How to give the Surface Pro's storage a boost

Two quick and simple ways to add gigabytes of additional storage to the Surface Pro, along with one idea that you should definitely not try.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft's Surface Pro tablets come in two storage capacities—64GB and 128GB—but for some people this is not enough. So how can proud new Surface Pro owners bump the storage capacity of their tablet? Here are two ways, along with a way that you almost certainly shouldn't try.

Cloud storage

One of the quickest and easiest ways to boost the storage capacity of a Surface Pro is to go wireless and rely on cloud storage. You can go with Microsoft's SkyDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, or any number of other options. If one doesn't offer enough storage capacity, then you'll either have to pay for more storage, or sign up with another free cloud provider.

While cloud storage is an increasingly popular option, thanks to the low cost and ease of access, cloud storage isn't for everyone. At minimum, it relies on the user having access to the cloud whenever they need access to their data, and if they handle a lot of data, they will also need a relatively fast connection. Downloading a 100MB sales document or presentation file over 3G or a slow Wi-Fi connection can be a painful—albeit enlightening—experience.

Small USB flash drives

As awesome as cloud storage is, you can't beat having the data that you need with you when you're on the road. And thanks to stratospheric increases in storage densities, you can pack gigabytes of storage into a tiny space.

Take, for example, the Sandisk Cruzer Fit. These diminutive flash drives are no bigger than a fingernail yet come in capacities ranging from 4GB to 32GB. These drives are so small, and so unobtrusive, that you can plug one into a spare USB port and almost forget that it's there.

(Source: ZDNet)

They're not expensive either, with some retailers offering the 32GB version for under $20.

Gone are they days of flash drives having to be the size of a finger. These things are tiny.

One word of warning if you do decide to boost the capacity of your device with a USB flash drive—especially tiny one. Remember that these drives are easily lost or stolen, and if the data you store on them is important, then you should use strong encryption to protect your data. That way, if the drive does fall into the wrong hands, you're only down the drive, and don't have to worry about the data stored on it.

[UPDATE: Some have noted that small SSD drives in USB enclosures could also be used. While this will work, they're a bit for tablet use. But if you're happy carrying something pocket-sized around with you, then they're a great solution.]

What not to do

OK, I've given you two ways you can use to boost the storage capacity of your Surface Pro, now here's something you definitely shouldn't try at home.

The drive inside the Surface Pro is a standard mSATA SSD, which might get you thinking about taking your Surface Pro apart and swapping it out for a bigger one.

Don't even think about it!

Microsoft used copious quantities of tar-like adhesive to hold the tablet together, a mess which required the iFixit team to use a heat gun and a handful of guitar picks to gain access to the guts of the device.

(Source: iFixit)

So, while it's technically possible to replace the drive, in practice it's far from easy, and one misstep could mean a ruined Surface Pro tablet.

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