Windows 10 Version 1903 Requires at Least 32 GB of Storage

Posted on April 25, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 40 Comments

Microsoft has for the first time raised the minimum storage requirement for Windows 10, in version 1903, to 32 GB for both 32-bit and 64-bit PCs.

This information, which was first spotted by Pureinfotech, can be found on the Windows 10 minimum hardware requirements website.

Previously, 32-bit versions of Windows 10 required at least 16 GB of storage while 64-bit versions required 20 GB. Both of those tiny allotments are, of course, ludicrous and always were. As I noted in the Windows 10 Field Guide, you will want more storage than that. A lot more. And the type of storage you get matters as well.

“I recommend at least 128 GB of fast SSD storage, and not the slower eMMC-style storage that is still found on some low-end PCs,” I note in the book.” Depending on your needs, you may find that 256 GB or more of storage is preferable.”

Obviously, the 16, 20, and 32 GB storage allotments are not aimed at real PCs. Instead, Microsoft is still maintaining the fiction that Windows 10 might be used on a smaller, simpler mobile device. But given the way storage is trending, I’m surprised it took so long to get to 32 GB. And I see a 64 GB minimum happening in the near future.

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Comments (40)

40 responses to “Windows 10 Version 1903 Requires at Least 32 GB of Storage”

  1. skane2600

    The problems that may arise will be the result of Microsoft deciding to release multiple versions of Windows without bumping the official version number each time and forced updates. Not being able to run Windows XP on a Windows 95 PC was legitimate, but not being able to run Windows 10 on a Windows 10 PC is not.

  2. codymesh

    Pretty sure the OS itself didn't grow in size, but rather, it's the new update partition that raised the space requirements.

  3. Dan1986ist

    32 GB of storage minimum as in the total size of the internal storage drive, the partition on the drive which Windows 10 is installed, or the free space on the C:/ drive? Which does this requirement for 1903 refer to?

  4. waethorn

    If you need a lean, modern 32-bit Windows 10 OS baseline without Windows Store app support, especially for a VM, it's pretty easy to get the install footprint down to 5GB. The minimum allowable system configuration for 32-bit Windows 8 & 10 images has been 16GB. That's still the case with 1903. Just don't expect all the telemetry and craptacular background productivity-killing "features" to be there.

    It's a good option if you want to have a slim but updated Win32 environment but only have Windows 10 Home or Pro licenses and can't afford a special Enterprise LTSC license agreement. Now with Windows 10 Home having options to delay updates, you can have a cheap OS image that gets recent updates, but hopefully more stable than the public beta-test that is the standard release channel.

  5. glenn8878

    It’s less lean. What happened? They’re not even trying to offer the same features of a mobile device that offers much more functionality in a smaller space. No messaging except if you have Outlook. Did they give up on Skype? Tablet features? Peachy.

  6. IanYates82

    How does this work with the WIM format for Windows installs? I've never had such an installation, but IIRC there's a compressed image of Windows on the disk and then just the differences from that image is what's stored. Is that still in use at all or did it fall by the wayside (and perhaps prompt this increase in storage required)?

  7. Thomas Parkison

    Ah yes, eMMC storage; the bastard step-child of REAL SSDs. They look like SSDs, they smell like SSDs, but when you put them through their paces they don't even come within a galactic parsec of the performance of a real SSD; even a SATA SSD let alone an NVMe SSD.

    • waethorn

      In reply to trparky:

      Still better than spinning rust, and by a large margin. SSD's have heavy-duty controllers. eMMC doesn't. eMMC controllers are so lightweight that they are often built right into an SoC, but you won't find any NVMe SSD controller functionality built into an SoC.

  8. red.radar

    A full Linux desktop system installs in a fraction of that. Why does windows need so much space ? Is it legacy api’s ?

    • skane2600

      In reply to red.radar:

      The answer depends on, among other things, what a "full Linux desktop system" includes. You really need to compare Windows to a specific Linux distro since both size and capabilities of distros vary immensely.

