Microsoft’s bloated Windows RT eats 16GB of Surface tablet

“Windows has a bad rep for gobbling up storage space on PCs. Ditto Surface,” Brooke Crothers reports for CNET.

“The $499 32GB Surface tablet actually leaves you with only 16GB free storage space for things like music, photos, and videos, according to Microsoft documentation,” Crothers reports. “So, what’s devouring all of that flash storage space? On a 32GB Surface, Windows reports 29GB available. Subtract 5GB for Windows recovery tools, then another 8GB for Windows RT, Microsoft Office, and built-in apps.”

Crothers reports, “That leaves 16GB for the user.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Garbage with a kickstand. Windows Weight, indeed. Now you know why there’s no 16GB version of Microsoft’s latest store shelving dust collector.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “LAGR” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
InfoWorld reviews Microsoft Surface RT: A disappointment; you’re better off with Apple’s iPad – October 31, 2012
Acer delays Windows RT tablets; adopts ‘wait and see’ approach after poor Surface RT reviews – October 30, 2012
Gizmodo reviews Microsoft Surface RT: Do not buy; inferior to Apple’s iPad; the worst of both worlds – October 25, 2012
The Verge reviews Microsoft Surface RT tablet: ‘The whole thing is honestly perplexing; who is this for?’ – October 24, 2012
Analyst: Microsoft’s Surface RT tablet priced too high, could be the next Zune – October 18, 2012
Dvorak: ‘Microsoft’s Surface tablet isn’t the Apple iPad, so it shouldn’t be priced like one’ – October 18, 2012
Microsoft inexplicably claims Surface RT tablet lower resolution screen beats iPad with Retina display – October 17, 2012
Microsoft Surface RT tablet Wi-Fi-only; 32GB for $599 with, $499 without keyboard, $699 for 64GB – October 16, 2012
Microsoft airs first TV ad for Surface tablet (with video) – October 15, 2012
Apple’s ‘iPad mini’ to obliterate Microsoft’s Windows 8, Surface RT tablet launches – October 13, 2012
Acer CEO to Microsoft: ‘Think twice’ about Surface tablets – August 7, 2012
Microsoft Surface tablet pricing leaked; US$1,000 for ‘cheapest’ Windows RT model – July 26, 2012
Ballmer: Uh, yeah, ‘Surface is just a design point,’ you know – July 10, 2012
Microsoft’s Buffoon, er… Ballmer throws down gauntlet against Apple – July 10, 2012
Microsoft reportedly dumps ‘VaporMg’ chassis, will use ‘VaporMg’ only as ‘surface treatment’ – July 9, 2012
Microsoft’s downfall: Inside the executive e-mails and cannibalistic culture that fueled Microsoft’s lost decade – July 7, 2012
HP said to dump Microsoft over Surface; to cozy up to Google Android for tablet efforts – July 2, 2012
Bad news for Microsoft’s iPad killer? – July 2, 2012
Dear Microsoft, Steve Balmer and Bill Gates: What is up with your obsession with keyboards? – June 28, 2012
Jason Schwarz: Top 10 reasons why Microsoft’s Surface is DOA – June 22, 2012
Why I love Microsoft’s vaporware Surface tablet – June 22, 2012
Microsoft’s Surface tablet said to be Wi-Fi only at launch; no 4G, no 3G, no 2G, not even 1G – June 22, 2012
Microsoft outsources Surface assembly to Pegatron; prices above $799 for Windows 8, above $599 for Windows RT expected – June 21, 2012
Acer founder: Microsoft will quit making tablets soon – June 21, 2012
Devastating video shows Microsoft’s Surface event aping Steve Jobs’ iPad unveiling (with video) – June 20, 2012
Thanks to Apple, Microsoft is doomed in the era of mobile computing – June 20, 2012
Why wouldn’t Microsoft let anyone touch its Surface tablets’ keyboard cover? – June 20, 2012
The cost of Microsoft’s Surface tablets – June 20, 2012
Apple’s revolutionary iPad vs. Microsoft’s anti-tablet ‘Surface’ – June 20, 2012
Microsoft’s Surface tablets provokes ‘sense of betrayal’ among Windows PC assemblers – June 20, 2012
Fox News: Copier Microsoft is doomed to fail with Surface tablet – June 19, 2012
Microsoft’s Surface tablet destined to be as successful as the Zune – June 19, 2012
Surface: Why Microsoft’s big mystery turns out to be a big mistake – June 19, 2012
Microsoft’s Suicide, er… ‘Surface’ – June 19, 2012
ZDNet Sr. Tech Editor Perlow: Microsoft’s Surface has catastrophe written all over it – June 19, 2012
Microsoft previews own ‘Surface’ tablet – June 18, 2012
Microsoft touts ‘major’ June 18 event said to showcase Windows RT tablets – June 15, 2012
ZDNet’s Kingsley-Hughes: Microsoft’s Windows 8 is an awful, horrible, painful design disaster – June 8, 2012
Analyst meets with big computer maker, finds ‘general lack of enthusiasm’ for Windows 8 – June 8, 2012
Dvorak: Windows 8 an unmitigated disaster; unusable and annoying; it makes your teeth itch – June 3, 2012
The Guardian: Microsoft’s Windows 8 is confusing as hell; an appalling user experience – March 5, 2012
More good news for Apple: Microsoft previews Windows 8 (with video) – June 1, 2011


