In a blog post published on their blog today, Microsoft has confirmed that it is actively working on reducing the disk space footprint of Windows 10, leaving more space for data. The changes involve compressing Windows system files. It also plans a drastic redesign of the way recovery images will be working. Given that Windows files alone take up to large space, this will be a feature or a specification that all users will love about Windows 10.

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Under the right conditions, the company says, the changes can cut the disk footprint for Windows system files by as much as 45 percent

For more than 15 years, the storage corollary to Moore’s Law was Windows’ best friend. Each new version of Windows required more disk space, but hard disks were growing in capacity (and offering faster read/write speeds), so the bloat didn’t matter all that much.

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Then things changed, gradually but inexorably, as solid-state storage began to displace conventional spinning disks.

Solid-state drives (SSDs) began appearing in high-end notebooks around the time Windows 7 was released. They offer dramatic performance improvements but cost significantly more than conventional hard drives. SSD prices continue to decline year over year, but on a cost-per-gigabyte basis they are still far more expensive than conventional disk drives.

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The rise of small, cheap Windows tablets, designed to counter the rise of cheap Android devices, has exacerbated the problem. These devices use flash memory (which is slower than SSDs but still much faster, smaller, and less power hungry than a hard disk) and often include total storage of 32 GB or even 16 GB.

And one of the signature design changes in Windows 8 and its successors has also been a contributor to the problem. Every new PC shipped with Windows and 8.1 preinstalled is required to include a recovery partition that contains an image of the originally installed operating system. The size of that partition is determined by the PC manufacturer.


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