64GB Surface Pro Will Have Just 23GB Of Usable Space

If you thought yesterday's news that the 128GB Microsoft Surface Pro will only offer 83GB of usable storage was bad, think again. The Verge has learned that the 64GB version will offer up just 23GB of space to the user.

It seems the Windows 8 install, built-in apps and a recovery partition will consume 41GB of the total storage space, leaving just 23GB -- that's 36 per cent -- of storage for the user. Perhaps it's time manufacturers started quoting available storage space in their ads too? [The Verge]


    This should help


      Jeff, even after your tip, the user has a tablet with less than half the advertised storage actually available. That's rather poor form, bordering on misleading, in my view.

        Where is the ACCC? They should be taking action!

          Well Microrort is being sued in the US for misleading adverts about the storage size on the Surface RT.

            Why have people down-voted daffy's reply???? Don't like the truth???


              If you have to resort to using oh-so-witty insults like Crapple, Micro$oft or our dear friend daffy's strident effort at wit, 'Microrort', then any point you thought you had is rendered invalid.

                This.. coming from a guy with the name "Zombie" Jesus? :) sorry but thought that was a bit ironic :)

                  Well hey, I'm not trying to make a point with my name =)

              I upvoted Daffy's comment. Because the upness or downness of a comment on Gizmondo is very very important ;-)

              Last edited 31/01/13 5:45 pm

        Well you can expand with a 64GB SD card and whatnot, but I understand your point virt. I'm not a PR guy, just a field engineer that fixes stuff. So my response is just a technical solution, not an excuse. I hope you understand.

    How is this any different to yesterdays news? Posting a seperate article is just Windows 8 / Surface bashing.

      It's a fair enough. news story This article is about a different model, and this one makes only a third of its advertised storage available for users. It's worth letting people.

        Or they could have actually offered some information in yesterdays article, instead of the two rubbish articles we have with barely any information.

        Last edited 31/01/13 12:20 pm

        This is what I expect from a tech site.

        Two articles in two days offering the same thing in two very brief paragraphs without explaining much? I don't even think you would get that from news.com.au

          whinge whinge whinge. Nobody is forcing you to visit Giz. If you don't like the way these guys report news then stop coming here. Simple.

            Or, we could give them feedback that would let them improve their service. A novel concept for you, I'm sure.

              There's constructive feedback through appropriate channels and there's public criticism, a distinct difference you are no doubt aware of, I'm sure.

                We disagree then. I consider the comments section to be a perfectly valid place to express feedback on an article.

                  hmmm, I see. I consider the comments section a place to discuss the subject matter of the article, in this case the Microsoft Pro, rather than the quality or validity of article itself (in my view such criticisms should be mailed to author directly for them to mull over). So yes we disagree on amicable terms. Good day to you then sir.

          That is a tech tip, not news. Giz is predominately a tech news site. Therefore, they posted exactly what I expected. If I bought a surface, I would look elsewhere for the tips such as the link you posted here

    Pretty bad, they should just pump up the amount of storage it actually has to bring the usable storage up to 64GB...

    23GB on a device like that will get chewed up pretty quick id imagine.

      23GB on a device like that will get chewed up pretty quick id imagine.

      Yeah, but that could be said of the full 64GB. They're tiny devices no matter how you slice it. I'm not to happy with Windows taking a large percentage of the advertised storage space (considering it'll only get larger over time), but really I'm disappointed in the device for having such little storage space that 41GB matters.

    They should really be advertising that fact along side the storage capacity. As a percentage of the space used that's quite significant.

    OMG you mean a full fledged PC requires space to store the OS. No way.

      Fully fledged PCs have bigger hard drives than 128gb. Its a tablet, they are being tricky with the space.

        You haven't looked at Ultrabooks lately have you?

        They are indeed being misleading with this. I am surprised about the response to this. If this were Apple there'd be hundreds of messages in support of the article but for some reason because it's MS, it's like they're allowed to mislead the general public, who are NOT power users.

