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Recently, news has surfaced (no pun intended) that Microsoft's tablets don't actually leave all of the advertised storage space available to the user - much of it is taken up by the Windows OS.

Does the same apply to Windows phones? If I get a "32 GB" phone, will all 32 GB be available to me (plus or minus some possible discrepancies due to metric/binary unit conversions) or is some of that taken up by the OS? Is this something that varies between manufacturers, with some manufacturers advertising the total storage while others only advertise the storage actually available?

Note: I'm aware there might be some variance due to applications pre-installed by the phone manufacturer or carrier. Here, I'm only asking if the Windows OS itself takes up any of the storage space the phone is advertised to have.

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Why the downvote? Seems like a reasonable question. –  Michael Itzoe Feb 18 '13 at 15:02
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Advertised disc (memory) space is the one that includes operating system. Manufacturers don't advertise only an available space.

So using Windows RT on MS Surface as an example: In 64 GB version available space is actually 45 GB. My 16 GB iPad actually has got 13,5 GB available. My 2 TB HDD has got only 1,81 TB when formatted to the NTFS file system (and that's without any operating system on it!).

So as you can see - there isn't anything extraordinary in that. It's just usual practice: Companies show the highest numbers possible to the people, as long as it's legal. Press only tries to bash Microsoft for that as... being "anti-Microsoft" is trendi and lures people.

As for Windows Phone - I got 6 GB HTC with Windows Phone 7.5, and right now I have 2,17 GB used by "other" (aka. OS storage), so actual memory available for me to use is a bit less than 4 GB.

As you said - there are many things affecting available memory, but the truth is that sadly you never get what is advertised.

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