Windows 10 Will Soon Reserve Storage for Seamless Updates

Posted on January 9, 2019 by Mehedi Hassan in Windows, Windows 10 with 27 Comments

Microsoft is working on a new feature for Windows 10 that will ensure seamless Windows Updates. The upcoming update for Windows 10, version 19H1, will introduce a new feature called Reserved Storage.

Windows will essentially reserve at least 7GB of storage for things like temporary files, apps, caches, and Windows Updates. The idea behind the feature is to make sure your device keeps functioning more “reliably”. It will put aside 7GB of storage from your device for temporary files to make sure your regular, free space does not get impacted.

This will help make sure Windows Updates are carried out seamlessly. As updates use a bunch of temporary files, Windows will first use the reserved storage and then use your actual free space if needed. This will make sure you don’t have to free up any of your “own” disk space as Windows will try to make the best use of the reserved storage.

The feature works by reserving 7GB from your main drive, say C: so Windows will report that the amount of free space available has gone down by 7GB once the feature is available. The amount of free space available to regular applications will, therefore, decline by 7GB, but “servicing” will be able to use the 7GB for things like Windows Update.

The amount of storage that is used by Windows 10 depends on things like how many optional features you have enabled, or how many languages you have installed on your device. Microsoft says the feature will initially use 7GB for the reserved storage, though that may change in the future. You will be able to check how much storage is reserved by Windows 10 from the Settings app, however.

Although the addition of the new feature sounds like a good idea, it may not work too well for low-end devices where storage is limited to 32GB or 64GB. These devices already don’t have a ton of space available, so reducing that even further by 7GB could really make life hard for users who have a device that only has 32GB or 64GB of storage.

I feel like there should be an option to reduce the amount of reserve storage that is available to Windows.

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Comments (27)

27 responses to “Windows 10 Will Soon Reserve Storage for Seamless Updates”

  1. André Kittler

    It would be great if MS checked your disk first and on 32/64/128G drivers they disabled this feature, and just checked the free space BEFORE installing the update.

    But this is an idea from a time where I did own my hardware and OS. Not applicable Windows 10 unfortunately.

    Take my free space MS. I know it does not belongs to me anyway. Thanks for letting me use it for all this time.

    I use a language pack, so please, can you be happy with only 10G on 2019? I beg you.

    • warren

      In reply to Andre_Kittler:

      The problem with this is..... when do you check for free disk space?

      Before the update downloads?

      After the update downloads but before it starts installing?

      After the update starts the first phase of installation (before the first reboot)?

      After the update finishes the first installation phase, but before the machine is rebooted?

      After the first reboot?

      What if the disk fills up while downloading or installing the update? I actually did this recently -- installed a game from Steam while the feature update was running in the background. (Remember that as of 1803, most of the feature update install happens before the first reboot.... that's how they were able to reduce the offline time by, like, half.) The game doesn't work if it isn't installed on the C: drive, and it requires 70+GB.

      And if you wait until after the first reboot.... well, that's long after you've already taken up most of the disk space you'll need!

  2. navarac

    Needs to have an off switch IMO

  3. CTaylor

    This is one of the dumbest ideas I have heard in a long time.

    If I have oodles of disk space, there is no reason for Microsoft to "permanently" steal 7 GB of space.

    If I am low on disk space, there is no way I want Microsoft to "permanently" steal 7 GB of space.

    If this is done in a way that my image backups have to back up this totally useless space, I will be doubly pissed off!

    What is needed (IMNSHO) is; when a update is coming, Microsoft checks my available disk space and tells me if there may be a problem applying the update and lets me take care of the problem.

    How arrogant to think it is appropriate to steal 7 GB of disk space.

  4. Jorge Garcia

    OH GOD IT IS ABOUT TIME. Windows 10 is a nightmare for anyone who made the "mistake" of buying low-end 32GB PCs and thinking that MS would certainly figure out how to make their OS work on that amount of space for a reasonable amount of time...well they didn't. Even one of my 64GB devices does nothing but secretly download updates and chew up all my disk space day in and day out. It's maddening. They need a sub-12GB "Windows Lite". You can blame me for being cheap, but I still expect cheap products to function somewhat, as I imagine the people still buying 32GB windows machines in 2019 do as well. Shame on Microsoft.

  5. illuminated

    This is awesome. Theoretically I love this feature. Waiting for updates to complete is such a waste of time.

    Now we really should not have to worry about disk space in 2019. It is time to stop pretending that PC is something with only 64 GB disk and 4 GB of RAM. These are phone specs. There should be no PCs or tablets that have such low specs.

  6. hrlngrv

    Can this be disabled or not?

