back to article Lawyer sues Microsoft rather than slot an SD card into his Surface

A lawyer is suing Microsoft for false advertising after his 32GB Surface slab turned up with 16GB of free space. Andrew Sokolowski claims that he quickly ran out of storage capacity on the tablet when he was loading it with music and documents because half the flash memory was filled by the operating system and pre-installed …


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  1. NoneSuch Silver badge

    What will happen...

    ...if we do not get rid of the lawyers...

    1. Cliff

      Re: What will happen...

      WWZ trailer - don't know if you've read the book, but this appears to be the exact opposite! The book is wonderful, social insights and commentaries from all different survivors, and entirely not about one guy and his family.

      I did wonder how they could adapt the book when I heard they were working on it - seems they just didn't bother and just kept the name. Try the book, it is actually rather superior and touching in places.

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: What will happen...

      Oh these Americans with their Zombie Neurosis.

      Please lie down...

      1. Andrew Moore

        Re: What will happen...

        however they all seem to be perfectly happy with snogging vampires.

    3. Stuart Castle Silver badge

      A world without lawyers.

      1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

        Re: A world without lawyers (hopefully)

        An engineer dies and goes to hell. After a while, the engineer gets dissatisfied with the level of comfort in there and starts designing and building improvements. After a while, hell has air conditioning, flushing toilets, water fountains and escalators - making the engineer a pretty popular guy.

        One day God phones Satan up and asks with a sneer: “Hey buddy, how’s it goin down there in hell?”

        Satan snickered back, “Things are going great actually. We’ve got air conditioning, flush toilets, escalators and the works. Hell (no pun intended), there’s no telling what this engineer guy is gonna come up with next.”

        God replies, “What? You’ve got an engineer? That’s a mistake - he should never have gotten down there; send him back up.”

        To which Satan replied, “No way dude. I like having an engineer on staff, I’m keepin him.”

        God retorted, “Send him back up here or I’ll sue.”

        Satan laughs loudly and answers, “Yeah, right. And just where are you gonna find a lawyer?”

  2. EddieD

    What a load of crap.

    He'll have to sue just about every tablet and smartphone maker too, as this is ever thus.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a load of crap.

      So? doesn't mean it is right.

      If someone said they will give you £100 then gives you £50 and says the other £50 is their admin charge you would be annoyed.

      It's a fair expectation that a 32-GB device had 32-GB available to the end user or mentions somewhere how much is free.

      1. Oninoshiko

        Re: What a load of crap.

        uhhh... no

        If someone says they will give me £100, and they instead give me £50, claiming the rest is an admin fee, I still got £50 for nothing. I would shake his/her/it's hand and be happily on my way!

        God, some of you people are ungrateful pricks.

        1. g e


          Nobody 'gave' him 32GB memory though, did they. He paid for it in the price of the device.

          I think even you would be pissed off if you paid for a 1TiB hard disk and found you could only use 512GiB of it.

          You confused, innumerate prick.

      2. ArmanX

        Re: What a load of crap.

        As noted, it does say (somewhere) that there is less than the full amount available as free space... and to be fair, every device since the dawn of computing that was sold as having X amount of space available also had the OS and accompanying programs installed, using some of that 'free space'. I think Microsoft should give him a new tablet (in trade), with exactly as much free space as suggested - no OS, no programs, nothing. Just a big, blank chunk of flash. Doesn't run? Who cares! Think of all that space you could have been using if you weren't such an idiot!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What a load of crap.

          I guess the issue is how much less space you get with the windows stuff as opposed to android or ios?

        2. Jolyon Smith

          Re: What a load of crap.

          The specs only mention that "formatted capacity may be less", in close proximity to the explanation that 1GB = 1,000,000,000 bytes. i.e. that "32GB" might be reported as "29.8 G(i)B"

          Nowhere in the specs does it say "and of that 29.8 G(i)B, almost half is already taken up by system software".

          If you advertise a device with a quantity of storage then the user has the right to expect that the significant proportion of that storage will be available for them to use for... well, storage.

          If not, then why shouldn't MS also be allowed to include all the storage in the device used to hold the various firmware images for the onboard devices that don't take up any of the "user storage" but which are never-the-less storage, and just as "usable" by the user as the chunk of storage used for the OS and pre-installed gunk ?

          What if you advertised a graphics resolution of 2560x1600 with a not-advertised fact that "unfortunately the LCD we've used can only display 1280x800, so we scale down the graphics to fit that display capability accordingly". Would that be fair enough, as long as it is somewhere in the specs ?

          This isn't about how how much storage the user can fit themselves, it's about how much storage the vendor claims to be providing in their advertising in an attempt to extract money from the consumers pocket. Unlike, as that dufus up above tried to imply, giving less away for free than they actually do.

        3. James Micallef Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Reminds me of BOFH

          User is complaining of having filled his 4MB* allocation and wanting more free space.

          BOFH: <clickety-click> there you go, you now have 4MB free

          User: Cool, so 8MB total

          BOFH: No, 4MB total

          User: Aaaaaargh

          * Shows that this is one of the REALLY early episodes

      3. mhoneywell

        Re: What a load of crap.

        Well, yawn, the example you give is not relevant. But if it was it would be perfect.

        It does, "...mention(s) somewhere how much is free...2 , both in the article on Microsoft's site.

      4. kain preacher

        Re: What a load of crap.

        SO when you buy a PC with 500gb HD you would be upset is 14GB was used by the OS ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @kain preacher - Re: What a load of crap.

          I would be only if you advertize it with 500GB. I don't mind buying it with 486GB but, the hell, just advertize it like that and we'll still be friends. That's what the lawyer said IMHO.

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: @kain preacher - What a load of crap.

            I don't know if that's quite "all the lawyer said". I mean I can certainly understand the disappointment if he wasn't familiar with standard practice or didn't read the small print (irony - a lawyer complaining about small print), but he's also trying to sue for damages. If he just wanted his money back, okay - I'd agree with him (and under UK law he could have it). But how do you suffer any significant damages from this?

            And he's trying to turn it into a class action suit. With my conspiracy hat on, he isn't hoping to be the one to manage the class action suit is he and to deduct some from the final award for his fees? Is that legal / plausible in the USA? Anyone comment on that?

          2. kain preacher

            Re: @kain preacher - What a load of crap.

            But that is how they advertise it .Look on the box. It will say 500gb not 500gb minus OS.

        2. Jolyon Smith

          Re: What a load of crap.

          No, because the HDD specification on a PC is a specification of a device, not advertised in terms of it's function.

