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128GB Surface Pro Has Almost Same Usable Storage As the 128GB Macbook Air


Editor in Chief

It looks as if the complaints about the 128GB Surface Pro having a low amount of useable storage space are a bit overblown. The numbers are accurate. The difference is that the Surface Pro's competition, namely the Macbook Air, basically has the same problem. Here's a quote with some extra details,

One of the reported downsides to the 128GB Microsoft (MSFT) Surface Pro is that only around 70% of its advertised storage can actually be used for user data — in BGR’s review of the Surface Pro, for instance, we found that the 128GB version of the device had only around 85.3GB of actual free space. But new analysis from ZDNet’s Ed Bott shows that this is only slightly less storage than the 128GB MacBook Air, which has roughly 92.2GB of usable storage.

Additionally, there are ways to free up about 8GB of storage space off of the Surface Pro, that are not possible on the Macbook Air. There is a procedure that will allow you to move the contents of the large Windows 8 Recovery partition to a USB flash drive. The bottom line is that many folks in the community (and especially the press) have been overhyping this "issue" and blowing it way out of proportion. Share your opinion.

Source: BGR
Ha ha, BGR still got it wrong. It looks like they made up the lower 85.3GB number since that doesn't appear anywhere in the original article (edit: I see they are using the free space as it appeared on their unit). According to ZDNet:

4. So how much free space is really left on either of these “128 GB” devices?

The picture I published at the top of this post tells this story better than words and numbers. But here’s the detail, with the first number expressed in Windows- and pre-Snow Leopard style Base 2 calculations and the second number in billions of bytes:

MacBook Air 128: 92.20 GB (approx. 99 billion bytes)
Surface Pro 128: 89.7 GB (approx. 96.3 billion bytes)
Those numbers are extremely close.

In both cases, you can remove installed software to further free up disk space. The MacBook Air includes iLife ‘11, while the Surface Pro has 18 included apps, some or all of which can be removed.

But there’s one tweak you can make to the Surface Pro that isn’t possible for the MacBook Air.

Using the built-in Recovery Media Creator, you can copy the contents of that large Windows 8 Recovery partition to a USB flash drive.

If you go through those steps (it’s a simple process, really), you end up with 104.7 billion bytes of storage available for user data and new apps. At least that’s how a Mac user would describe it. A Windows user will see 97.5 GB in File Explorer and in Disk Management, but that’s just a difference in terminology.

It’s worth noting, by the way, that that number is considerably larger than the free space available on a MacBook Air.
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JP --

re: "Surface Pro 128: 89.7 GB (approx. 96.3 billion bytes) "

Yup, out of the box, having done nothing but log on, it was 96.2. However, here is the interesting part, to me, at least: I installed Office Home & Business 2013, download install from MS Store. First surprise was how quickly it installed, although I was on the wired network for that; but after that, I have 95.9 available. Either (a) that is some pretty tight code, or (b) MS had parts of it lurking in there somewhere.

Anyhow, this thing has so much storage, I may rent part of it out. :)

Take care,
JP --

Another thought while you're squeezing the Surface Pro for more storage space: Turn off the Hibernation function and that will delete the hiberfil.sys file in the root of C: drive. Right now that file on the Pro is 3.3GB, and it can grow. I always turn if off on my systems, even though it's not a space issue, and probably will on this one before I'm done. Hibernation is for bears, anyway.

Take care,