'bloat' is related to PCHealth, the ability of the OS to recover from virtually any damage via a series of hidden backups.    BC is handled by a few small libraries and wouldn't even take up more than a few hundred megabytes at best, if that.
  • Very interesting. Thank you for this post.
  • Sometime I wonder that reeaalllllllyyyyy goes on with MS!!! Anyway Generation 1????
     
  • I am getting the 128GB one, but regardless the storage is not a huge issue, I am more concerned with only 4gb of ram instead of the now standard 8gb.
    SDXC adds 64gb (a lot more in the future as the theoretical limit of SDXC cards is 2TB) so all music, videos and docs can go there, no need for external HDD.
    Also since its a normal PC I am sure you can just delete the recovery partition if you feel like you don't need it.
    And finally you can get rid of all the apps that you don't need, if you intend to use the Surface Pro with many desktop apps like outlook you can pretty much delete all the mobile apps if you dont use them.
    The bottom line is the storage should not be a huge issue unless you want to install some huge desktop software or games on it.
     
  • My desktop runs fine on 4GB RAM. I doubt you'll find RAM will be the limitation of this device.
  • I can't take these articles anymore, no offense but I have seen them everywhere online.  Windows has been around for around 20+ years now.  We know it's bloated and since the CD/DVD drive is near dead we have recovery partitions since 2006.  If your buying this "Pro" device go and format it and remove the recovery partition and be choosy with what you install. 128GB SSD drives in Ultra Books have been around for a while now too.
    Also, realize you are walking around and touching a decent laptop powered tablet that weighs two pound.  Once that thought crosses your head then maybe you will see what your holding in your hands.
  • I know the point will be lost on you, but I'll try anyways. People without a degree in computer science will buy this "Pro" device. Those people do not read sites like this and won't understand why they're running out of space when 128GB was advertised on the box. 
  • I agree, Microsoft should make it more clear to the layman that the actual storage is not 128GB, but I am guessing that is what they are trying to do with this press release. With so many sites covering it its easyer to get the info out to everyone.
     
  • I feel sorry for those people then.  To buy something that is near $1,000 without understanding anything about it.  No research or reading reviews. I can't understand that at all.
  • Agreed. I've been reading and research a number of competing models like the Dell XPS 12 and the Lenovo Thinkpad Helix (which I admit I would buy over the Surface Pro, if it were more affordable)... even as a tech professional, it's still advisable to know what you're buying.
  • People do it all the time. They will also be the same people on here ranting in a month because of storage issues. Nobody researches anything. They see latest greatest in advertisements and have to have it. You watch, there will be thread after thread of people complaining about lack of storage after they buy the 64g.
  • ^This.  In my opinion, whether you are tech savvy or not, it is an unnecessary step for one to have to take to free up space by saving the info to a USB stick and then deleting it from the drive.
     
    With that said, I hope that on the boot up, Microsoft has step by step instructions for users so that they can easily handle this process.
  • How is this any different from so called average joe buying an 512GB SSD and only getting to use 470GB of it before any OS is even put on it?
    Your logic doesn't make sense.
  • ^this
  • Those same people have no idea what 128GB is
  • Sam, you pointed out in your article that most people reading this site already know about the space limitations and the work around. I'm personally tired of seeing articles like this going around. Its almost like all these sites are trying to put the product down and convince people not to get it.
  • I was going to buy one right away but now I'm going to wait for one to become available on Craigslist at a cheaper price. Once I do, recovery partition is out, and useless apps are getting uninstalled right away. Office 2013 for $10 (home use program) will eat up a good chunk. Craigslist has RT version at very attractive prices.
  • I will be getting the 64GB SP. Is the storage issue any different from an Ultrabook with SSD?
  • This is not the controversy people are making it out to be. Surface is not a mobile tablet device. It is nothing less than any other ultrabook or laptop or even a desktop for that matter... it runs full blown Windows just the same as any of those systems. Nobody makes a stink about their laptops with 128GB SSD's using 20GB of that storage for Windows. Surface is no different, and it's high time for people to shut up and move on over this non-issue.
     
    This is a computer. Not a gadget. Enough said.
     
    Oh, and I'm getting the 128GB model along with a 64GB microSDXC card along with 125GB SkyDrive.
  • It's not a controversy. The article was to inform folks like you what you'll be missing out so you can make an informed purchase. 