          Microsoft Surface: with 32GB Flash Drive

          Microsoft Surface: with 32GB storage

          See the difference ? No ? Then you're precisely the kind of consumer that Microsoft are banking on.

        3. Havin_it

          @kain preacher Re: What a load of crap.

          No, but I'd be horse-whippin' pissed if it took up 250GB.

          As a lawyer, he holds that only your ex-wife has a right to half your shit.

        4. Lallabalalla

          Re: What a load of crap. 14Gb used

          No, but I'd be well upset if my 500Gb computer only had 250Gb free, duh! It's not the fact that some space is used but fully half of it seems like the guy has a point to me.

          1. Psyx

            Re: What a load of crap. 14Gb used

            "No, but I'd be well upset if my 500Gb computer only had 250Gb free, duh! It's not the fact that some space is used but fully half of it seems like the guy has a point to me."

            According to a lawyer, remember?

        5. P. Lee

          Re: What a load of crap.

          > SO when you buy a PC with 500gb HD you would be upset is 14GB was used by the OS ?

          No. However that's a very small fraction (2.5% rather than 50%) of the total storage and in line with what is expected.

          In this case, the requirement is double what you'd expect in absolute terms (even on a desktop with all its resources) and out of all proportion to other consumer touch devices.

      5. ChilenoinUSA

        Re: What a load of crap.


        Are you a lawyer too? Your explanation has no meaning and cannot be related to technology. From the very beginning of hard disks and computer use that the amount of data of a hard disk is not the same as what's available.

        Even when someone bought the windows 95, and the specs at the store showed 40GB hard disk, we all knew it would be about 15-20% less than full capacity. Absolutely all tech companies advertise that way.

        That's the standard, and we all expect it.

        1. Havin_it

          @ChilenoInUSA Re: What a load of crap.

          On what fucking planet did Win 95 ship on a PC with a 40GB HDD, let alone occupy 15-20% thereof? Question goes out to the upvoters as much as the commentard.

        2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

          Re: What a load of crap.

          The easy solution, courtesy of the BOFH

          "There, you've got *plenty* of space now!"

          "How much have I got?" he simps.

          Now this *REALLY* *PISSES* *ME* *OFF*! Not only do they want me to give them extra space, they want to check it, then correct me if I don't give them enough! They should be happy with what I give them *and that's it*!

          Back into Jimmy Stewart mode.

          "Well, let's see, you have 4 Meg 32GB available."

          "Wow! Eight Meg thirty-two gig in total, thanks!" he says, pleased with his bargaining power.

          "No" I interrupt, savouring this like a fine red at room temperature, with steak, extra rare, to follow; "4 Meg thirty-two gig in total.."

          "Huh? I'd used 4 Meg 16 gig already, How could I have 4 Meg 32 gig Available?"

          I say nothing. It'll come to him.

      6. Naughtyhorse

        Re: What a load of crap.


        you are quoting in pounds sterling, yet you are clearly one of the 47% mitt romney was moaning about.

        the ad says it has 32G of memory

        and it does

        so STFU

      7. Alan_

        Re: What a load of crap.

        Lets sue every harddrive manufacturer in existence too as they all lie! Firstly they use 1000 instead of 1024, artificially inflating the size of the harddrive. Secondly they give the unformatted capacity. Everyone has to format their harddrive before they can use it so they should account for all that wasted space from the filesystem's overhead. It's insane that in this day and age they can so blatantly lie to all of us, cheating us out of tens of gigs of space on modern harddrives!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What a load of crap.

          Actually, that's the lie: HD manufacturers are telling the truth when they quote capacities in GB. "G", "K" and so on are SI prefixes which can only ever mean 1000x, NOT 1024x as mistakenly understood by just about everyone; the International Electrotechnical Commission, the guardian of SI units, made this clear back in 1998. What most people think of as a gigabyte is actually a gibibyte or GiB. On this issue, the hard disk manufacturers are pretty much the only people actually telling the truth. Amazingly.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What a load of crap.

            "the International Electrotechnical Commission, the guardian of SI units, made this clear back in 1998. "

            Who asked them, and who cares what they think? What do SI have to do with it? We know what K and M and G mean in computing and what they mean in some electrical lab somewhere is a different domain of no relevance.

            Also, "gibibyte" is a stupid word.

          2. Marcelo Rodrigues

            Re: What a load of crap.

            Not quite.

            You see, that's the glitch:

            "iB" (gibibyte and friends) were made AFTER the HD manufacturers started this weasel talking about x1000 and x1024. Exactly to put an end to this confusion.

            So, yes. TODAY they are talking the truth. In a sense, since they don't publish GiB - the value everybody is used to, when talking about computers.

            Funny thing is: memory makers, who didn't try to weasel the units, now sell memory in GB - giving us GiB instead!

            It's a funny world, I tell Ya

      8. Richard Jones 1

        Re: What a load of crap.

        If someone says "I will get you £100 if you agree." Then gets the £100, you have in effect agreed a contract that says he will work to get you £100 and he is due a reward - which he must declare to the revenue authorities. In this case MS have declared the capacity of the machine - not the capacity left over after essential services have been installed as is standard practice.

        This is not quite the sharp practice as that indulged in by the PPI and personal accident sharks who can leave you with less than nothing in some cases.

        I guess this will also be down voted but how many of you will go to work for nothing today?

      9. Psyx

        Re: What a load of crap.

        "t's a fair expectation that a 32-GB device had 32-GB available to the end user "

        No it's not. Storage has never been sold like that on computers. Only someone without any real compouting experience would expect the OS and software to be in some magical other place. A lawyer is by definition supposed to have enough brain power to already know this, making his seeming stupidity a transparent ploy.

        "or mentions somewhere how much is free."

        If you read the article, it did in the literature and on the website.

        This is basically lame-ass lawyer bullshit. Any reasonable person would either stick in an SD card or return it to Microsoft saying "Hey, this isn't what I wanted, can I upgrade to the bigger one, please?"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What a load of crap.

          "... the OS and software to be in some magical other place..."

          Once upon a time, you had a ROM (occasionally PROM, or even EPROM) for your operating system, and could load more programs from a floppy, while saving your files to yet another floppy.

          Now-a-days, the nicer PC shops I know will stick a small-ish (by today's standards) disk drive in your machine for the operating system and programs, while encouraging the user to make use of a larger, second disk for their data.

          Cost cutting and ignorance or thoughtlessness have lead to this magical alternative default, wherein program data and user data are congealed within the same storage medium

          "If someone says they will give me £100, and they instead give me £50, claiming the rest is an admin fee, I still got £50 for nothing. I would shake his/her/it's hand and be happily on my way!"