          As opposed to 'Apple the company' as I am, I would react the same way if this was one of their products. It's a full-fledged device, you can wipe it and put whatever will run on it if you want. Space taken up by the OS is neither subtracted from the advertised storage size nor even mentioned on most pre-built PC advertising.

            So if you bought a PC with a 500GB hard drive and 250GB of it was taken up with OS that you couldn't use.. you wouldn't be questioning why they advertised it as a 500GB hard drive? :) Compared apples with apples and it still doesn't make sense.. compare apples with oranges and you can say whatever you want and it makes sense :)

              No, I wouldn't find that strange. The drive is 500GB, it just comes with 250GB of software as well. Nothing stopping me from wiping it and using it with another OS that takes up less space, if I wanted to. With the way the Surface Pro is designed, it wouldn't surprise me if you could put Linux on it if you wanted, as long as there were drivers available. I think some of the major distros even have touchscreen support.

    Lately most articles have been look at the Verge, make small quote, ARTICLE COMPLETE!!!
    Honestly, if you are going to rip an article from somewhere, at least get it from a decent source, the Verge are nearly as bad as you guys.

    The computers I sell from my shop come with a 1 TB drive, but only 800 odd GB is available to the end user, someone quickly make a scene about how I'm being misleading.
    I also just sold my 16 GB iPhone 4, but there was only 11 GB available to the person who bought it, maybe I should be expecting a law suit??

    Maybe I could sue HP for selling me an Ultrabook that was advertised to come with a 120 GB SSD, but somehow I can only use 80GB.....

    For a tech site, you guys sure know fuck all about technology.

    Seriously? The Surface is a fucking computer, and with it comes the same inherent problems all computers have, data takes up space. If this one doesn't have enough space, buy the 128 GB model, add a 64 GB SD card, utilize Skydrive etc.

      Im glad im not the only person that reads these articles and then just thinks "WTF is wrong with the Author and the people posting comments"

      They need to start selling the tablets blank with a note, "since you cried like a little girl about something that is completely normal, heres your 120gb of storage, blank and unformated without OS, enjoy you whiney bitch"

      You are unnecessarily disrespectful and wildly inaccurate.

      Tablets have been around for a while now and users should be mature enough to understand that a part of the storage is used for the OS. However, OSes such as iOS and Android take only a reasonably small proportion of the storage. Many people will expect that is will be the same with Surface devices, only to buy one and find-out that a very large proportion of the storage is not available. MS are doing little to educate the public and you can be damned well assured that many salespeople in retail stores won't bother to mention it. The loss of 50% (give or take) of the available storage on a 64Gig device is simply not what many will expect. I keep seeing comments that there is always the option of buying an SD card. True, but to spent $1,000 on a device to only then have to spend more money on an SD card to give the device a reasonable amount of storage is also not what many people would expect.

      I genuinely believe that this is a matter that the ACCC should be investigating in order to determine some reasonable standard.

        So, you're saying that the Surface Pro is just like the iPad, or a Galaxy Tab?


        You call me wildly inaccurate?


        The Surface Pro is a full fledged computer, not an appliance computer like the iPad etc. It runs Windows 8 Pro..... a full fledged OS, not a cut down mobile OS. On my Windows 8 Pro PC, the Windows directory is currently at 18 GB, taking up a large percentage of my 55 GB SSD, not to mention the other directories Windows 8 uses.

        I agree, people should be educated on what the device is, and hopefully once released we will see a marketing plan arise that covers this, I doubt it, but who knows.

        I honestly don't think I was being disrespectful, how I have come to expect certain things for a tech blog site, and linking to another tech blog with a handful of lines before it is a terrible article, the author needed to be called on it.

          So at what point does it become an issue for you?

          A 64Gb tablet with 23Gb of usable space is acceptable to you, how about 64GB with 15Gb usable? 10GB? Will you pay for a 64GB tablet with 5GB of usable space? At what point does it become unacceptable?

