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A “Compact Footprint”: Windows 10 Will Save On Disk Space

A "Compact Footprint": Windows 10 Will Save On Disk SpaceIn a blog post, Microsoft states Windows 10 employs “two separate and independent approaches for achieving a compact footprint”, leveraging an efficient compression algorithm to compress system files, while recovery enhancements have removed the requirement for a separate recovery image.

Microsoft states with current builds, Windows can efficiently compress system files, giving back approximately 1.5 GB storage for 32-bit and 2.6 GB storage for 64-bit Windows systems.

Smartphones, also, will be able to use the same compression algorithm, likewise achieving capacity savings.

Microsoft is also redesigning Windows’ Refresh and Reset functionalities to no longer use a separate recovery image, often preinstalled by manufacturers today, to bring Windows devices “back to a pristine state”.

“This reduces Windows’ storage footprint further as the recovery image on typical devices can range in size from 4 GB to 12 GB, depending on the make and model,” Microsoft states.

“Phones already have a storage-optimised recovery solution, so, unlike compression, this enhancement is only for tablets, laptops and desktops.”

Windows will consider a number of factors when assessing whether a device will use compression or not, with Microsoft stating the amount of RAM a device has is one important factor.

“The amount of RAM a device has determines how often it retrieves system files from storage,” Microsoft states.

“Another important factor is how quickly a device’s CPUs can run the decompression algorithm when retrieving system files. By considering these and other important factors, Windows is able to assess if a device can use compression without reducing human-perceivable responsiveness.”

With a diversity of Windows devices existing, Windows 10 performs the suitability assessment in the upgrade path.  

“If compressed system files will give you storage capacity back without compromising your device’s responsiveness, then upgrade will automatically compress Windows 10,” Microsoft states.

“For new Windows 10 devices, manufacturers perform the suitability assessment and enable system compression appropriately.”