          It's really more as though one were assured $100 for a service rendered, then when it comes time to be paid, only gives $50, saying the rest is their payment for the opportunity they gave you at all - oh but didn't they thought that was made clear already.

          "SO when you buy a PC with 500gb HD you would be upset is 14GB was used by the OS ?"

          14GB of 500 is less than 5% of the capacity if my math hasn't become too wonkey.

          I'm pretty sure that 16 of 32 is 50%, and that's a fair thing to be miffed about.

        2. Doc Spock

          Re: What a load of crap.

          I remember reading an article in Commodore Format (I think) saying that the devs behind Mayhem in Monsterland managed to find a spare 1K and use 65K.

          (If you don't know it, it was like all the good bits from Sonic & Mario combined!)

      10. Corborg

        Re: What a load of crap.

        If he wants his full 32gb of storage then he can format the drive.


    2. bailey86

      Re: What a load of crap.

      He's right.

      You need to see it from a user viewpoint - if a camera is sold with 32GB space then you'd expect to be able to get 32GB of images on it. If you sell a PVR with 320GB HDD you'd be expected to get 320GB of recordings on it.

      These tablets are sold as consumer devices. So if you sell a tablet with 32GB space you'd expect to be able to get 32GB of data on to it. Simples.

    3. Marvin the Martian

      Re: "What a load of crap." -- "sue every tablet maker then" etc.

      Checking Apple's website [ ], I notice for the first time they market it as 'storage', not 'memory'. I'm assuming that is indeed the free space (otherwise we'd have had lots of lawsuits).

      So arguably, given that the iPad is the complete market leader, if MS finally comes up with their own version shouting similar numbers, you'd expect them to be comparable. But they're not, so the guy has a fair point. And I'm sorry, but even for a desktop OS, eating 16GB out of the box is just shocking... Realistically, you'd buy a tablet guessing at worst 2GB gets eaten by the OS.

      [ElReg readers know that it's saddled with a FrankenOS being both desktop and mobile plunked on it, a regular customer cannot be expected to know; similarly I know MS was heavily backing tablets as the future about a decade ago, so it's not really "MS finally comes up with their version" but that's what the street sees.]

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "What a load of crap." -- "sue every tablet maker then" etc. iPad stuff

        Well, I just checked my "16Gb" iPad 2 with iOS 5 on it, and I have a total of 13.7Gb for installs/file.

        Even accounting for the 1000/1024 "confusion", the OS still takes up around 15% of the available "storage".

    4. g e

      Re: What a load of crap.

      Given the price tablet makers bend customers over for on flash memory I'd think he had a reasonable expectation for 80% of that storage to be usable at least. Losing half of it does seem unduly excessive.

    5. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: What a load of crap.

      And every computer manufacturer too. The 1 TB hard drive your computer is advertised as having, contains Windows 7 || 8, and various trial versions of Norton Anti-Virus, Office and so on.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What a load of crap.

      If I buy any device that advertises X amount of storage/flash/disk space then I expect to have nearly all of that space available to me.

      It is unacceptable to have half the space unavailable. At most I would expect somewhere between 10 and 15% (a lot less with larger storage) taken up by the OS.

      Microsoft's advertising about the storage is deceptive simple because so much of it is reserved and the disclaimer about this is so well hidden.

      Perhaps manufacturers should be forced to scale the disclaimer in proportion to the amount of storage taken up. With the 32GB model the disclaimer should be given equal prominence and with the 64GB model the ratio should be 70/30.

      1. Psyx

        Re: What a load of crap.

        "the disclaimer about this is so well hidden."

        So when you shell out £500 for something, you don't read the disclaimer unless it's in really big writing on the front page?


        The amount of time I spend reading them is proportional to the cost of the product, and inversely proportional to font size!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What a load of crap.

          > So when you shell out £500 for something, you don't read the disclaimer unless it's in really big writing on the front page?

          When I'm buying a piece of computer equipment I go straight to specs and read them. But I've just been to the MS site ( to see what sort of disclaimer they use. Here it is:

          32GB*, 64GB

          *1GB = 1 billion bytes; formatted storage capacity may be less

          I've looked on the overview and specifications pages and can find no mention that half the storage is unavailable. Perhaps you could point me to where it is?

          1. Psyx

            Re: What a load of crap.

            You realise that if you don't like it, you can take it back, though?

            That's the response of a reasonable person; not to sue someone.

  3. frank ly

    Lawyers eh?

    That is all.

  4. fishman

    They all cheered the T-Rex

    When it ate the lawyer in the movie Jurassic Park.

  5. DMH
    Thumb Down

    Windows and the bundled apps took up 16GB? That's pretty impressive.

    1. Michael Dunn


      That's bloat-ware for you!

  6. phr0g

    MS should just post him a free sdcard

    A 16GB one.

    In fact they should bundle one too. Then everyone is happy.

    In fact if I was MS I would post him a 16GB, and everyone else who bought one, a 32GB one, and then bundle it in future.

    How much would it really take out of the profit?

    Saying that I don't think he has a leg to stand on. I went through all this nonsense with my "64K" Commodore 64, which has around 38K if I remember rightly.

    1. The Serpent

      Re: MS should just post him a free sdcard


      1. Giles Jones Gold badge

        Re: MS should just post him a free sdcard

        But you could at least use all 64k if you knew what you were doing.

        With the surface even the bootloader is locked down, so it's not like you can wipe it.

    2. Randy Hudson

      Slippery Slope

      If they send him a free card, that would establish a precedence – Microsoft might find themselves on the hook for hundreds of free memory cards.

    3. Werner McGoole

      Re: MS should just post him a free sdcard

      Or they could erase the OS for him.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: MS should just post him a free sdcard

      > Saying that I don't think he has a leg to stand on. I went through all this nonsense with my "64K" Commodore 64, which has around 38K if I remember rightly.

      Nope. Your "64K" Commodore 64 had the full 64K available to programs. What you are confused with is the "38911 BASIC BYTES FREE" message you got. Anything written in basic could only use 38911 bytes but other programs could use the full 64K.

      1. Rick Giles

        Re: MS should just post him a free sdcard

        > Nope. Your "64K" Commodore 64 had the full 64K available to programs. What you are confused with is the "38911 BASIC BYTES FREE" message you got. Anything written in basic could only use 38911 bytes but other programs could use the full 64K.