          We all know that formatting a drive and installing an OS consumes storage, and that's something users either accept or tolerate. But each person has their own views on what is acceptable regardless of whether it's a mobile device or fully fledged computer. For me, 23GB remaining out of a 64GB drive is not acceptable as a device where the usable space is the minority of 'consumed versus available' is simply laughable (regardless of whether it's a mobile device or full PC). But that's ok, it just means more 23GB Microsoft Pro's for the rest of you.

            This isn't an issue for me because I understand what is causing the problem.

            If I look again at my current computer, has a 60 GB SSD, I have 1.3 GB free......
            That's all, with all my apps installed, temp files etc I have 1.3 GB FREE. So yeah, seeing 23 GB free would be pretty fucking sweet in my mind.

            Now, as well as the 60 GB SSD, I have a 1 TB external drive that stores my media that I take with me. I will be using the same principle with the Surface. As anyone who purchased a laptop several years ago with an 80 GB hard drive installed.

            Honestly, this is really a non-issue, brought on by terrible reporting by terrible 'bloggers' and people seeing an opportunity to join in on the fun. The Surface is a full PC, therefore it has a full PC OS, and all the good and bad bits of that, including being to install the largest range of programs, but also disk space utilization. If the Surface was running Windows Phone 8, and it took up this amount of space I could see the point of view of the people complaining now, but it's not and I can't.

            It is a PC in tablet form, and up until the iPad came out, calling it a Tablet PC would have been perfectly acceptable, but now because when people hear tablet, they think iPad, a Windows 8 Pro tablet must be similar to an iPad, so maybe Microsoft should spend some $$ and create a new name for Windows 8 Pro PCs in tablet form, just a suggestion.

              I get your point, but just can't swallow it. If I bought a PC and it had every single piece of software that I was ever going to need (or want) already installed on it, I still couldn't accept having a brand new PC with less HDD/SSD space available than what has already been consumed. But that's just me and I respect that that you have a different view.

              People such as yourself that understand the reason(s) why so little storage remains will obviously be more accepting of this device, however unfortunately you are no doubt in the minority. As such this will likely open up a can of worms for Microsoft to deal with if the general public ultimately feels misled. This is quite ironic as Microsoft's operating system has always strived to cater to the lowest common denominator.

        "I genuinely believe that this is a matter that the ACCC should be investigating in order to determine some reasonable standard."

        You believe it should be taken to the ACCC because
        'you' dont understand how technology works?
        'you' dont read the fine print?
        'you' dont bother to do some research for a product yourself?

        Self entitled much?
        The Surface pro has space taken up by a full win8 OS install, not a cheap cut down version like the RT, ipads or android OS.
        plus a full recovery drive, which saves the user time and money if they have no idea how to re-install windows if issues occur, they can call MS and they will walk you through running a recovery on your device instead of making you take it back to a shop, pay someone $100 to re-install windows from a USB stick.

        Grow up, the pro surface is not a cut down cheap nasty tablet, its a PC with tablet functionality, it's what us real techs have always wanted, something we can use for work/play that has more grunt than a tablet, but still the same low wieght and easy use.

          Totally disagree with you. ACCC is in place to ensure the truth about a product is not hidden in the fine print. ACCC will definitely have a case here and I am sure we will see an investigation take place. If it is advertised as a 64GB device, you should get 64GB or at least >57GB usable (allowing for how a byte is calculated).

          This is similar to what they did with the Apple iPad 3rd Gen that said it was 4G. The 4G feature is technically correct because it will run 4G on mobile phone exchanges that support the same frequencies, the problem was that no carrier in Australia supported those frequencies so it was not possible to get 4G out of the device. ACCC's ruling was that since it was not possible for the iPad to run 4G in Australia, it shouldn't be marketed in that way because it can (and did) mislead customers.

            The ACCC imposed on Apple because their device didn't work on the 4G network.
            There still is a 64 GB drive in the Surface, if you want you could boot to a live image, format the drive and you would the full capacity available, so in my mind they are completely different scenarios.

            If now, for example, the ACCC had fined Apple for selling their 64 GB iPad when actually there was only 51 GB available to the user, then yes, it would be quite similar. But seeing as EVERY OTHER DEVICE BEING MARKETED IN THAT WAY IS STILL BE ADVERTISED WITH THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE STORAGE I doubt that will happen.