    I just feel for the average consumer who walks into a store not knowing much about a device and drops north of $1000 on a device because a salesman worked his/her magic. How do you think Apple got so popular? :P
  • Oh I don't mean this article is a controversy, I mean the fuss that the tech industry, in general, is making of the matter. It's all very much ado about nothing. It should have been an issue for the past 20 years, really.
     
    I'm not arguing that Windows isn't "bloated", but I consider it to be mature and functional. It's not intended to be an anorexic supermodel, lol.
  • This is so bad by MS, maybe that is why that steven whoever got "fired"  JK...anyway, the 83 out of 128gb is not as bad as the 23gb out of 64gb.  No, the microsd is not a great solution, you can put your media files in there, but it wont recognize in the libraries unless you configure it that way which is very confusing in itself.  I've tried it and it has been a nightmare to get it to work properly and still haven't been able to.  What this means is the apps wont recognize your files so you can make playlist see album art, info, etc unless you go to the file explorer.  Pretty weak. 
    And to expect this from the average consumer to buy a thumb drive to put the recovery partition, come on now, that is asking a lot especially when people would like to buy a tech product and use it right away out of the box without having to configure all this stuff. 
    This is a joke to be honest, you have a semi laptop with laptop capabilities, goodluck installing anything on a 23gb notebook.  Space is going to get eaten up quick especially programs software and apps. 
  • To make this less of an issue for some Microsoft should have just put the recovery partition on a USB drive that would come with the Surface. 16GB drives cost pennies now and it would save the computer illiterate some frustration.
    I am surprised no OEMs are doing this, especcially on systems that use smaller SSDs.
     
  • Then the idiots would just complain about Microsoft not putting the recovery partition on the surface. You see, MS can't win, there is a contingent out there that hates everything Ms does for no other reason than they are Microsoft.
  • Its all good
  • Even worse the headline should have been 64gb surface only has 23gb available for use. Just outrageous.
  • 256 SSD is the way to go with Windows 8.. that will leave you with over 200gb which is sufficient.
    A North Cape haswell based machine is going to unlock the full potential of the OS... the Surface Pro gen 1 is still too much of a compromise.
  • They should have made it 169gb then problem would be solved huh? Lol
  • You just wanted to write 69 in a comment. I see what you're doing. 
  • Naw just wanted to say something dumb. Most of the post are. ;)
  • It is really as bad as people are making it out to be. It is a tablet! .. Not a desktop! Yeah it has great specs to compare to an ultra book, but it is not. If you want a bigger HD buy a touch screen ultrabook and you will save money.
  • What? I'd argue (and win) it's more like an ultrabook than a tablet...
  • It is a tablet! .. That can handle tasks as an ultra book. It should never be compared. When you search for it .. It will never be found under ultra book. Becuz its not one
  • The surface pro can do everything an ultrabook can do, so if I were comparing specs I'd compare to an ultrabook. The rt can't do everything an ultrabook can do, so I'd compare it to a tablet. Battery life, processor, and legacy apps (largest app selection on the planet) on the pro al compare to ultrabooks, while the rt compare to a tablets.
  • 41GB for an OS, recovery partion, pre-installed apps? WTF????
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H91rPIq2mN4
     