        Nope, you are wrong. The 64K (65535) was the amount of addressable memory locations for an 8 bit CPU. Now those memory locations might be the ROM where the video memory was, kernel, I/O, etc. The amount of available to the user space was 38911 bytes.

        Now, everyone shut and put Linux on your Surface. You'll get more free usable storage space that way and those pesky tiles will be gone.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Rick Giles

          > Nope, you are wrong. The 64K (65535) was the amount of addressable memory locations for an 8 bit CPU. Now those memory locations might be the ROM where the video memory was, kernel, I/O, etc. The amount of available to the user space was 38911 bytes.

          Nope I am correct. The ROM for the basic interpreter I/O etc could be paged out to give you access to the full 64k of RAM. The reason that BASIC only had 38911 byte available was because it could not page itself out, other programs that were not written in basic could page out all of the ROMS and the I/O chips and access the full 64k of RAM.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: MS should just post him a free sdcard

          > The 64K (65535)

          And 0x0000 to 0xFFFF inclusive is 65536 bytes.

        3. h4rm0ny

          Re: MS should just post him a free sdcard

          "Now, everyone shut and put Linux on your Surface. You'll get more free usable storage space that way and those pesky tiles will be gone."

          Sadly only possible with the Pro version of the Surface (presumably), as the RT version is locked to pre-installed OS.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I knew it.

    I knew Windows 8 was going to cause headaches if used on tablets. The bloat needed to run a fully loaded desktop has no business being installed on tablet. I'm sticking with Android.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Returning for a full refund I could imagine...

    ...but a law suit?

    I don't see how his life was ruined (other than choosing to be a lawyer)...

    1. Mint Sauce
      Thumb Down

      Re: Returning for a full refund I could imagine...

      Quite. My first thought was "well why didn't he just take / send it back then?

      Oh, greed that's why.

      1. csumpi

        Re: Returning for a full refund I could imagine...

        "Oh, greed that's why."

        More like stupidity. I can't imagine how a lawyer would pursue this. Being a lawyer he must know that if he wins, MS will have to pay for the damages it caused him. Which is what? The price of the tablet, shipping, or maybe the gas used to drive to the store? There's no way he would get more than a couple hundred $s. Which is far less than the money and time he spent on the lawsuit (which MS would not be liable for).

        That of course assuming he would win, which he won't. MS doesn't say that the product has 16gb of free storage. Apple doesn't say that. Samsung doesn't.

        This dude is just some jackass who wanted 15 mins of fame. Unfortunately for him, no respectable law firm will hire him after doing something so idiotic. So back to ambulance chasing and slip and falls.

        1. Psyx

          Re: Returning for a full refund I could imagine...

          "More like stupidity."

          Lawyers aren't stupid. They just sometimes pretend they are so that they have grounds to sue.

          "I can't imagine how a lawyer would pursue this. Being a lawyer he must know that if he wins, MS will have to pay for the damages it caused him. Which is what?"

          I can. He's hoping to open a class action on it. That is: He wants lots of other people to jump on and sue for a slice of the pie, too. Then he will be the one representing the class action, and gets a shit-load of work out of it all.

  9. Displacement Activity

    Hope his music is legit...

    Actually, not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hope his music is legit...

      Presumably, "his" music consists of files copied to the device?

      I trust he has the express written consent of every single rights holder for each and every file, otherwise he has made copies without consent.

      Tut, Tut.

      Stll, he'd probably be quids ( dollars) in even if he sued himself.

  10. Armando 123
    Thumb Up

    Gotta say it

    A laywer got duped, didn't get all he was promised, and feels cheated.

    About time, I say.

    No, let's convince an IRS agent to buy one.

    1. David Precious

      Re: Gotta say it

      But what would an IRS agent want with a lawyer?

  11. Lord Voldemortgage

    So is this

    A piece of marketing by Apple or by Microsoft?

    It can't be a serious suit, can it?

  12. The BigYin


    ...their tablet OS takes 16GB?


    <Examines hard drive>

    My current install, including office suite, hypervisor, games, media players, logs, etc just touches 16GB.

    What the bloody hell are MS putting on there?

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

      Re: Wait...

      $ df -mT

      Filesystem Type 1M-blocks Used Available Use% Mounted on

      rootfs rootfs 12107 5702 5790 50% /

    2. APJ

      Re: Wait...

      I am writing this on my Surface RT device. I just took a quick look... Windows folder total size 8GB. Program Files dir is 800MB. So not sure where the rest of the claimant's space has gone... between his ears perchance?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @APJ - Re: Wait...

        Awww! Surely you're trying to impress us as a Surface early adopter.

      2. Deadlock Victim

        Re: "Here's an example of what the new 'internet economy' really looks like, in practice."

        IIRC there is also a restore partition and another system partition that total up to about 15 gig on a new surface.

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: "Here's an example of what the new 'internet economy' really looks like, in practice."

          This is correct. I've just checked on mine and I've used 15.7GB of it which is more or less the base install (which includes Office) and a handful of apps.

      3. DJ Particle
        Thumb Down

        Re: Wait...

        Unless he has the full Windows 8 version. Win 8 install is larger than Win RT install.

      4. Def Silver badge

        Re: Wait...

        So how much space is free on a Windows Phone, say the Lumia 920, which doesn't have an SD slot?

        That sounds like a deal breaker to me...

      5. The BigYin

        Re: Wait...

        The "lightweight" RT is 8GB before applications?

        *shakes head*

    3. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Wait...

      Pretty much the same as what you have on your desktop / laptop computer.

  13. Andrew Jones 2

    Sorry but I don't agree with your point of view - we can all accept a few GB less space than is advertised for one reason or another - but HALF the space that is advertised is not acceptable. Personally - I don't see this as any different to the headline broadband speeds issue - tell the customer what they are getting - not what they aren't.

    If this was me - I'd be willing to accept the loss of 5 - 8GB of the internal space.... but this makes me wonder - just how much internal space will be eaten when each update comes out.... You could probably expect that you will lose at least another 2GB over the next year of updates?

    1. Andrew Waite

      reading ability

      You sir, fail.

      I've no interest in buying a Surface, but with the minimum browsing I've down just to see what the fuss is about I was still able to * accidentally* come across the information that only 16GB is free for user storage on the 32GB model.

      Sick of people how can't be bothered to learn what they're shelling out for complaining when a purchase arrives as advertised, but not as expected. The problem isn't the purchased item/

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: reading ability

        > You sir, fail.

        Sorry, the failure is yours.

        The issue is far more nuanced than your comment suggests.