              OR, maybe when they get the complaints, ALL companies that advertise the total space rather than available space will get into trouble.

        @Peter T: "However, OSes such as iOS and Android take only a reasonably small proportion of the storage."

        Why on earth do you think that is a reasonable comparison? The Pro doesn't run borked (RT) Windows 8, it runs Windows 8. The direct competition to that is more along the lines of OS X or Linux. Desktop operating systems, not tablet operating systems.

        Part of the confusion for many people was that the Surface RT devices are actually more than a standard tablet. It had elements that had previously only been part of a full operating system, and that garnered poor comparisons with fully fledged ultrabooks. Now we have a device which has the form of a tablet, but has an operating system equivalent to any windows 8 touchscreen ultrabook, and this is being compared unfavorably to tablet Operating Systems as far as disk size.

        You need to know not just the shape of the device, but the level of Operating System it is running to make a fair comparison. When devices break rules and break with the commonly accepted form, you also need to be able to recognise that.

        oh, and p.s. 23gb is way too little. they probably should reconsider the base level model specs.

        Last edited 31/01/13 2:28 pm

    I was under the impression most of this was the partitioned recovery space and windows 8 pro takes up 20GB of space. so you could clear it leaving 44gb or so.

    still, 20GB is a shitload.

      Also, dont they come with a bucketload of cloud storage as well?

        It's only a bucketload if you have an old skydrive account. New ones are 7gb.

          25gb right here!

          Also have Office365 for work, so docs can live their too.

    Given that this is (as i see it) a tablet, Microsoft could have done better. Yes computers don't come with their full 1TB, etc. of hard drive space but if you look at the percentage of space taken by the OS on a computer, it certainly is nowhere near half, or in the case of the 64gb surface 'pro', 64%. That's just comparing it to a computer. If we look at a tablet, Apple sells 16gb tablets and still provides the user with a decent amount of storage space, and Android tablets easily outperforms Microsoft too. Yes we should expect not to be able to use all of the advertised space, but 64% !? That's just unacceptable and given that Windows 8 was designed to work well on touch screen devices, such as the surface (the reason my computer will be staying at Windows 7), Microsoft could have put a little more thought into making their first foray into the 'tablet market' a little more friendly for those wishing to actually put stuff on their new devices. Now for those who are thinking, it's not a tablet, it's a computer - as is your watch, most likely your car and you will note that the OS on your desktop/laptop does not take up 64% of your hard drive space.

    What I don't get is if the storage requirement for a Windows 8 Pro install is 20GB (http://windows.microsoft.com/en-AU/windows-8/system-requirements), then what is taking up all the extra space? Office 2013 only adds another 3 GB (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee624351.aspx). So even if the recovery partition is taking up 6GB, there's still another 12GB or so unaccounted for.

    Fair enough you can get extra storage from an SD card, but when there is the issue of not being able to add files to your media library if they are stored on removable storage, you start to wonder is Microsoft really thought this one through.

      The recovery partition on the Surface RT is 6GB, its probably safe to say that the surface pro recovery partition will be larger, due to more comprehensive CAB files and full win8 Functionality.

      As well as the fact that a 64GB harddrive only contains 59gb of actual storage (common knowledge)

      So loss of 5gb from actual 64gb (you can blame that on M$ we have been for 30 years)
      20gb OS
      3gb Office
      8gb recovery partition (being conservative here, id expect at least 12)
      36GB accounted for
      Leaves you with 28GB of usable space, thats missing what 4-5 gb on the number above (which i would imagine would be part of the recovery partition in all honesty)

      Last edited 31/01/13 2:17 pm

    How come your iPad articles never mention this lack of available user storage space being different to the advertised/total storage space? You seem to do it more for Surface and Droid tablets.


    It's a tablet with a full OS, something has to take one for the team for it to work and it was free space on the drive. But luckily it isn't Apple so it has microSDXC card slot up to 64gb and USB 3.0.