  • Disable swap space and hibernation and you will get many GBs back. My 32GB W8 Pro tablet has 15GB free space after OS and tons of apps. I don't see why you can't do the same with Surface Pro.
  • OK, here's a quick point of perspective for everyone. I'm a system administrator, so I literally LIVE on my computer. I'm a HEAVY user, far above what most people do. I have a Dell Vostro with 256GB SSD today. Here's what my current storage usage looks like: 256GB Drive, single partition, formatted as NTFS (so 238GB usable storage) 128GB of free space, 109GB of storage "in use" that consists of the following... Windows 8 Professional Outlook 2010 installed (I hate 2013) Office 2013 installed System Drivers installed 45 desktop applications (mostly sys admin tools, all several hundred MB, and a few 1GB apps) 32 metro apps installed (defaults, some games, and some other stuff) 60GB of Personal Data (music, videos, pictures, documents... 30GB of which is DVD ISO image files)  
    So looks to me like 128GB would be perfectly sufficient for my needs with a bit of adjustments with my personal data. Hmm, oh, here's an idea... move the ISO's to a 64GB SD card. BAM! Problem solved!
  • No one wants to do all that computating. I don't think the average job will be keeping could of how much storage they are wasting. But I do think that even the most computer illiterate person can work an external HD. Giving that they don't have to format it.
  • Let's not forget the Surface Pro has a USB 3.0 port. How about hanging a USB 3.0  SATA dock on the end with a 3 TB HDD? That's where I'm headed when I get my 128 GB Surface Pro. I already have too many pics from my Nikon D300 to fit on my laptop's 750 GB internal HDD. Plus, my 60+ GB music library. I don't need my photo and music library when out at a meeting at one of my client offices. As an independent computer consultant, I'm a network admin for multiple entities (corporate and government). I need to manage Acive Directory, Exchange Server, Server 2003, 2008, and 2012. VPN and Remote Desktop allows me to do this anywhere I have an Internet/network connection. I also manage some Linux servers via !M (NoMachines, NX Client for Windows, and webmin).
     
    GoodThings2Life - You've mentioned Y-Town and hospital. Are you at St E's? I'm one of the founders of the Mahoning Valley Apple Computer Users Group. Once of our members (Andy?) worked n IT at St E's. This is back in the mid-80's. I graduated with a BE in EE at YSU in 1978. Just curious.
     
    Thanks - Mark
     
  • How safe is that backup bootable USB?
    Can you burn a copy of the USB to a DVD for safe keeping?
  • No. Microsoft wrote some super special code to stop only you from doing exactly that. Smurf!
  • I personally just think it's another one of the many Microsoft missteps in promotion and marketing.  When you buy any other computer, it is advertised as having XXgb/tb of storage, XXmb memory.  When you boot it up the first time and look at it, you don't have that amount of space available.  Memory is taken up by the OS and sotrage is taken up by the Prgrams and other Bloatware that the OEMs install.  This is really no different.  When I buy a smartphone or tablet with an advertised 16gb memory, how much do you actually have for storeage and apps?  It's not 16.  You might get 10-12 if you're lucky.  How do the specs compare to iOS on the iPad and the many flavors of Droid OS's on the various Tablets?
    I do however think that loosing 1/3 of the available storage/memory space is quite excessive.  There should have been more work involved either shrinking and streamlining the OS or creating a seperate memory on teh device to hold and run the OS, similar to having multiple drives on a computer.  Would it really increase the price of the device that much to adda a seperate 4, 8, or 16gb memory area for the OS to run in while leaving the other area for apps and programs?  This is a Computer OS afterall that can run multiple HDD and various other memory and input/output devices.
  • Funny that you ask. I don't know about every scenario, but I know that iOS on an iPad takes 2-3GB out of the box. Beyond that, I'm not really sure about other devices like Google. Keep in mind, however, they are purposely mobile-designed OS's with limited functionality and scope. Windows systems are intended to be fully functional... it's a compromise I think people can/should make if it suits their needs.
  • I agree Microsoft can always do better, but notice the pattern of the industry searching for a problem, any problem to highlight as to why Windows 8 and/or the Surface Pro will fail. We didn't see the kind of coverage when Samsung released their last 128GB Ultrabook that gives you about 56GB after it boots up with all the crapware. Microsoft is in a no win situation, it's best to keep quiet so not to fuel the bandwagon. What Microsoft needs to do now, is market the hell out of the Surface brand, and speed up those app and OS updates to Windows 8.
  • The same is always true of us Microsoft fans when Apple comes out... we always look for why it's a stupid purchase and you're wasting your money. Circle of life, lol.
  • I still don't see why any OS has to be so large. If an OS is that big, they're over complicating things.
  • The Surface Pro will have more space available than the average Windows Ultrabook with the same size SSD. I just came from Best Buy. A Samsung 128GB Ultrabook had 56GB free. I suspect the lack of crapware may actually give the Surface Pro the edge.
     
