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Windows 10 will return up to 15GB of hard drive space to PC users

Windows 10 users will benefit from more space on their hard drives when updating to the new operating system.

In a blog post published on Monday, the software giant says Windows 10’s ‘compact footprint’ gives users more room for storing photos, videos and music.

Firstly, the company says Windows 10 does a better job of compressing system files. That returns 1.5GB of storage for 32-bit machines and 2.6GB for 64-bit Windows 10 machines. Those savings will also be passed onto smartphone users on Windows 10 too, Microsoft says.

However, the larger storage savings could come elsewhere. Microsoft says Windows 10 no longer needs to create a separate recovery image

“We are also redesigning Windows’ Refresh and Reset functionalities to no longer use a separate recovery image (often preinstalled by manufacturers today) in order to bring Windows devices back to a pristine state,” Microsoft’s Windows Team wrote.

This reduces Windows’ storage footprint further as the recovery image on typical devices can range in size from 4GB to 12GB, depending on the make and model.

“Phones already have a storage-optimised recovery solution, so, unlike compression, this enhancement is only for tablets, laptops, and desktops.”

Related: Windows 10 features: What’s new

The file compression isn’t switched on by default though. Windows considers a number of factors before bringing it into play in order to ensure the responsiveness of the system is not adversely affected.

The team added: “One important factor is the amount of memory (RAM) a device has. The amount of RAM a device has determines how often it retrieves system files from storage. Another important factor is how quickly a device’s CPUs can run the decompression algorithm when retrieving system files. By considering these and other important factors, Windows is able to assess if a device can use compression without reducing human-perceivable responsiveness.”

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