        It is not unreasonable to expect that half of the storage capacity of a 32GB tablet should be taken up by the OS and some basic applications, especially when it is 16GB in this case.

        My work development machine (on which I am typing this) with 64-bit Linux, LibreOffice, a full software development system and various graphical packages takes a full 6GB.

        Quite how MS have managed to fill 16GB with their OS and apps beggars belief.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: reading ability


          I meant "It is not reasonable ...", obviously.

          1. LaeMing


            And here was me getting stroppy a few years back when I had to expand my root partition from 4GiB to 8GiB to fit my Linun OS and all its app(lication)s on with room for temps, logs, etc.

        2. Chemist

          Re: reading ability

          "64-bit Linux, LibreOffice, a full software development system and various graphical packages takes a full 6GB."

          Ditto !

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: reading ability

        Out of interest:

        How much user storage is available on a 32GB iPad? Or a 32GB Nexus 7?

        In fact, there are 16GB models of those devices. How much user storage is available on those?

        Microsoft is selling their tablet as "32GB". Consumers will not unreasonably compare the price with a "32GB" iPad, but in fact they should be comparing it against the 16GB iPad. I think it's reasonable to be aggrieved when you realise you have been conned, even if the remedy is just to spend an extra £10 on an SD card.

        Technically-astute people will know to associate "Microsoft" with "gigabytes of bloatware", but should consumers know that?

        1. The BigYin

          Re: reading ability

          "but should consumers know that?"

          Yes. Just like consumers associate certain car makers with poor build quality or reliability, consumers should associate MS with what we know them for.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: reading ability

          My 16gb iPad 2 has 13.8gb available... Seems reasonable to me?

          1. Dr. Mouse

            Re: reading ability

            "My 16gb iPad 2 has 13.8gb available"

            That's the sort of figure I would expect. I believe my Atrix, advertised as 16GB, has about 12GB available. Similarly my cheap Android tab advertised as 8GB had 6GB available. A few GB is expected. 16GB is not.

      3. Marcelo Rodrigues

        Re: reading ability

        We cannot have a market operating on a "caveat emptor" basis.

        Yes, I know the OS will take some space. Yes, YOU know this, too. Sure, if I look for the information about space taken by OS, it is easy to find. BUT (and this is a big one)

        We work with computers. It is in our job description to know this kind of thing. He is a lawyer. He is under no obligation to know this kind of information.

        Even if the warning about the 16 GiB used was printed in small letters. It shouldn't be valid. This kind of thing should be made clear to the public - the public who doesn't know better. They could, even, use 26 GiB of the 28.9 GiB total. They could, if they sold the bloody thing with "28.9 GiB. 26GiB used by OS", or "32GiB - 4 GiB available to user".

        No one should be expected to cut through 385 lines of tech speak, to find this buried in the middle.

    2. Dr. Mouse

      I have to agree with you here. Normal smartphones and tablets use a few gig, at most, for OS, bundled apps and any segregated application storage. This is the market we should be comparing with for the Surface, not the space taken by a full windows install on a PC. Even so, you can (just about) accept 20GB taken by the OS on a PC with 500GB+ storage.

      I'd say they have gone over the line of what's reasonably expected for a tablet, and it should be made clearer.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Exactly. My laptop comes with a 750G hard drive and about 650G is free. My phone has 13G free out of 16. Half the space used up by the OS? Why isn't it on its own flash memory?

    4. Ellier

      SamSung Galay Tab 2.0 7" model suffers from this same type of issue - the 8GB model has around 4.3 GB free out of the box.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good luck with that lawsuit. They advertise the raw hardware specs like every hardware manufacturer ever. He's going to need to sue pretty much every hardware manufacturer on the planet, and he's still going to lose. Hopefully the judge smacks the shit out of him and force him to pay MS's bills for being such an idiot.

  15. Dave 150

    The lawyer can also delete all the apps and operating system to get the extra space he needs :D

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A Lawyer huh? I wonder which firm is paying his costs...

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Costs

      There's no firm paying his fees. He's a small time lawyer looking to game the system & make a few bucks. If it does become a class action issue he'll be the one raking in the fees and fucking his clients.

      It is perfectly OK for lawyers (who don't even write the briefs, that's the paralegals) to screw their customers but it is not OK for the lawyers to get screwed (confused/stupid in this case).

  17. Criminny Rickets

    I am not even going to dignify this story with a comment... D'OH

  18. NBCanuck

    Drumming up business?

    Wow. I can only imagine that this guy is trying to get his name out there and drum up some business. While he may be successful with some of the masses I would hope that the majority of the people would look at his common sense (or lack thereof) and decide that if his lawyer skills are directly proportional to his knowledge of mainstream computer gear....well, they had best be looking elsewhere.

    I think someone at Microsoft should ask to see it, wipe the memory and say, "Here you go....32MB all there for you." (I'm sure someone out there will suggest that that wiping the memory would be an upgrade.....please resist).

  19. djstardust

    Unlike a fruity fondleslab he's got the option of expanding by SD slot.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SIXTEEN GIG!!!!!!!

    16GB taken up and this is the RT version?!

    What's the full fat Windows 8 X86 going to take up?! I thought RT had been stripped of the win 32 runtimes?!

    That's a joke talk about bloat ware half the features and double the amount needed to install... No wonder Steve walked

    1. Not That Andrew

      Re: SIXTEEN GIG!!!!!!!

      Nope, TIFKAM still sits on top of the Win32 API's, It's just that user programs can't directly access them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SIXTEEN GIG!!!!!!!

        Re: SIXTEEN GIG!!!!!!!

        Nope, TIFKAM still sits on top of the Win32 API's, It's just that user programs can't directly access them.

        Thanks for answering that question. Suppose it's another reason why windows RT will never gain any traction.

        This was their chance to rip out all the legacy code and start a fresh with their RT platform but their first mistake was calling the RT version windows even though there is limited desktop action and their second mistake is not stripping out unneeded features and signing it off at 16 gig.

        They clearly didn't even try for the RT version did they? Just complied it for ARM dumped that interface on top and locked out installing 3rd party apps and restricting the desktop. Real half arsed approach this

        1. RAMChYLD

          Re: SIXTEEN GIG!!!!!!!

          You'd think Microsoft would consider compressing the binaries or using a compressed filesystem. But seriously? I once have a full 64-bit Linux desktop distro with hordes of applications installed as well as basic 32-bit compatibility libraries, and it only came up to 5GB. What kind of bloatware does MS include on the surface to the point where it needs 16GB for system software anyway?

    2. Marcelo Rodrigues

      Re: SIXTEEN GIG!!!!!!!