  1. They do provide memory card slots and USB ports so should not be a problem as long as they give a good user experience while using the Tablet. Picked up a windows 8 for my PC and it certainly is a pretty interesting concept with the tiles. And the apps are pretty smooth without any lag or hanging quite similar to my ipad2 at least to the naked eye, Certainly better than any Android device for sure.

        1. And I want to go back to 2004 because why?

          My iPad doesn’t have an SD slot because I don’t need SD cards to store my music, movies, photos, apps, contacts, etc. etc.

          1. Buying a SD card will be a lot cheaper than buying cloud space with apple if ever you run out of space on your ipad and the free cloud space.
            I agree with you I too prefer my 64Gb ipad without any slots and find it sufficient too. But different people have different choice. Some like it some don’t.

            1. But doesn’t iCloud not count towards allotted storage, photos, music, movies, TV shows, and Apps or basically anything purchased on their iTunes? So that leaves the supplied free 5 GBs for other stuff. And outside of photos, music, TV shows, movies and Apps, what other stuff would one have that would require huge storage requirements… for a tablet?

            2. You’re not seeing the big picture…

              The future objective is to eliminate the need for a computer at all.

              In order for that to be a possibility, the cloud will need to become much larger, in order to accommodate all the files that currently live on our computers.

    1. Yeah, that’s pretty funny, Nishanth!

      Microsoft’s “tablet” has a keyboard.
      And a kickstand.
      And needs a mouse to run Office.
      And can be made semi-usable by attaching USB memory sticks.
      And memory cards.
      Ooo! Convenient!

      Microsoft’s so-called “tablet” isn’t even a decent laptop.

      1. Well I try to humor people all the time ha ha.

        I thought the keyboard is optional don’t buy one if you don’t want one.
        If you want more memory using external memory then you can pick up a 64GB surface if you want 😉

        Dont know about office on Surface, if one really needs a mouse to use it.

        I have a iPad2, a 4s and a windows 8 PC, and it works for me.

        I don’t believe in being critical just for the sake of being critical, it is a good product it might not be up there with ipad but nothing is stopping them from that, except maybe Steve Balmer :).
        There are people who do prefer certain products and they might not be necessarily from Apple or Microsoft.

        1. Nice try at disingenuousness, Nishanth, but it’s no secret that Microsoft’s “tablet”, as a tablet, cannot run Microsoft Office:

          “…Surface tablet, … not a very good Office appliance. One reason is that the hardware doesn’t work well for Office, even with the bundled keyboard cover, because the Office apps are nearly unusable with the touchscreen and just so-so with the keyboard’s trackpad. You’ll want a laptop’s superior input hardware if you do a lot of Office work. Even then, you’ll suffer from the poor Windows touch environment, where text selection is difficult, gestures are limited, and the heavy reliance on menus is interruptive.”
          “If you’re looking just for a tablet, not an Office appliance, the Surface is also a disappointment,” Gruman writes. … You can do a lot more with an iPad… It’s ironic that Microsoft’s premier touch device needs a traditional keyboard and trackpad to make Office useful.”

          But you already knew that, Nishanth, AKA: TROLL. AKA: “Weekend”.

          1. Geez man, calm down. There will be reviews for or against any product, In the end Consumer will buy what suits them, and Office is supposedly in beta right now so maybe they might fix certain things before the final release. Even Siri was released as a beta with the iphone and Microsoft is famous for tripping up on their initial releases so very often, so they are not out of character anyway.
            Just saying that one cannot just ignore a particular product or company just because you love Apple products so much.

