Microsoft's Surface Pro: How much usable storage?

Softpedia claims the yet-to-be-released 128GB Surface Pro will only deliver 83GB of usable space

Usually reliable software site Softpedia reports that Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet, due to arrive on Feb. 9, will eat up all but 83GB of available storage on a 128GB machine.

According to Softpedia, "[Microsoft] told us in a statement that the 128GB version of the Surface with Windows 8 Pro offers users 83GB of available space."

As best as I can tell, Microsoft has not (as yet) repeated that statement to any other credible source.

If true, that's a remarkable hit. In the same breath, it's important to note that storage on the Surface Pro can be extended with an SDXC card. Windows 8 Pro itself has multiple hooks into SkyDrive, where you get 7GB free, and 20GB more costs $10 per month. There's also a USB 3.0 port, which can support an approximately infinite amount of additional storage.

Bottom line: You aren't going to be hurting for storage ... but I have to wonder what's being absorbed into that 45GB.

Last November, you may recall an analogous kerfuffle about the Surface RT and its disappearing 16GB; the 32GB Surface RT has, in fact, just 16GB of available memory. Microsoft even posted a detailed analysis of the disappearing storage space. But Win8 Pro is different. In the case of Surface RT, some allowance has to be made for the fact that it ships with the less-than-svelte Office 2013 RT. Surface Pro doesn't ship with Office.

Granted, Surface Pro will have all sorts of old-fashioned desktop "legacy" Windows apps that weren't included with (and don't work on) Surface RT. But it's hard to imagine how all of those apps together could occupy anything close to 45GB. The Windows 8 Pro that we currently know and love, with all of its apps, only takes 16GB (for 32-bit) to 20GB (for 64-bit).

One thing I know for sure: The Surface Pro 64GB model ($999 with the cheapest keyboard) isn't going to have a whole lot of free space. Microsoft isn't taking advance orders for the Surface Pros -- at least not yet, which is probably all for the better. If you're thinking of ordering one, make sure you know how much space is available before you leap. Otherwise, you could face an incredible shrinking C: drive, right out of the box.

This story, "Microsoft's Surface Pro: How much usable storage?," was originally published at Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow on Twitter.

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