      If memory serves me right, about 29 GiB. A Windows 8 Pro 64 bit, installed on a clean hard disk,

      1. Dr. Mouse

        Re: SIXTEEN GIG!!!!!!!

        TWENTY-NINE GIG!!!!!!!!

        Seriously, that's ridiculous! I thought Win7x64 was bad, but this must be at least a 50% increase! This when my Linux 64-bit install with 3 desktop environments and all the applications I need take up the sum total of... 6GB!

        1. Marcelo Rodrigues

          Re: SIXTEEN GIG!!!!!!!

          Yeah, tell me about it. My own Linux install is running about 7,3 GiB. With lots of cruft I never get around to remove...

  21. David Kelly 2

    Just another lawyer stretching the truth for personal gain

    This isn't a matter of shrinking 1024 into 1000. I agree that any consumer must learn to be smart enough to ask, "32 GB? But how much remaining for me?"

    The part that will sink his boat is that computers with X GB HD's that come preloaded with OS and apps are well known not to have the full X remaining for personal use.

    If he has an iPhone and not sued Apple over the same issue then that too goes against him. My 16 GB iPhone 5 only came with 13.5 GB "capacity" (according to Settings -> General -> About). Expect Android to be similar.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just another lawyer stretching the truth for personal gain

      If he has an iPhone and not sued Apple over the same issue then that too goes against him. My 16 GB iPhone 5 only came with 13.5 GB

      I make that from a rough calculation 85% of the iPhone available to use. This is 50% we are talking about here it's beyond a joke

  22. NBCanuck

    Fine Print

    Looking to sue someone because you accidentally jumped into a contract without reading the "fine print"? Well, not sure I'd trust this lawyer with the details, but at least you'll get a lot of empathy.

  23. sisk


    Two things ridiculous here:

    #1) If you know enough about technology to actually make use of a tablet then you know damn well that a chunk of storage is gone before you buy it.

    #2) 16gb??? For an OS on a mobile device?? WTF Microsoft? If I'd been considering buying a Surface that little tidbit would have shot the idea dead.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Ridiculous

      But it comes with an Integrated Chair-Throwing Device, and a Free Chtulhu.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    WHAT? 16 GIGAbytes of bloatware?

    Microsoft surpasses itself!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WHAT? 16 GIGAbytes of bloatware?

      I got at least 9 thumbs down for basically saying the same thing.

  25. mark l 2 Silver badge

    The problem is a lot of people only read the first few lines of any product description, before clicking the add to cart button. I sell a lot of stuff on ebay and the amount of times i have had people want to return items under the 7 day money back because they hadn't read something that was clearly in the description, and i had even gone to the trouble to change the description to mark important info in bold to try and stop it happening but unfortunately no amount of large fonts and bright colours can counter act stupid people.

    Still shocking that half the storage space on a surface is taken up with the OS and recovery partition. Can the recovery partition not be moved onto USB stick or SD card rather than on the internal storage?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Who says there is a recovery partition? I can think of better uses of valuable high speed flash memory.

  26. Joe Montana


    While all devices come with some space occupied by the core OS, MS use a HUGE amount of space relative to all other competing devices.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Exceptional...

      Yes. An OS from MS is bloated and so is Office, but at the end of the day that's OK. That bloat has driven down the cost of processing, RAM, and storage just to be able to run Microsoft 'stuff'; the predominate OS and productivity suite on the planet.

      My first RAM upgrade on a real IBM machine took me from 512k to 1M. It was a Christmas present from my parents and it cost them about $1400US. The next year I got a 'WORM' drive. $2700 installed. Just look at what you can buy now for even non inflation adjusted prices. $1400US will get you a pretty decent machine with scads of storage and processing power and memory that is user upgradable. MS brought computing to the masses and it also forced hardware mfgs to get in line and make sure that shit worked. I got a 20GB stick at Staples for $9.99USD the other day. that's one dollar per gigabyte. Would have never happened if MS didn't ram inefficiency down their throats.

      Don't bitch. Just take the deals as they become available. That's what the 'Free Market' is all about. Right?

  27. DrXym Silver badge

    He has a point

    If a device advertises 16GB of storage it really should have 16GB of storage free when you turn it on for the first time. The MS Surface might take the piss more than most devices but they all do it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      i agree, half the stated storage is taking the p1ss.

      from MS site:

      Storage 32GB*, 64GB

      *1GB = 1 billion bytes; formatted storage capacity may be less

      they should just be advertised as 16/32gb

      1. BrownishMonstr

        Re: Optional

        I disagree. They would be shooting themselves in the foot if that happens. Though they could explain that users do have that much space free, most will still compare the prices of a 16gb surface and android and feel they'll get more with the DROID due to a lower cost, even if they will lose a few gb on the android.

        Anyway, my point is consumers are stupid. Explaining it or changing the description is futile. Some are still confused why wp7 users aren't being upgraded to wp8, comparing to apple upgrading IOS users to newer versions. Even though both corporations are essentially doing the same thing.

    2. Lars Silver badge

      Re: He has a point

      Agree, and perhaps the small print could be a bit bigger and I am fairly sure the sales men would not point out the difference nor does a normal buyer read the small print when buying anything. Of course, MS is not alone in this, but it could be more honest and it's not, has never been.

  28. Richard Gray 1

    Did he keep the box?

    Then box it up, return it to the store for a full refund, you are obviously too stupid to own a computer...

  29. lemmac

    why did the 'optional' text...

    ...ghostwritten in the title bar get set as an RE when replying?

  30. Robert E A Harvey

    I don't like this story.

    I can't decide which side I loathe.

  31. Steve Knox

    "Andrew Sokolowski"?

    Really? Sure that's just not a really bad pseudonym for a certain Reg hack...?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well he does have a point. My 16GB iPad had 16GB of free space when I purchased it...

  33. Eddy Ito

    Oh please

    This is just another shyster who I can almost guarantee knew the specs when he bought it and is trying to spin a buck or a few million if he gets his class action wish. It's a fairly typical problem with California lawyers who go around looking for every little nit to pick and laws written to allow lawyers who shouldn't have standing to sue on behalf of the public and win substantial legal fees on top of damages which may range from impressive to nearly negligible. He's a leech looking for a cash cow now that the lawyer fee enforced, poorly worded and probably well intended Prop 37 got shot down.

  34. ncrawford

    I think he has every right to at least a refund. I'm not sure it is class-action worthy. But they are duping the customer. Whether or not it's in the fine print doesn't matter, as we've seen with similar lawsuits regarding telecom companies and phone plans.