            1. I don’t know that anyone here hates Microsoft because they love Apple. I for one, hate Microsoft because I hate Microsoft. They’re a pretty terrible company but besides that, their products are consistently sh!t. They’re running mantra is, “the next version will be better!” but it never is.

              They fooled most of the world with that idiocy from 95′ till now. Now they barely even have to try and fool anyone, they have a Microsoft tax on most computers sold so they don’t even have to pretend anymore. They just churn out the same sh!t and know people will have to buy it, or risk losing compatibility with whomever was stupid enough to go with Microsoft in the first place.

    2. while providing external storage capability is convenient, it sounds like they should promote it as 16gb. Otherwise advertise it at a price including cost of an SD card to get at least 28gb.

    3. And like all other windows operating systems, as time goes by, they will get slower and slower where you need to wipe and re-install to make it run at a decent speed. Everyone who has a windows machine knows that…

    1. And, if you buy the keyboard cover too, you end up with a Franken-notebook…or a wierdly “enhanced” tablet…or whatever!

      Life is too short, Windows sufferers. Get an MBA or MBP if you want a laptop and get an iPad if you want a tablet form factor.

        1. Jesse’s short list of over-used and often misused terms in the tech press:

          form factor (no one has listed other factors)
          media as a singular word (media is the plural of medium)

  2. Only looking at the numbers 16 GB free out of 32 GB makes you not wishing one. Let alone the bloated kind of thing that’s inside.

    Like when you buy a 5 seat car but 2 seats are already used up. How come?

  3. If there is this much bloat in the (supposedly efficient) “RT” version of Windows, I can imagine how bad the bloat is in the “real” Windows 8.

    And aren’t supposed to be Intel-based tablets that run Windows 8. 64GB with 32GB left over for user storage?

  4. Just tested a Surface today. Microsoft is very close to having a very nice device.

    I could not believe the number of people in the Scottsdale Microsoft store seriously looking at the Surface until I went in and tested one. No wonder the store was crowded.

    If I did not already have an iPad 3 and a iMac. I would be very tempted to purchase a Surface. The keyboard tactile feedback keyboard is by far the best tablet keyboard I have ever used.

    Microsoft just might find a niche between the iPad and the Air.

    If competition brings innovation, then we are in for some neat new products over the next year!

    1. Although I like Apple’s USB and Bluetooth keyboards for the desktop (that could also be used for the iPad and iPhone) better for everyday typing, I have to admit, Microsoft’s portable cover keyboard doesn’t suck like I thought it would. They may actually have something with that keyboard.

      To have an actual opinion about the rest of it, I would have to have more than the “Surface” time I had to play with it.

    2. “I could not believe the number of people in the Scottsdale Microsoft store seriously looking at the Surface until I went in and tested one. No wonder the store was crowded.”

      – Bullshit, Old Tech.

      This weekend, I went to a Microsoft pop-up store in Toronto with a friend and his 12 year old. In the centre of this urban density of over 6 million people, at the Microsoft “store”, there was a massive line-up of … 8 people.
      It took us less that a minute to get our hands on Microsoft’s premier tablet product.

      “The keyboard tactile feedback keyboard is by far the best tablet keyboard I have ever used.”
      – Well then you’ve never used any other tablet keyboard anywhere. We all commented on the keyboard’s cheap feeling. 12 year-old said, “This feels like crap.”

      “If competition brings innovation …”
      – Neither to be found from Microsoft at this time with this product.

      “Microsoft just might find a niche between the iPad and the Air.”
      – Actually, Microsoft has found a niche between a recycle bin and a dumpster.

      Nice try, “Old Tech”, AKA: “Nishanth”, AKA: “Weekend”, but your moron pants are showing.
      Your mommy’s calling you. Your bath is ready. Don’t forget to wash behind your ears.

      1. Well looky who is behaving like a sissy here..NHL needs a anti depressant to help him keep his shitty mouth shut..Surely your friend will not allow his 12 year old anywhere near you without supervision that is why he tagged along.

  5. I can see taking up a lot of space with Office as long as it isn’t a scaled down version, is it?

    5GB’s for recovery tools?!?!?
    Is that for a dedicated recovery RAM drive?

  6. Ok, let me understand this. You pay $500.00 for the 32 gb version, but only really have 16 gb for storage? You do have the option to pay more money for an sd card to get more storage, but the iPad you already get after every thing is said and done around 13.5 gb of user storage plus iCloud for all your music, documents, etc. Microsoft thinks it can charge people Apple prices for their under powered junk. This really insults windows users.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.