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Windows 10 to eat even more disk space as ‘reserved storage’ for updates

The saga of Windows 10 updates continues. Following on from the disaster of the October 2018 update that failed on some machines and the controversy of opting some unknowing users into beta testing, the newest version of updates will require more of your computer’s storage space than before.

According to a blog post by Microsoft program manager Jesse Rajwan, the next major update of Windows 10 will change the way in which the operating system manages disk space so that updates will always be able to occur automatically. The new system will set aside some disk space as “reserved storage” to be used by updates as well as apps, temporary files, and system caches.

The concern is particularly on the disk space required for installing updates, as the blog post says that “when it’s time for an update, the temporary unneeded OS files in the reserved storage will be deleted and update will use the full reserve area. This will enable most PCs to download and install an update without having to free up any of your disk space, even when you have minimal free disk space.”

While that sounds good, the way that it works is by Windows taking over a chunk of storage space which you cannot use for any other purpose. “The reserved storage cannot be removed from the OS,” the blog post explains. Given that the anticipated size of reserve storage “will start at about 7GB,” that’s a fair chunk of additional space to take up given the fact that Windows 10 can already bloat to use 30GB or more of disk space.

Microsoft advises that once the feature is rolled out you can reduce the amount of reserve storage on your device in two ways. Firstly, you can remove optional features from your system by going to Settings > Apps > Apps & features > Manage optional features. Uninstalling features should reduce the amount of space taken up by reserved storage. Secondly, you can remove any installed Windows language packs that you do not need. To do this, go to Settings > Time & Language > Language and select for uninstallation any languages you don’t need, which will also reduce reserved storage.

All of this seems like an unnecessary annoyance for Windows users working with limited disk space, and the push towards automatic updates will not go down well as long as the stability of updates continues to be a problem.

Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
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