    I was surprised by how much it takes up, and it does seem kinda 'wrong', not that I'd complain really loudly about it being misleading and whatnot. It just seems silly because 64gb is a really small amount to put a PC anyway. Would've been better if they'd had a 128GB Pro and a 256GB Pro instead.

    Would someone mind explaining to me what this "Recovery Partition" is actually for? I mean I get the basic concept from the name, but I am curious to know what kind of situation would result in it being used. What situations are you in where you need to reinstall windows, but the SSD isn't toast? And are these situatuions common enough to justify a recovery partition on every device? The only time I've installed a new OS in the last ten years has been to try a new Linux distro, but that doesn't seem like something MS would be encouraging.

      I re-install windows every 6 months, when your using your PC, its constantly being filled up with crap, temp files, cached files, program config files, these all cause your PC to slow down and not work at peak performance.(as well as virus's, malware and bloatware)
      Everytime you install and remove an application, it leaves behind registry entries and rubbish files.
      you can use applications to clean these files, or defrag your HDD, or remove rubbish.

      But its almost impossible to clear them all, a fresh re-install will clean your PC so it runs as if brand new.
      other reasons, installations of applications, incompatible drivers, power loss to your device can cause corruption in the OS files, which makes your system faulty or unstable, and in some cases a re-install is the only way to fix (unless you understand how your registry and OS works on a base level).

      the recovery partition is there to help users who have no idea how to re-install windows, all they need to do is call M$ and they will walk you through it, saves you time and money as you dont have to take it back to a computer store for a windows re-install.

      Last edited 31/01/13 2:25 pm

    So we can just delete recovery partition which is 10 - 20 gb and do manual windows restore points to external drive ?

      From what i've read, yes.
      You can re-install windows from a USB device, so if you are confident, you dont need the recovery partition.

    Im a 100% devoted Windows fan and to me this is pretty shitty.
    Not going to stop me from getting the Surface Pro though.

      Well I'm not a devoted windows, mac or linux fan as I use them all, however I am a devoted fan of common sense, and 23GB remaining out of 64GB is not common sense, and indeed pretty shitty.

      Yes a portion of storage space can be recovered with various tweaks, but 'average Jo' lacks the awareness of, and ability to, recover this space, so average Jo is going to be pissed when he discovers his 64GB device is only a 23GB device, and rightfully so in my opinion.

    This has already been referred to ACCC anyway:


    They say 45GB should be available.. and apparently it is on their website somewhere.. but if you can believe the guy in Los Angeles suing MS, it's buried in the website and hard to find. It's 100% definitely not on the box.. which is what may be the problem when it comes to the ACCC. They may need to start printing some stickers to go on the boxes :)

    Be interesting to see what happens.. they need to be more transparent with their advertising. Sure the tech savvy among us (those likely to be reading this article) are well aware that OS takes up space.. but the general population would assume, and quite rightly so, that the OS would not be using up the advertised storage space but instead be on a separate drive or that the total space has been buffered to allow for the OS and still have approximately 64gb of space.

    Last edited 31/01/13 3:30 pm

      There's a link to how much space the Surfaces have free under the specifications page. Not the easiest to find, but not that hard either. It would be good if companies had to say on the box how much available space devices have, as well as total capacity though.

        heh yep, it took me 3 seconds to find that link after I read the article.

        But it is misleading none the less.

    I find it rather insulting and I am a techy person.

    It IS misleading, as MOST people DO NOT understand any of that stuff. They see "128gb" and think they have 128GB to use. I shouldn't have to waste my time researching every aspect just in case marketing have found some new way of pulling the wool even further over our eyes.

    Why is this an issue? We knew SSD's were expensive, we knew SSD's were the best option for any mobile device due to non movie parts, we also knew a fully fledged x86 OS was larger, and that most new prebuilt systems come with a backup partition that can be removed

    what needs to be mentioned, as is in the verge article, is that surface can run both SD Cards AND USB 3.0 external harddrives, both of which are fast enough to be used to install programs on, also the size of the backup partition would be nice to know as well

    complaining about any of these things is just ridiculous now

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