Windows 10 will free up more storage space for your PC, tablet or phone

Microsoft says that the Windows 10 development team is using a new compression algorithm in combination with the removal of a recovery image to cut down on the amount of storage space the OS will need on PCs, tablets and smartphones.

Microsoft states:

With current builds, Windows can efficiently compress system files. That gives back approximately 1.5GB of storage for 32-bit and 2.6GB of storage for 64-bit Windows. Phones will also be able to use this same efficient compression algorithm and likewise have capacity savings with Windows 10.We are also redesigning Windows' Refresh and Reset functionalities to no longer use a separate recovery image (often preinstalled by manufacturers today) in order to bring Windows devices back to a pristine state. This reduces Windows' storage footprint further as the recovery image on typical devices can range in size from 4GB to 12GB, depending on the make and model. Phones already have a storage-optimized recovery solution, so, unlike compression, this enhancement is only for tablets, laptops, and desktops.

Microsoft uses the example of a device which has 32GB of storage. Older versions of Windows might allow for 17.6GB of free storage on that device, but the use of the new compression technique, along with the ditching of a recovery image, with the 64-bit version of Windows 10 frees up another 6.6GB of storage space, giving that device a total of 24.2GB of free space, with just 7.8GB used for the OS itself.

If Windows 10 users still want to have a recovery image for their device, in case something goes wrong, they are free to make one. Microsoft says:

With Windows 10, you can create your own recovery media and back up the pristine state of the operating system and preinstalled software. If things go wrong and you are unable to refresh or reset your device successfully, you can boot the device using recovery media and reset to the prior pristine state.

