Microsoft details Windows 10 space savings

March 17, 2015 // 11:13 a.m.

Tags: #compression #lznt1 #microsoft #ntfs #software #storage #wimboot #windows #windows-10 #windows-threshold

Microsoft has released details of how Windows 10 will do away with the traditional recovery partition, saving its users space - something owners of tablet devices, often limited to as little as 16GB of local storage, will be happy to hear.

Described as an evolution of Windows Image Boot (WIMBOOT), the new deployment configuration introduced with Windows 8.1, Windows 10 will completely do away with having a traditional recovery partition at all. The operating system will instead feature Refresh and Reset functionality which uses the operating system's existing files - meaning that it will be possible to 'refresh' the operating system without losing recently-installed updates, unlike the fixed-in-time recovery partition method used traditionally. In cases of severe corruption where that's not an option, Microsoft has indicated that Windows 10 will include the option to manually create recovery media at first boot - a return to the days before recovery partitions were the standard.

The removal of the recovery partition will only account for some of the space savings found on Windows 10 devices, the Windows 10 team has announced in a blog post late last night. Another major saving will come from on-by-default compression, which will save between 1.5GB for 32-bit and 2.6GB for 64-bit operating system installations. The team has declared that this compression feature will be standard on all builds - including, for the first time, Windows Phone.

While there has been no indication from the company that the compression feature will be exposed to the end-user, the Windows team has claimed that Windows intelligently decides whether compression of system files should be enabled or disabled using 'a number of factors' which includes the quantity of RAM in a system, an automated decompression benchmark on its CPU, and 'other important factors' which are used by Windows to 'assess if a device can use compression without reducing human-perceivable responsiveness.'

The same compression system, details of which have not been provided but which is likely to be the same or a slightly modified version of the LZNT1 currently available to NTFS-formatted storage in existing releases of Windows, will also be used for applications downloaded from the Windows Store, the team has announced.

Between the new recovery system and the automatic compression, Microsoft has claimed that a 64-bit Windows installation could save up to 6.6GB storage space - 4GB from the recovery image and a further 2.6GB by the compression feature.
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