    I run Insider builds in a virtual machine with a fairly limited virtual HDD (40GB) in order to see how it works with minimal storage. I have a new build routine in which I delete the previous build if the new one works well enough. I know firsthand that trying to upgrade with insufficient storage is a headache typical Windows users don't want, so I can appreciate why MSFT is doing this. However, it was already a little laughable that MSFT claimed Windows 10 could run from 32GB HDDs, so reserving and additional 7GB for updates/upgrades would make 32GB completely ridiculous.

    Anyway, wouldn't MSFT be better off adding a partition to its normal fresh install configuration just for this? By now Windows PC users should be used to 500GB drives with 450GB or lower total storage on the C: drive. This would reduce that to 443GB, but it'd look like Windows wasn't using close to 20GB.

  7. Darekmeridian

    Strange they use 7GB when the entire ISO is only 4GB

    • wright_is

      In reply to Darekmeridian:

      4GB compressed. And we are talking about updates and temporary files. For a feature update, you need a couple of GB for the download image, probably double that for the expanded data and then more space for replacing the working files and temporary scratch area. That all adds up.

  8. justme

    As long as there is an off feature (meaning I can switch this off)....

  9. glenn8878

    If you have a 32 GB or 64 GB device, you’re out of luck. I gotten rid of my Dell mini tablet a long time ago. I can’t update it or use it without storage space. You can add extra storage for files with a SD card, but it doesn’t work for system files or apps. Windows is not the OS for mobile devices. It never was so Microsoft should either bring back Windows Phone for Tablets or expect all Tablets to have a minimum of 128 GB.

    • skane2600

      In reply to glenn8878:

      This is a fundamental flaw in the whole Windows as a Service strategy. The size of the Windows OS over time is completely unknown but the amount of storage available to the OS in a device is often fixed.

  10. hometoy

    It would be great if you could adjust the amount of space that is set aside, or reduces it to 3.5 or 4 GB when on a smaller-storage device.

    So they took a step forward for smaller-storage systems by allowing OneDrive to keep everything in the cloud until you want to use the file, and then a step back by taking even more space than you get with OneDrive for temp and updates.

    Don't get me wrong, it is a good solution for keeping things stable and smooth. I just need to get a bigger hard drive.

  11. agilefrog

    Seems like a tacit admission that the "download an entire ISO image" process for Windows updates is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Whatever happened to delta-differencing?

    • Dan1986ist

      In reply to agilefrog:

      Those updates aka feature updates are entirely new versions of Windows 10 that go out currently to those testing 19H1, compared to the cumulative ones that people on the shipping version get.

  12. Jacob Klein

    It sounds like the new feature will not be automatically turned on for most users who are upgrading to 19H1. So ... most users won't get to use the feature, to my knowledge.

    "Reserved storage will be introduced automatically on devices that come with version 1903 pre-installed or those where 1903 was clean installed."

  13. harmjr

    I think this is great. More reason to make 128gb the smallest size for Windows 10 PC.

    Time to say good bye to 32gb and 64gb devices.

  14. FalseAgent

    does this mean seamless updates exactly like how it was deployed on Android and ChromeOS? If true, that's exciting....this alone might make me want to do a fresh install of Windows, which is something I haven't done since Windows 8.

  15. harrymyhre

    Finally finally finally!

    Storage is relatively cheap these days.

    Glad to see windows getting this feature.

  16. CaedenV

    I am excited for this. Google Chrome has 2 copies of the OS on board, and when you do a major update, it updates the inactive copy in the background with no end-user impact. When the update is ready you restart and you get the update right away without needing to go through a big long install process. If the update fails, or causes problems, then you fail back to the first copy.

    Granted... Chrome OS is like 4GB, where Windows is ~20GB, but this is still a good direction for MS to head in to make the update process easier and more reliable.

    Now if we can just get OEMs to stop selling devices that only have 128GB of storage (or less)!

    • Tony Barrett

      In reply to CaedenV:

      I don't think this is how Windows will use the 'extra' space. The problem people have is when upgrade/patches require large amounts of space, which isn't available, or runs out part way through, and that's when things break. MS certainly won't be holding a second copy of Windows like ChromeOS does (which is just great at updating by the way - and seamless).

      No, this will just be Win10 consuming yet more space, alongside it's already bloated footprint full of unwanted apps /features and the every growing, hideous WinSxS folder. For those who bought low powered devices with 32/64GB of eMMC storage, watch out!

      • hrlngrv

        In reply to ghostrider:

        It seems Windows Update doesn't check available storage before launching updates/downloads. However, most users may not have sensible ideas about what to move off C: or delete in order to free up storage.

        As for WinSxS, many files in it are hardlinks, meaning the file's contents are stored once on disk but appear in multiple directories. It's not the space waster it seems to be.

  17. cricwarrior

    Wow Nice.

    Thanks for this valuable information from Cricwarrior