Is 64GB storage enough for a Windows RT tablet?

Is 64GB storage enough for a Windows RT tablet?

Summary: As we create and carry around with us more and more digital detritus, is the maximum of 64GB of storage available on Windows RT tablets going to be enough once users start throwing software and files at it?


Time to address a Windows RT tablet-related question from a reader who's concerned about storage.

I'm noticing that Windows RT tablets seem to be offered with 32GB or 64GB of storage, while Windows 8 Pro systems go up to 256GB. Surely 64GB of storage on a Windows machine is going to get awfully cramped awfully quickly?

You're right about the fact that the Windows RT tablets announced so far seem to come with 32GB or 64GB of storage.

Take the Samsung ATIV Tab or Microsoft's Surface RT, for example; both of these are powered by Windows RT will come with 32GB or 64GB of storage. Compare this to their Windows 8 Pro cousins -- the ATIV Smart PC Pro and Surface Pro -- which will ship with 128GB and 256GB, respectively.

In a video that ZDNet's Ed Bott shot the other day of the ATIV Tab, you can clearly see that in what appears to be stock state the tablet only has 12.4GB free out of 23.4GB.

12GB plus change doesn't seem like a lot of storage. And for a x86-powered system, it's not; but remember that these Windows RT tablets aren't x86 systems and the only place you're going to be getting software for them is from the Windows Store.

While a software suite like Adobe's Master Collection CS 6 or a game like Batman: Arkham City can easily chew through 12GB, you're not going to be able to install this software on an ARM-powered tablet. The software that's going to be available from the Windows Store is going to be a lot gentler on storage space.

Another point worth remembering is that the Office 2013 suite is preinstalled on Windows RT devices, so you won't need to factor in storage space for this -- if Office is your thing; if not, then Microsoft just wasted more of your precious storage space. For most mobile enterprise users -- the target audience for Windows RT tablets -- the storage offered will be more than adequate.

If you're the sort of person that wants to carry all your digital life with you, then Windows RT tablets aren't for you, and you're probably better off with a Windows 8 Pro tablet, or a full notebook.

Gallery: Microsoft Surface tablet

Image source: ZDNet.

Topics: Tablets, Hardware, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Windows

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  • Your forgot the SD and USB storage...

    that can increase the amount of junk a person wants to keep.
    Has 64 GB hampered the iPad?
    • Apple have 30GB available to you in its 32GB version.

      MS offer you 13GB in 32GB version.

      Pick your choice, but do not forget that Apple offer more than twice space for the same price :P

      On the other hand SD will be good, but for full judgment lets wait and see if SD will be treated as normal space or if some hoops will be needed for it to be fully integrated.

      And lets not forget that Win space to date was only growing. WinRT should do better, but if it take even 10% more space after some time its hard blow for 32GB owners.
  • Heard about USB?

    I can attach a 3 terrabyte HD to Win RT via USB... how cool is that.
    • Gee, another THING to carry around

      Pretty soon you'll have 10lbs worth of accessories for your bag. How cool is that.
      Cylon Centurion
    • Re: Heard about USB?

      Windows RT doesn’t support USB 3.0, only USB 2.0.
      • So it won't be blazing fast

        but it's still possible. Any disk will be USB2 compatible and will work. Not really something you're likely to want to do with Windows RT but it's nice to have the option :-)
        • USB 3.0 is pretty standard, nowadays

          There's no excuse not to have it, except from slavering windoze fanbuis making up excuses for it's technical failing.
          Cylon Centurion
          • USB? iPads got no stinking USB.

            Or SD card expansion. So, it must be a technical failure.
          • Oh I agree with you on that particular point

            Cylon Centurion
          • Re: iPads got no stinking USB.

            You need to try one, to find out, it seems.

            The iPad of course has both an USB port and an SD card port. These are found on the external Apple Camera Connection Kit (and on a number of dirt cheap third party kits as well).

            Yes, you are correct. It is an external attachment, for the times when you need either USB or SD interfaces. Most of the time, on an iPad, you don't. So not building these inside the devices provides you with less weight, more battery runtime (those chips consume power even when "off") and space for more battery in the same slim case. How cool is that?
  • Skydrive for Data

    So far, it appears that MS is looking to have users use Skydrive for most of your data needs, but the Skydrive app does syncing of all data not just specific folders. 64GB might be fine for regular users if the storage options on the competitive systems (iOS, Android) are any indication. For regular users who might install up to 100 apps it might be fine. For more advanced users (who will probably pick Windows 8 Pro) they will pick x86 tablets and have the larger storage options and still have access to their Skydrive option which can be increased. The big problem I have is that you should be able to sync specific folders in the Skydrive app.
    • Skydrive allows you to choose what to sync.

      I have Skydrive and only the folders I allow to sync do so.
  • 64 GBs is the sweet spot but can still be cramped.

    Considering that Windows RT is more consumption devices, it likely means you will not be storing a lot of music, videos on it. Instead through the Cloud integration you probably will have that data in online lockers such as Skydrive and stream video through HULU and vimeo. So it really depends, you really need to know that you are going to do with the device. If you will be heavily invested in x86 apps and you like to have a lot of your data stored locally and be with you wherever you go, then a Windows RT device is not for you.
    • Good point.

      I think the x86 tablets will be more popular for that reason. I'm not sure if the world is ready for a consumption only version of windows. That being said I will probably own one of each. (x86 provided by my company.)
  • Meh....

    Rt has support for MicroSD right?
    Add a 64 GB MicroSD chip and get on with your life.
  • Is 64GB storage enough for a Windows RT tablet?

    Yes its enough for the local device. Then if you need more you can either choose to use SkyDrive or get better at organizing your files.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Well considering all the porn you download

      I don't see how that's possible. Unless your mommy caught you.

      Cylon Centurion
  • Was this a production release of the ATIV?

    We already know that touch mode in Office was not enabled and certainly will be once these are on the store shelves. This suggests that what people saw was a pre production version. I'd be surprised if the base OS and Office took 10GB of space on the production version. Not saying it won't, just that I'd be surprised.

    "12GB plus change doesn't seem like a lot of storage"

    Where did the missing 8GB go? If this was the 32GB version, why does it show capacity as being only 24GB? So even IF Windows + Office took 10GB of space, the production version of the 32GB ATIV should have 22GB free.

    I'm guessing that an OOTB 32GB Windows RT tablet will have at least 25GB free.
    • My guess,

      Maybe the other 8gb is a recovery partition.
      • Really?

        The recovery partition for Windows RT is bigger than the recovery partition being put on laptops with Windows 7 on them?
        Michael Alan Goff