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1 1903 Ups Minimum Win10 Storage to 32GB – Win10.Guru
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1903 Ups Minimum Win10 Storage to 32GB

Though it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference, each new Feature Upgrade for Windows 10 has been steadily increasing minimum hardware requirements. When the Windows 10 May 2019 Update comes along — next month, hopefully — it will bring increased minimum storage requirements that will affect low-end devices (primarily tablets). Up through and including 1809, 32-bit versions of Win10 had a 16 GB minimum storage requirement; 64-bit versions bumped that to 20 GB. But with 1903 aka Windows 10 May 2019 Update, that minimum jumps to 32 GB for both 32- and 64-bit versions of the desktop OS.
1903 Ups Minimum Win10 Storage to 32GB.vland

Right now, you can still buy this 10.1″ tablet on Amazon for just over US$140. Question is: Do you really want to?
[Click image for full-sized view.]

Why Up the Minimumum Win10 Storage Requirement?

If the traffic on TenForums is any guide (and I firmly believe that it is), those who purchase low-end Win10 devices (tablets, almost exclusively) with only 16 or 20 GB have encountered difficulties in handling updates and upgrades even on prior versions. Lots of contortions prove necessary to free up enough room to handle new OS changes and versions, even with those older storage minima. With each new feature upgrade, war stories get more interesting from those who survive that experience. It could just be that MS is trying to do users a service, by making it more difficult for those who buy at the bottom of the market to shoot themselves in the feet as updates and upgrades keep coming. Certainly, with Win10 routinely reserving around 7 GB for upgrades going forward (see this Storage at Microsoft note from January 7, 2019 for details), it makes sense to up the minimum storage requirement in general, if only to make room for this OS-oriented “storage grab.”

I just poked around on Amazon a bit, and you can still buy at least half-a-dozen different models with 16 GB of SSD among other features. That said, the vast majority of Windows 10 tablets (both 32- and 64-bit varieties) offer 32 or 64 GB of storage nowadays, instead of only 16 GB. To me this is further demonstration that MS is mostly aiming at owners of older low-end devices and letting them know that their upgrade path to 1903 and beyond is not happening. If you look at TopTenReviews interesting story “The 10 Best Cheap Windows Tablets You Can Choose in 2019” (January 3, 2019) none of their choices offers less than 32 GB of storage; most offer 64 GB (only a few go higher, though).

But if you’re the proud or baffled owner of a Windows 10 tablet with 16 or 20 GB of storage, you’d best starting thinking about installing Linux on that device instead. Or planning to stay with 1809 as long as it’s supported, and then making the switch around that time. Looks like you won’t be upgrading such devices to Windows 10 1903/May 2019 Update (or newer subsequent versions).

Author: Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.

5 Responses “1903 Ups Minimum Win10 Storage to 32GB”

  1. CountMike
    April 30, 2019 at 15:40

    Tablets are sooooo short lived devices (comparing to proper PCs) but MS should rally go back for small, specialized windows anyway. On the other hand, I have seen people running out of space even with TB drives.

  2. Gareth Jones
    May 10, 2019 at 10:21

    What ought to happen, now that MS has rendered many of these low end devices redundant, is that the manufacturers of these devices with 16/32 GB SSDs should organise a customer return/ ‘new for old’ swap plan, to replace them with new devices with 64 GB SSDs.

    An elderly relative was given an Win10 HP Stream laptop (32GB SSD) in April 2018 for her 90th birthday. Just 4 weeks later 1803 was issued and the update failed for lack of storage space. It had only been used a couple of times each week; I had installed just three programs on it – Firefox, Adobe Reader, Fastone Image viewer & approx 150 photographs and it was already faulty. The failure message box said that an extra 1.8GB of space would have to be found and an external drive had to be plugged in. I uninstalled as many apps and games as I could. 1803 still failed. I used the Settings -> Storage facility which made no difference; then I used the old DiskClean utility … that somehow found and deleted a considerable amount of ‘stuff’ and 1803 could be done but only by creating a bootable USB Flash Drive with the update.

    Some experts on various forums have suggested using file compression on the Win10 installation on these low end devices to make more space available. I haven’t tried that out myself.

    • May 10, 2019 at 14:29

      I fully understand what you are saying, However, my question is should we think Microsoft is responsible for your device not meeting the minimum requirements?

      For me, this is simple: If and when I buy a new device, it is my responsibility to make sure the device is “prepared for the future”. If I buy a device with small storage, I must realize that at some point in the future, the device might not be able to run the latest OS and required software.

      About Windows not being able to upgrade due limited storage, there’s a simple solution: add a small USB device or SD card. These cost maybe a few bucks, but they are worth of it.

  3. May 11, 2019 at 00:25

    I agree that something should be done for those with now-cramped or too-small devices, especially tablets. But Kari is correct to observe that MS makes the software not the hardware that it runs on. At best, I imagine, it would be nice if makers like HP offered a rebate or credit toward a new device with more room for the OS and other stuff. I feel badly for your aged relative, but it sounds like you may be able to make do with your situation anyway. And yes, compressing as much as possible may indeed provide a bit more breathing room.

    Sorry for your/her trouble, in any case. Thanks for sharing your comment with us.

  4. Gareth Jones
    May 13, 2019 at 13:06

    As I mentioned the device was purchased for a 90 year old relative (who is not ‘computer savvy’) by another relative who uses a computer for their business and is also not savvy enough to verify the device is suitable. I must admit I was astonished to find the HP Stream laptop had just a 32GB SSD and that 28 GB was used for the OS plus the three programs I had installed. I had anticipated installing an office suite & an internet security program and a considerabe number of documents to it but I haven’t done this.

    Unfortunately because MS insist on this ‘perpetual motion’ of doing updates & improvements to Win10, more and more users (like me – I have reverted back to Win7 and am currently testing various versions of Linux) are going to find they can’t deal with the problems, unless they bring in a computer supplier/repair company who can help. Not what a casual/home uses has come to expect.

    Retailers (at least here in the UK) are required by law to sell products that are fit for use but if MS ‘move the goalposts’ so to speak, by requiring more storage space every time they issue an update, could a buyer then return the device to the retailer? Unlikely I woud guess.

    Thanks Kari & Ed for your replies.

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