Four years ago, Microsoft gave out the good news that, finally, Windows was losing some weight. Regarded as the most bloated operating system out of the box, Windows 10 shed off a few gigabytes enough for Microsoft to require only 16 GB as the minimum space for OEMs to set aside for it. Now it’s reversing course and is doubling that number but it may actually be for the best this time.
When you put down minimum storage required by the software, hardware makers have no choice but to provide more than that. When Microsoft reduced Windows 10’s requirement down to 16 GB, it allowed OEMs to produce PCs, mostly low-end tablets and mini computers, to have as little as 32 GB. These days, however, even phones have much more than that (except the entry-level ones, of course).
There is also another reason why Microsoft is raising the limit. Earlier this year, it announced it was setting aside 7 GB of “Reserved Storage” to ensure that updates won’t break because the system runs out of memory. With 16 GB set aside for Windows and 7 GB for Reserved Storage, users of 32 GB machines will have just 5 GB or so left for anything else.
Microsoft has now reportedly raised the minimum storage required by Windows 10 to 32 GB, at least starting with the 1903 (May 2019) update. That requirement applies to both 64-bit and the remaining few 32-bit systems. In practice, this would force OEMs to at least have 64 GB of storage in their PCs.
While that won’t be a problem for new systems coming out this year, it could pose a headache for existing ones that only have 32 GB inside. They may not be able to update to version 1903 and will be stuck with version 1809, which expires in 2020. By then, however, it might be time to upgrade from a low-end Windows PC anyway.