    Besides, Microsoft is putting on MORE bloatware when you buy a device with more space. That's BS. I expect that the amount of pre-used space to remain the same between 16GB, 32GB and 64 GB. Are they going to tell me that if I get a 16GB device, I will have 0 free space? They even said themselves, 16GB of space is pre-used on the 32GB device and 19GB of space is pre-used on the 64GB device.

    Not cool.

    But then, the question comes down to...can you uninstall/remove the pre-installed crap? On Android devices, there's alot of useless system apps that you can't remove, but they don't take up 16GB. If he can uninstall...just uninstall it. Otherwise, all the power to him in this suit.

  35. edvil

    The plaintiff can validate his claim with a polygraph.

    The question for him to answer is

    "Did you know about the lesser memory space before you bought the Surface?"

  36. Mr Young

    He's gone and done it now!

    Send him 11,112 3½ floppy disks in a box marked FRAGILE...FUCKING DO IT NOW!!! etc,blah

  37. Anonymous Coward

    security features

    its clearly 16gb of the latest and greatest security, Microsoft security essentials premium plus for business

  38. ClovisGuy

    He has NO point....

    This Lawyer has no point except the fact that he is extremely ignorant about computers and can't read. Like most of the intelligent comments posted. ALL computers and devices have always be sold advertising the amount of physical memory it has not how much you have left available to you after the OS and pre-loaded apps. The fact that he is even able to sue on this just shows how screwed up the system really is. Already knowing he will loose, I just hope it costs him alot of money in the process of wasting the legal systems time.

  39. BlinkenLights

    Nintendo Also Guilty

    The new Wii-U 8GB has only 3GB available for users...

  40. Rob Dobs

    he is after the class action is why... how sleazy leech lawyers make their ill gotten money

    It's not that he doesn't want the card... it's that he is a sleeze opportunist lawyer who saw an opening.

    He probably didn't even want the surface... just somewhere he saw it advertised "32GB of space" and when he figured out there was only 16GB of "FREE" space he took his opportunity.

    He is the lawyer.. so he is only wasting his own time... sadly the chances of MS successfully counter suing him, or him facing any kind of reprimand from the State Bar or other legal authority is almost Zero... so no risk to him.

    Class action gives him all the benefit... MS will have to shell out the difference in space $10-20 for a 16GB SD card? They will update their advertising information going forward, so lets say they have sold 200,000 devices by then... that's $2million that MS would have to shell out for the CLASS ACTION... all this money basically goes into a bank account held by same said waste of life lawyer.... MS provides all the customer contact information they have to lawyer for the 200,000 customers. Lawyer spends 6 months sending out notices to each customer that (after Attorney fees, mailing expenses etc they are each due $7-8,, they just need to mail their RECEIPT and fill our this form to claim their money.... a few thousand AT MOST will actually still have the receipt a year after purchase, and bother to send in for the money... If even a thousand do, he cuts 1000 $8 checks and ends up pocketing 1.9 million for himself.

    CLASS ACTIONS are the most OUT OF CONTROL SLEAZY SUIT THAT EXISTS TODAY (Except maybe for patent and copyright infringement which is also out of control..

    People who are harmed by a company in multiple small ways need a way to redress in the courts, and class actions provide this service... HOWEVER we should place CAPS on what percentage the lawyer of the case can take (should be like 3-5% MAX) and the rest that is unclaimed should either go to Charitable causes that counter the damage or just be collected by the Courts and put into government coffers.

    GIMP because lawyers like this deserve the GIMP treatment just like pulp fiction

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    SD Card Not Same As Internal Storage

    "And as Microsoft pointed out, it would be a simple and inexpensive matter for Sokolowski to add large amounts of memory to his fondletop by simply slotting in a microSD card"

    I think the SD card is only good for transferring files on and off the tablet. It would be no good for storing music.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: SD Card Not Same As Internal Storage

      Microsoft you can use the SD port to add up to 64GB more storage.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SD Card Not Same As Internal Storage

        From what I've read, its a bit hazy, SD can't be thought of as an extension of internal storage. A music app would be able to play a song on SD storage but isn't capable of indexing all the files on SD. You couldn't set up a playlist or search SD data from a music app.

        1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

          Re: Re: SD Card Not Same As Internal Storage

          Got a source? This sounds ridiculous. Either it works or it doesn't :-(


          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: SD Card Not Same As Internal Storage


            "As such, even the 16GB that Microsoft promises on the 32GB Surface may not be readily available to end-users. Surface does, at least, have a way of adding storage that Windows itself will never use for its own needs; it has a microSD slot that works with 64GB cards.

            There are wrinkles to this support, however. Due to the sandboxing and security used in Windows RT, apps need special permission to use this removable storage. Apps that just have permission to access your music, picture, or document libraries can't use the SD card. Worse, it's not possible to add removable storage to the existing libraries; Windows requires that all library locations be indexed. As a result, it won't index removable storage, presumably on the basis that it might get removed, which would cause the index to include information about files that no longer existed.

            There is a trick involving Junction Points to make Windows not realize that the SD card is an SD card, but that is hardly what one would call elegant or easy-to-use."

            Peter Bright

            1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

              Re: Re: SD Card Not Same As Internal Storage

              So by Bright's reckoning, what can be stored on the card? Sounds like nothing at all which seems wrong. We'll have to grab a Surface and test it.


          2. Steve Knox

            Re: SD Card Not Same As Internal Storage

            Either it works or it doesn't :-(

            You'd think so, but this is a Microsoft product here.

            Here's a little story on how it works/doesn't work:


          3. h4rm0ny

            Re: SD Card Not Same As Internal Storage

            "Got a source? This sounds ridiculous. Either it works or it doesn't :-("

            I have just checked this for you on mine. I've put some MP3s on a card and plugged it in. The card shows up and I can play any of the music on there fine. I can also just grab the whole lot and play the lot. They all open in Xbox music and I can skip through them etc. However, some functionality is not available. For example, I can't add them to my Music library because they are on "a removable device". This means that I can't quite make it as a fully integrated playlist with content on my Xbox music pass. I'm not sure what the limits are or if there are ways around this as I haven't really used music on removable storage very much with it. So no, it's not quite "it works or it doesn't." You can absolutely play all your music from it. But it's not going to show up synchronized on other devices like live content music will for example.

            I don't know if that's significant for anyone or a non-issue. Am happy to check things if asked.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: SD Card Not Same As Internal Storage

      I have class 10 64gb microsd card on my Galaxy S3 and it's full of music. Why would Surface be slower?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SD Card Not Same As Internal Storage

        Galaxy uses a quality OS. Surface uses Wundows.

