So we’ve known that the operating system powering Microsoft’s Surface tablet along with bundled apps eats up a lot of storage space. Earlier today, the software giant published an interesting support doc clarifying the exact storage requirements. Turns out out that a 32GB Surface RT leaves users with only sixteen gigabytes of usable storage space because the Surface OS and preloaded Office apps consume a whopping 16 gigs. I’m using the whopping adjective here because the Surface after all is a mobile device, not a full-blown desktop.

This is hardly a surprise to us geeks who’ve grown accustomed to Redmond’ resource-taxing desktop software but as it is, the situation inevitably begs the question of the gizmo’s prospect with average Joes who’ve seen the iPad and expect a 32GB tablet to at least provide 30 gigs of usable storage space. Also, we’ve got a nice new video below the fold highlighting the Touch and Type Covers for Surface…

The Surface FAQ details the amount of storage at customers’ disposal out of the box:

• the 32 GB version has approximately 16 GB free hard disk space
• the 64 GB version has approximately 46 GB free hard disk space

The Surface with Windows RT comes with either 32 or 64 gigs of internal storage space.

“However, not all of this space is available for your music, photos, videos, and other content”, the FAQ clarifies.

Some of the Surface disk space is used by built-in apps and by the Windows features that can help you protect and recover the stuff you store on your Surface.

That’s hardly a comforting thought to less than eagle-eyed buyers who could be in for an unpleasant surprise upon discovering that their brand spanking new tablet provides half the advertised storage space for their stuff.

The following, on the other hand, is a comforting thought: the Surface RT accepts microSD, microSDHC or microSDXC memory cards for up to 64 gigs of additional storage as well as USB thumb drives though – as is the case with Android devices – this external storage is for your music, documents, videos and pictures but not apps.

Another option: Microsoft’s pretty cool SkyDrive online storage (that, too, could use some simplification).

Here’s the video highlighting the Touch and Type Covers for the Surface.

Microsoft also educates us on Surface ports in another clip.

My favorite: Jeff’s size and dimensions comparison between the Surface and the iPad.

Say what you will about Microsoft, but they nailed the covers, didn’t they?

  • if Windows 8 requires this much space, there should 2 memory chips built in. One for the OS (Whatever size needed) and, 1 for the users content (32GB or 64GB)

    • Wassim Omais

      Only problem is: Where are they going to put the second one? Not enough space in there…

      • or give more storage…so an ipad is a better buy…and the apps also suck on windows.

      • TriguyRN

        Get the pro version and run full programs.

      • the pro version is the only version they should have made.. this stripped down lame version is a waste of time and money

      • Kurt

        overall ipad isn’t a better buy, because you are getting iOS which is not the greatest OS. what you do get is great apps made by third party devs. apples apps generally suck, thats why youtube and maps were crappy as apple developed those apps. 2013 is the year of windows 8. bye bye apple

      • you have no clue at all..

      • Kurt

        ive owned each idevice, ipad/iphones/ipod touch, starting back in 2007…i know about the innards, i know all about jailbreaking. i know iOS and i know its a pretty crappy OS espcially when you jailbreak it. you get features but it will cost you.

        so looks like you dont know anything

      • memory is tiny these days, cant be too hard to make a little space 😛

  • Wow! There are gonna be a lot of angry people after buying one of these.

    • Have received my Surface yesterday and I’m absolutely love it. Same, have an iPad 32 Gb, never been using more than 19 Gb of space (most of it for music), but with xbox music wont need it.

  • 1337lolzorz

    I can honestly say i don’t know anyone getting a surface..

    • surface will end up like the zoon…

      • Kurt

        again you know nothing…its not the “zoon” its the “zune” you twit

  • smtp25

    While complaining about space; iDevices shoud with the GBs useable not like the 64gb with only 58 or the 16 with about 14. It’s a consumer device so GBs in the title should be useable because the mass of buyers don’t know that it isnt. Plus the actual cost of memory to go from 16 to 64 is no where near the 100’s they charge

  • TriguyRN

    Is that quote at the end insinuating that they copied apple?

    • TriguyRN

      Why did I get dislikes?

      • Kurt

        apples “smart” cover isn’t smart at all. its just a cover/stand. the surface’s cover is genius. and i dont mean in an arrogant way as apple calls its high school employees working at their stores

      • TriguyRN

        I think that the surface cover is also alot smarter than the iPads. Still wondering why I got dislikes.

      • Kurt

        I gave you 3-well-deserving-thumbs-ups.

      • TriguyRN

        Thank you I have done the same.

      • surface stand and keyboard cover combo is petter than apples smart cover

  • The Surface just dropped of my list as a potential buy.

  • sheetheadj

    lol – nice work, Microsoft. Another Ballmer-esque failbot. I won’t buy this POS or an iPad. One is crap, the other is expensive as crap.

    • Kurt

      “expensive crap” is better put

  • Ballmer taking microsoft down the drain while elop at nokia taken it already there.

  • I played with surface.. its huge its odd it uncomfortable to hold and the UI gestures are not intuitive.. Its more like a prototype of ideas that need to me smoothed out.. as jit is now its the typer of thing that an ignorant person will but then leave tio gather dust 2 weeks later..

    The pro version may fare better since it will be able to run the entire desk top MS office sweet