Source: Microsoft

John Callaham
  • Windows 10? I heard that will be released sometime this summer (sometime next year for Insiders).
  • Sorry, but your attempt at sarcasm is poor and should be laughed at.
  • ? What ?
  • Being dense and being sarcastic are two very different things....but hey, in case you really were naive, you're correct on both counts. :)
  • Hope this takes care of 'other storage'
  • My other storage is zero since cyan
  • Look at System. They moved....
  • Exactly.
  • Mine is at 7.8GB :P
  • Mine is as it has been before, 8Gb
  • What's the matter?? Add class 10 MC.
  • Except depending on how well it's received it might end up being a higher number
  • This is sure a WOW factor for phones and tablets.
  • Absolutely. I have a Dell Venue 8 Pro with 32GB storage, and after just installing all the OS and app updates, I am left with a little less than 7GB. Really looking forward to Windows 10.
  • You need to do a disk cleanup and choose System files. You'll see options to delete previous OS, update cache and a few other items that'll save you several GB.
  • I did this. Older versions of software and other stuff are removed. And it's totally safe.
  • Good tip. I did that last night, and I managed to bump up the free space to just under 10GB. It took almost six hours to complete the clean up, but it was well worth it.
  • You're lucky I only have 4.25GB on my Dell Venue Pro 8.
  • Apps to SD would be a real difference maker, this is just Meh once Windows gets updated to death.
  • You people really are living in a time warp.  App to SD is a bad bandaid solution.  How about stop selling devices with mediocre storage volumes.  32GB Windows 10 Tablets are like 16GB iPads.  It's a bad value proposition when you realize jsut how limited the device is.  Suddenly its ability to run full Windows apps goes from an advantage to an annoyance, because many of those apps are HUGE and there ins't much space on the device out of the box - nevermind after updates nad stuff like that. And with them getting rid of Smart Files, I don't know how much of an impact this change is going to make for anyone who wants to use the Cloud as a Storage Volume, unless they're putting everything on SD Cards, which are much slower than the inernal storage.
  • 32GB Windows tablets are not like 16GB ipads. Ever since WIMBoot, Windows 8.1 installed into just 4GB. IOS takes up 5.8. Massive difference.
  • That would drive up the cost and why alot of manufacturers offer devices with multiple storage configurations.  It is up to the buyer to decide what's best for them.  As strictly an internet, email and smartglass device for my xbox one, 32 gig is more than enough on my Dell Venue Pro 8.
  • Already an option on WP and PC TP.
  • I read somewhere that we will be able to change between Microsoft accounts with this without needing to hard reset the phone. Huge!
  • This would be awesome for those who share the xbox music service.
  • Yeah!
  • realease the next build already and for phone including more of them
  • This
  • I understand your frustration but on this endeavour lets treat MS like Guinness.... Good things come to those who wait....
  • Very good things, patience is a virtue, it seems faster!!!
  • but only the things left by those who hustle
  • Are you saying we should treat MS employees to a Guiness. I would agree. They've been working hard and deserve a beer.  I think you meant geniuses
  • Rushing code results in crashing and a bricked device.
  • And a bad experience and rant post on win central.
  • Development isn't something that happens in a's a LONG, drawn-out process. Plus, try patching 80 million+ lines of code...I'd love to see you try ;)
  • This wll solve a lot of problems!
  • I know Windows RT is not getting a full version of Windows 10 but I hope this free space makes it's way there. Windows RT can definitely use this.
  • Yes. Especially for the 32gb Surface 1's and 2's. This would be awesome. Having said that I realize 10 is not coming to Surface 1's and 2's. Too bad really.
  • They will get win10, just not all the features available. Similar to rt not having all the features of win8.
  • It's about time we started getting some form of good news..
  • This is big. Once I had my System Storage upto 6.7 gigs. Only a Hard Reset solves these probs.
  • Cool.. This I especial nice for those entry level Windows tablets with low internal memory.... Another reason why a chepo version Windows tablet might be a better choice for some compared to a cheap a$$ Android tablet....
    Nevertheless, both have their advantages over the other...
  • Lucky you were still, mine is at 7.8GB already...
  • I wonder if we can ever run out of algorithms :D
  • Wonder if they stole the algorithm from Pied Piper
  • You win all of life for this comment.
  • Haha
  • +One
  • What about 2gb storage?
  • All I ask is that they fix the winsxs folder... that thing always gets massive.
  • Yes! That has been a big issue, they need to find a better way to manage that.
  • Great stuff. MS are thinking again after many years of being just plain dumb.
  • +1
  • What are you smoking? Every version of windows beyond Vista is smaller, leaner and faster than its predecessor.
  • Exactly!! Windows just keeps getting better and better :)
  • Wish I could get an update to free up space on my 32GB Surface 2! Barely have any apps installed and after all the continuing OS updates I'm down to around 10GB free. Thanks MS!
  • Delete the recovery partition then, maybe move it to a bootable USB
  • Not one major tech site will report this
  • I think Geekwire did
  • Yep they are busy putting apple smartwatch in the spotlight
  • They don't need to. This article aren't for those average PC users anyway. They just buys PC, know the numbers and off they can go use it.
  • Finally! This is huge. Besides the smaller storage footprint, the redesign of the Refresh and Reset settings is big for me. I hate when windows 8.1 asks me for the media CD. From my understanding, now it'll just boot from the built in image. (assuming the PC is able to reach Refresh settings of course?
  • Screw 32gb devices, I wish Windows left more free space on 16gb tablets. Right now when you get a 16gb atom windows 8 device you start with a whopping 4gb free thanks to "win boot" (the ability to use system original system files stored on the recovery partition). But as soon as you update the system and use cleanmgr to clean up, you are left with a mere 2gb of free space, which won't even let you play all the free Xbox Live games.