    • longhorn

      In reply to red.radar:

      There is no 32-bit subsystem in 64-bit Linux so that will save some space. Windows (8)/10 is very bloated compared to previous Windows versions, but it's a hybrid OS so maybe it shouldn't be compared to regular desktop OSes. Add to that space for upgrades and old versions.

      Windows LTSC 32-bit is probably the lightest version of Windows 10 that will ever be released and after that Windows LTSC 64-bit. I'm not counting Windows IoT because it isn't really a desktop OS.

  9. peterh_oz

    Requiring 32Gb is not the same as using 32Gb. The size might remain basically the same, they're just requiring extra storage space so you can actually use the device for both storage and apps/programs and still have room for updates (which need temporary storage space before and during the installation process).

  10. peterh_oz

    Requiring 32Gb is not the same as using 32Gb. The size might remain basically the same, they're just requiring extra storage space so you can actually use the device for both storage and apps/programs and still have room for updates (which need temporary storage space before and during the installation process).

  11. frostywinnipeg

    Really wish 4/64 was the minimum for memory/storage.

  12. judge

    My drive was 56GB free in 81GB C drive partition. Before I update Windows10 Home 64bit, I have Firefox, Chrome and Spybots only. When Updating Windows10 slow ring Insiders on 2 weeks ago, it was too slow, took several hours downloading to 70% installation and ended error updating. Then my temporary files in my drive was exploded to 57GB which all my space in that partition is full.

    Yesterday I had full reset on Windows and tried to update again. The same problem happened again, Windows10 had exploded my drive to full again and error when installation is 70% only.

    At this moment, It seems Windows needs at least 120GB drive to work because Windows license validity requirement to update within 18 months. The update 1 year ago was not so much so I predict Windows need at least 160GB drive in next 12 months update. Do we need 1TB drive for Windows in 6 years time?

  13. Patrick Wingert

    So all new Laptop machines should have 1Tb Nvme SSDs

  14. fishnet37222

    I can't even conceive of using Windows on any device with less than 500GB of storage.

  15. martinusv2

    Why Microsoft still make Windows 10 32-bit?

  16. George Semple

    Guess that means 1809 will be the last version for my HP Stream 7 (which I will add has had more than adequte performance for the single use case I have for the device).

  17. falken

    I doubt that installation size will be much bigger... they simply allow more headroom required for the big updates. Win10 improved partitions clever live imaging so much that I was able to install them even on 16GB system where Win8 was impossible. Sure, its then almost smart terminal only...

  18. Tony Barrett

    There are a LOT of budget laptops out there with 32GB eMMC storage, which translates to about 27GB usable, and they were sold as Win10 capable devices. It's going to get real cosy on those systems!

    • warren

      In reply to ghostrider:

      Two things about that.

      1) SSD's have halved in price in the last 6 months. We're at a point now where a 240GB SSD costs $30.

      2) It's usually Microsoft that has to force vendors into improving the low-end; requiring 32GB at minimum will finally kill off the 32GB eMMC trend.

  19. Chris Payne

    So much for trying to shrink Windows' footprint. I guess they gave up on that initiative?

  20. Scott Ross

    Looks like my winbook 8 is now officially obsolete. Maybe I should put linux on it or maybe wait to see what happens if Windows lite would be an alternative.

  21. train_wreck

    I don’t run Windows, but on my main machine’s 120GB SSD, i have 29.8GB free.

    32GB seems like an awful lot to require...

  22. John Jackson

    "Instead, Microsoft is still maintaining the fiction that Windows 10 might be used on a smaller, simpler mobile device."

    Fine for many people: Paul and MSFT will soon be telling us how desirable Windows S or LITE is for basic users in another post.

    There are plenty of 32GB eMMC tablets and low-end laptops which perform perfectly adequately with W10 and will last for a few more years yet.

    A small OS disk … complemented by direct-connected USB external drives or network storage for bulk data … is a typical, highly effective design strategy.

    I also find it more than a coincidence that additional USB storage will no longer work: adding this allowed one to install W10 on devices where main storage was deemed deficient. Sounds like an old device cull to me!

    32GB is way more than Windows will need for some time.

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