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Microsoft Adding Options for Controlling Reserved Storage in Windows 10

Microsoft announced last week that IT pros soon will be getting updates to Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) tools that will give them greater control over Windows 10's Reserved Storage feature.

The updated DISM tools will be available when Windows 10 version 2004 gets released. That's the spring 2020 feature update of Windows 10, likely arriving this month or the next. With those updated tools, IT pros can query if a PC is using Reserved Storage. They can also enable or disable Reserved Storage on any Windows 10 device.

Those commands will be accessible within the "Deployment Image Servicing and Management (DISM) command-line toolDISM PowerShell cmdlets and the DISM API" when Windows 10 version 2004 is released, the announcement indicated.

Reserved Storage is a feature introduced last year with Windows 10 version 1903 that automatically sets aside 7GB of a PC's storage space. The aim is to have enough file storage to optimally update and patch the operating system, which may be a particular issue on mobile devices having limited drive space.

Windows 10 needs lots of storage space, both for its biannual upgrades and its monthly updates. The operating system gets "feature updates" twice per year that replace the underlying OS, which requires about 6GB to 11GB of free space for installation. It also gets "quality updates" each month, which patch existing OS capabilities, requiring 2GB to 3GB of storage space.

Originally, the Reserved Storage feature was depicted as only being available on new PCs running Windows 10 version 1903, or existing PCs that had Windows 10 version 1903 (or greater) "clean installed." Machines running older Windows 10 versions didn't have the Reserved Storage feature, and weren't going to get it. With the coming updated DISM tools, it'll now be possible to switch machines running older versions of Windows 10 to use Reserved Storage, if that's wanted. Once switched, these machines continue to use Reserved Storage upon subsequent OS upgrades.

In addition to the new tooling, Microsoft may have altered Reserved Storage's behavior somewhat. For instance, on "space-constrained devices," it won't necessarily grab the full 7GB:

When enabled, reserved storage will instantly reserve its full allotment of disk space. However, on disk-space-constrained devices, enabling reserved storage will leave the user space and will only take the minimum -- which is 2% of system volume capacity or 3GB of disk space, whichever is lower -- to ensure that the device is functional and accessible to the user for further operations. 

Possibly, Reserved Storage worked like that before, and Microsoft is just now describing that capability. Users with space-constrained devices can also try uninstalling optional OS features or unneeded language packs to gain more storage space, Microsoft indicated. In addition, Windows 10's Storage Sense feature will suggest unneeded files that end users possibly can delete.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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