We are all proud of the progress made so far with Windows 8 by Microsoft in the storage services. There has been tremendous improvement with packet throughput and support for USB 3.0, also the visibility efforts are greatly appreciated on the Copy dialog.
But there are still issues that need to be addressed by Microsoft before releasing Windows 8 to the General public. I will try to summarize my points in this blog, but if any of you have any input please let me know via my Twitter account: @McAkins
Issue 1 – SSD Disk usage:
SSD technology is still at its infant stage, these drives are expensive at the moment so we need to use them as efficiently as possible. So what has Windows 8 got in house to use these devices efficiently? Hopefully BuildWindows blog will inform in time what they’ve done specifically to improve on SDD drives. To my knowledge these are the points I think should be taken into consideration:
1. SSD Lifetime: We know these disks have long but limited write cycles. The less we write to these disks, the longer they’ll live. So why is windows still using these drives for %Temp% files where a lot of write events takes place? Why not give users a chance to move all %Temp% environment variable to another disk if its available by default? I know you can move it manually in the Computer Advanced properties. Not all users know this, and its inconvenient.
2. Price per Gigabyte is high: Most tablets and ultrabooks come these days with standard 64Gb SSDs. Awesome to run windows, but with Windows eating already a third of this space there is little over for users for storage. Why is still there no way to install Windows componentized or as lean as possible. Why is my C:\Windows folders still 13GB approx. on an SSD drive! The WinSxS folder is taking too much space!
Issue 2 – Semi-fixed SD Card Storage:
Given the expensive nature of SSD storage at the moment, and the need to write as little as possible to these drives, why is Windows still refusing to support SD-Cards/Micro-Cards as semi-fixed? Some of you have run into the same situation like me, trying to designate the SD card as the storage for certain services, but the services refuse to accept SD card as possible storage location because it is not a fixed drive. Good example is the Library feature of Windows 7 and Windows 8. You cannot add a folder located on an SD card to the library as library location. But lo and behold, if you’ve got a USB external drive, the services will accept these external drives as possible Library locations. Hello @BuildWindows, external USB HDDs are also removable disks, so why discriminate against my 32Gb SD card? It doesn’t make sense.
Here am I trying to limit my write cycles to my SSD drive. It won’t let me add folders on my SD card to the library, and it won’t sync a folder on the SD card with Windows Live’s Live Mesh. Microsoft, please be notified, my SD card sits permanently in the slot. Yes, I can remove it, but I don’t. I’ll rather you give me an option to designate the Card as semi-fixed so I can us it like harddisk! If you can support USB HDDs as semi-fixed, why not my SD card that I never take out?
Issue 3 – Windows Live Services storage:
Yes, I have mentioned in 2 above some of my frustration with Live Mesh, I want to dive in further here. Normally I don’t mind on my desktop or laptop that Windows Live local storage is invisible to me. I know that all the services are using local storage to sync mail, calendar etc. If you use Windows Live a lot like me, you are having Gigabytes of data saved locally and synced with the net in your ..\AppData subfolders. Again, this is saved by default on your C: drive.
Funny thing is Windows allows you to move all your major folders like Documents, Music, Videos etc to another location but it will not allow you to move your “AppData” to another location. For an SSD storage, this is exactly the folder that should be moved to a non-expensive storage location like the SD card. There is a lot of write cycles going on in this location. If your SSD dies, its because of the amount writes taking place in AppData. I know I could move my Internet Explorer’s temp location, but I’ll rather move the whole AppData folder.
So why can’t we move AppData Microsoft? And why is Windows Live services storage location not movable on a tablet device that is short on storage? And why can’t they be moved to an SD-Card?
These are the things I feel Microsoft needs to address before going live with Windows 8. If we are “re-imagining” Windows like Steve said, lets go all the way and address the issues modern users are facing with modern devices. Use SSD drives judiciously, and support SD cards Semi-fixed option. If I designate an SD card as semi-fixed and remove it, then the problem is mine that services using it will not work anymore. As long as the services can recover after I re-insert the card, this is OK with me.
I am curious to know what other Storage issues you guys are facing. Drop me a tweet. If you’ve got a good point, I will update this blog to include yours. So, thanks people for your attention, now spread the word so MS may listen.