  • this is really kinda terrible.  microsoft should be stuffing extra ssd space and then prentend like the ssd is actually smaller.  like they should sell an 128, and call it an 80 meg.   i know it will get better with time.... but right now that doesn't help them..  windows is too large to be a tablet OS.   they really should have took windows RT further like they did with windows phone.  windows phone uses the nt kernel but also takes up way less space. 
  • ipad's os takes up about 4 gigs of space... so on a 64 gig tablet you still have 60 gigs.    microsofts os takes up 40 gigs??  apparently using up 10 times the space that IOS uses.   no wonder they don't have a 16 gig or 32 gig model.  windows wouldn't even fit on those. 
  • They have 32G models for W8. Check out Acer W510. I have a W500 32GB and have 15GB free space. OS itself it not that big.
  • You are also missing the conversion.64gb is more like 56-58 or so, then add the OS to that.
  • I will be waiting for Gen 2. MS is getting roasted all over the place over those right now. They'll likely do something different for the next version.
  • The Surface Pro memory can be expanded...as opposed to an iPad that CANNOT. Stop saying you're disappointed or that it is misleading. The freaking iPad 128GB will have probably 116GB usable ITS AN ENTERTAINMENT CONSUMPTION DEVICE. The Surface Pro is a TRUE PC tablet.
  • Heart breaker, but not deal breaker.
    My desktop Win8 takes only 18GB.
    I wish, Microsoft can give a free 64GB microSD with surface.
  • How many of you actually truly use that much space on ur tablet/laptop? Its like saying a 16gb iPad that has only 12gb free is not enough. How is 23gb or 83gb not enough space?
  • This is nothing new why are people making such a big deal. Anytime you buy a computer you never get the reported storage its always less due to formatting, OS install, and bloat ware.
  • I think you're the first one to mention formatting. Props.
  • I dont have a problem with it, but I know people will because how many people you know will take the partition off? Not everyone knows how to do all that. Lastly, jeez that's a large chunk of GB. That's why I opted for the 64GB on my RT.
  • Imagine paying for 64gb and getting only a third of that space, that's just plain ridiculous, it should be advertised as a 32 gb at least.
  • Of all the people complaining, how many actually planned on buying one?  I'm ready for my 128GB and I'm glad I read about transferring the recovery to a USB. Anyway, although you lose quite a bit of space, I think in the end it all balances out with Skydrive, USB port, and microSD cards.
  • Cool! I just gained some extra space on my 64gb RT Surface by spending 15 minutes moving the recovery partition to a bootable USB drive. Not that I needed the space but cool anyway.
  • Thanks to the writer for bringing this to light. Im getting the 32 gig and a 250 gig external. Besides techies who read tech sites all day, I don't think this will be that big of a deal.
  • Microsoft should be giving 50GB of skydrive free for an year or two, same way google is giving  free100GB of google drive with Chrome Books for 2 years.
    That would be awesome IMO..
  • 128GB MacBook Air has about 100GB usable space out of the box. Minus the restore partition and Office on Surface Pro you'll get about 94GB of useable space. Not a big deal.
  • Air also comes with a full blown keyboard and 7 hours of battery. Not really doing Surface any favors comparing it with Air
  • That's part of the problem. Once you recognize that it is a new category of device it makes more sense. For people who once carried both a MacBook Air and an iPad this form factor is compelling. The Surface Pro with Keyboard is about the same price as a Macbook Air. In my opinion the last piece of the puzzle is battery life. From what we're hearing Haswell may be able to help with that in the next iteration. But for me and I suspect many others used to much worse battery life on older laptops, 5 hrs is plenty.
  • If you aren't impressed with battery life then check out the ASUS Transformer Book TX300. Windows 8 Pro in Transformer form factor. I have the Asus Transformer Prime Android tablet and love it - mostly. Having that form factor with bumped specs and a desktop OS makes it a major win for business/college use. Moreso than the Surface IMO.
  • It was always the Surface Pro 128.
    I wish it came with leather seats.
  • They should be advertising 80 and 20 gig models. Then customers will be happy when they find an extra few gigs instead of pissed and wondering where their space went.
  • i dont think its smart to buy a Surface Pro right now.  With Haswell processors coming out in a few month, why get an ivy bridge product that has nad battery life? 
  • Times like this make me wish Microsoft could jettison everything and truly start from scratch. I like the Metro/Modern environment, and do feel that WinRT is a step forward to eliminating dead weight, but wish they'd go faster. That said, I don't want them to be Apple-fast in killing stuff off! I got rid of my old iMac because it couldn't go any farther, OS-wise.
    I am glad we can expand the storage