    Cheap windows tablets will be useless untill Windows 10 brings the ability to move apps to SD cards, as seen on Windows Phone.
    The situation is similarly annoying on a 32gb Surface 2. I'm wondering if I should delete the recovery partition or try fooling around with NTFS symlinks to move my games to the SD card.
  • Moving apps to SD cards has already been leaked, so you've got that coming.
  • Well I sure hope so. But there's no guarantee whether it to comes to all of the following:
    - Windows 10 (x86)
    - Windows 10 "Mobile" (on new ARM devices)
    - Windows RT "10" (on current ARM devices)
  • "But there's no guarantee whether it to comes to all" E.X.A.C.T.L.Y !! Those clever tricky MFs in Redmond are masters of BS. "....Yes, all current devices will receive Win10..." and then just some weeks before RTM they will finish the sentence: all current devices will receive win10, IF they satisfy the following requirements: X, Y, Z followed by some madeup BS why prev-flagships will still not receive it. I have zero sympathy with the ugly sneaky double-dealer business practices MS does in the recent 2,5 years.
  • Hang on, Hang on.... You can't move apps to an SD card on Windows 8.1? I just bought a Linx 10 tablet and I'm waiting for an SD to arrive. So.... I can't stick the apps on the SD card??? Bummer :(
  • Nope.
    They are all installed in C:\Program Files\WindowsApps and everything goes to shits if you try to change it in registry.
    Also your \local\packages folder grows huge with some games and apps.
  • Just install an SD card and mount it to the c\program files\WindowsApps\ folder.
  • Are you sure that works? And what if I don't want to dedicate all of my 32GB card to the WindowsApps folder? I've wasted several hours yesterday - copying data and setting permissions to make Apps run from SD Card over a symbolic link from c:\program files\WindowsApps to D:\WindowsApps - only to find out that while this seems to work fine with third party Apps there's no fraking way to make Microsoft Apps work like that. And the worst part is, it reportedly worked fine in 8.0 but stopped working in 8.1 And since MS confirmed there will be no Windows RT 10, I just feel dissapointed and screwed over.
  • Hopefully Works for me. My system is 15,5 GB
  • Seems tighter.
  • Ok.Great move.Now divide system from user space and windows will be fully usable.
  • Spacebar not working?
  • The recovery image was one of the best features added to Windows.  Hope there will be a similar solution provided on a flash drive / sd card.
  • Yep windows 10 will free up more space because there are no more apps to download :P juz kiddin. Even without all the apps and stuff like android and iPhone has, my surface and my Lumia 1520 works well with my lifestyle.
  • Thnak God. Maybe now there's some hope for my 8Gb acer aspire one :)
  • Great news, I have a 16 gb tablet and after installing office and a anti-virus i got just 1.5 gb left.
  • With Windows 10 you'll have Universal versions of Office, which take up less space on your tablet. By the way, unless you are performing really risking web browsing on your Windows tablet, you don't need to use an anti-virus. Save that for the laptops and desktops.
  • Actually, Windows 8+ has built-in antivirus so...
  • Exactly my point! Windows has protection of up to 85% of virus and malware attacks. Some people are still afraid of not having an antivirus, but on a tablet, that fear seems less warranted.
  • And can we do that?
  • If they can sort out the winsxs, installer cache etc. Then maybe we can have a little more room on our machines. I look after around 150 servers and this always causes me issues.
  • THIS is taking way too long.
  • Honestly we need something like that for phones because to say a phone has 16 or 32 and actually only gets 11gb or 28gb is sad
  • Microsoft should get rid of some redundant apps to free up space on the desktop that would increase the free space. Similar to what they did with windows 7 from Vista
  • Yet the same redundant apps they removed which eventually caused people to use up MORE space on their computers to do things like send email, browse/organize photos etc. because the "downloadable" replacements were 3-4x bigger than the components they ripped out of Vista. Fun fact, the Winodws 8.1/10 PIM apps bundled with Windows today perform about 5x worse than the PIM apps bundled in Windows Vista (and that's running on 2004-2006 era equipment).
  • Wondering what those "magic algorithms" will mean regarding increased CPU-usage (+extra battery drain) and extra delay when decompressing the files into memory before the content can be presented to the user (hint: dramatic RAM usage increase).
  • Looks like some progress is being made on this:
  • Nice!
  • Great :) Every GB is welcome. I only wonder how much the size of Windows 10 compares with the size of Windows XP or Vista. Because all I've read in the last couple of years that, after Vista, the size of the OS only shrank
  • This is good I you have a phone with low internal memory, like 16gb or less. However my Lumia 830 has 13gb available and a 32GB card so storage isn't an issue at the moment for me as I am nowhere near filling it all up. I'm sure the people with lower storage devices will greatly appreciate it though!
  • Windows Update, then "Other Storage" and WinSxS quickly grow like cancer
  • Next step would be to provide the Windows 10 iso to everyone who own Windows 10 no matter the license is OEM or retail. So that user don't have to worry about creating a recovery media. We only need the recovery media when somethings goes wrong allowing user to store the created recovery media in Onedrive is also a good solution. 
  • Now, that is some nice touch by Microsoft.
  • Manufacturer with Free Windows 10 with bing should provided Windows OS installation files for free online since the Windows 10 with bing is free.
  • That's good news.
  • This may be a help but I like big hd's
  • I have Lumia 2520 32GB , but the usable space is only 18GB that's too much , my Lumia 930 keeps building up the OTHER file till it reaches 10 GB , this is very annoying and they didn't fix it for WP its still there but increasing slowly
  • Great ^_^
  • Good news.
  • windows 10 TP is amazing .... i love it!
  • Of course we can make a recovery disc for free just like in 8.1 that never worked and MS never told anyone that it was actually taken out, then you have to buy another serial from MS again.