Surface Pro Storage Configuration Leaves Users Only 35-65% Free

Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet, the x86-powered big brother of the ARM-based Surface RT, will leave end users with relatively little free space for content, according to The Verge. Operating system files and pre-installed Windows 8 apps will leave users with only 35 to 65 percent of the advertised capacity, depending on model.

Microsoft Surface Usable Storage

The Surface Pro, set to launch February 9th, will be offered in capacities of 64 and 128 GB. Unfortunately, end users will not be able to use anywhere near those figures to store content on the device.

According to The Verge, after accounting for Windows 8, built-in apps, an included recovery partition, and the conversion to true formatted capacity, the 128 GB model will offer users 83 GB of free space out of the box, while the 64 GB model will have just 23 GB of usable storage.

Today’s Surface news arrives alongside Apple’s introduction of the 128 GB iPad. While no device, including the iPad, offers users the entire advertised storage space, Apple’s iDevices have traditionally left users with about 85 to 90 percent of the advertised total in which to store content (a 64 GB iPhone shows “Available Capacity” to be 57 GB, which equals about 89 percent of the advertised capacity).

One advantage that the Surface has over iDevices, however, is the ability to add additional storage relatively easily. Some products exist that allow iOS users to wirelessly add external storage, but the Surface Pro supports the addition of storage space via SDXC memory cards and USB 3.0 hard drives.

Surface owners also have the option of creating a bootable backup USB drive and then deleting the recovery partition, which will free up a few additional gigabytes.

Microsoft is not positioning the Surface as an iPad competitor but rather as the next phase of mobile computing, with advertisements touting the advanced capabilities of a “full Windows PC” over a relatively restricted operating system like iOS or Android.

While many claims about the Surface’s potential and flexibility may be true, those interested in the device should pay careful attention to usable storage when evaluating their needs.