  42. jubtastic1

    A little shocked by the comments here

    Massive turnout of folks that think selling a 32GB device that's already half full is no different to the 1-10% fill rate we see on everything else, 50% isn't the start of the slippery slope, it's fucking halfway down, accept it and be damned.

    Can't help but think this could be a major reason behind Sinofsky's abrupt departure.

  43. Anonymous Coward

    I kind of agree with him

    This practice should stop.

    I know it's always been that way - with every manufacturer. I don't believe it's just MS that should take the flack here. I know the information is there on their website. I'm a techie though. My Mum won't understand that.

    When you buy a car does it give luggage capacity and then have a tiny caveat about how much of that space is taken up by the Engine.

    Or a fridge. 100 L of space. (25 taken up by compressor). Of course not...

    Oh and those aren't British Liters. These are Nomadic Liters used by scientists in Nomad land so it's actually less 20% smaller still.

    I don't want to know how much space I can't use. I want to know how much space is available to me.

    This is information that can help me make a clear decision when choosing to buy these consumable devices.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: I kind of agree with him

      When you buy a car does it give luggage capacity and then have a tiny caveat about how much of that space is taken up by the Engine.

      Actually that's a really rotten analogy. Cars tend to come with n litres of boot space and fail to mention that significant chunks of that can only be used if you have many small and weirdly-shaped pieces of luggage. Wheelarches, suspension mounts and such serve to ensure that you don't get a regular shape and the fact that the height is never anywhere near that of any combination of your luggage stacked all take their toll. If you had an exactly boot-shaped case to take advantage of it, you'd never get the thing in through the lid anyway. Using conventional, cuboid suitcases, somewhere around half is what you get there too.

      The other trick is n inches of rear legroom, which often appears to assume that your knees and ankles are double-jointed.....

  44. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

    The issue is the ratio

    The reason I would have a problem with this is that it's 50% of the quoted memory that's missing. 10-15% is more or less acceptable and is in line with the industry standard; I seem to remember that iOS uses approximately 7GB for OS + built-in apps, that would be a little more palatable on a 32GB device (25GB free).

  45. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Class action

    "Sokolowski hopes, however, that his complaint will gain class-action status"

    But even if both of the other purchasers join him, does that count as classs-action?

  46. James 100

    If I were MS, I'd probably have marketed them as 16 and 48 Gb (knowing 16 of the 32/64 Gb would be pre-eaten) ... but this guy really doesn't have a leg to stand on: even back when desktop machines came with drives measured in megabytes, a chunk of that would be used for the operating system and applications.

    I like the solution of wiping his tablet's storage entirely, then saying "there you go, all 32 Gb is free now... good luck making any use of it" though. (Like the old BOFH quote: 'you now have 10Mb free in your home directory.' 'You mean you've doubled my 10Mb quota?' 'No, your 10Mb home directory now has 10 Mb free.')

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This guy could have gotten 4gb back by trashing the hibernate file and disabling the paging file.

  48. Werner McGoole

    Regardless of the merits of the case...

    I'm still torn over which party I'd more like to see lose. On balance, I think probably both of them.

  49. Dire Criti¢
    Thumb Down

    He got what he paid for...

    ...he paid for 32 Gb, he got 32 Gb.

    Nowhere do the adverts say you can use it all, just that you get it.

  50. Herby

    He could always use floppies

    All 10+ thousand of them.

    What is the cost of a 16 Gbyte SD card compared to the filing fee for this foolishness. Mind you the object of the insult is deserving of other fault finding, but I have seen SD cards going for around $1.00/GByte. So, $16 to get everything back. Probably wishing he never got the useless keyboard to edit his word documents. Oh, well. A fool and his money are soon parted.

  51. croc
    Paris Hilton

    I did a quick check on MS website selling Surface. Nowhere that I could find was any mention made of how much 'usable' space was left to the consumer, leaving me with the impression that storage meant just that - space available to the user. They did go to some pains to explain that a GB was one billion bytes, but no where was there any information about how many billion bytes were left over for the consumer. Guy has a point. Shirley there's enough room on a 32 GB storage media for my 24 GB photo / music collection, right?

    Paris, because, well, she's always a bit confused...

  52. Triggerfish


    fails to read the small print, and then sues. Oh the irony.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Agree with croc

    I agree with croc,

    Yes, I am aware that a certain amount of storage space is consumed by the OS, but this is 2012, 32G storage is a pretty low and a thing of the past, especially if the OS is taking up almost half. For some reason, I never considered how much space Win8 was using and never bothered to ask if it was stored on local storage.

    And no one else did either, not one article prelaunch ever stated that only half the space offered would be usable, and apparently I'm not the only one due to way so many articles are popping up pertaining to it by the same people who wrote about it before.

    It makes sense, but still, I think I would be pissed if I bought one and found that out, but I would be pissed at myself, and would not go lawyer hunting.

    I'm not pro MS or Apple, especially not Linux or Android, but I,m just not considering a Surface simply because I do not like the new OS, I do not like the tablet itself, the price, etc....

    Maybe in a year or so if the price drops, storage increases, and some of the software I use becomes more touch friendly, I may consider it though.

  54. CyberCod

    If only...

    This guy is trying to sue MS for putting forward a bloated operating system.... Seriously?

    If only he were successful... I don't care whether he's in the right legally or not, I want him to win.

  55. Dana W

    No, it's not made by Apple.

    If it was, the OS wouldn't bloat over half the storage!

    1. MrZoolook

      Re: No, it's not made by Apple.

      If it was an apple device, half the storage would be used with legalese and patent notifications.

  56. Lucky2BHere

    What an ass.

  57. Esskay

    My god

    What a pleasure this man must be to have at a party.

    It's like ordering a beer and complaining that part of the glass is taken up by the head. The difference of course is that such a complaint is usually rewarded with a perfectly justifiable punch in the face.

    1. Steve 114

      Re: My god

      Even there, there's a formal 'Trading Standards' difference between a traditional 'brim glass' and a modern one with a level-mark.

    2. dan1981

      Re: My god

      Given that all draught beers are served with a head, this should be expected and anyone taking issue with this upon receipt can be dismissed.

      This is more like being served a beer that is HALF head. Even regular beer-drinkers would be justified in feeling ripped-off.

      Now, if the beer was advertised as a half-pint and then served in a pint glass with half the glass comprising head then everyone would be okay.

      That's the more accurate analogy.

      1. Lamont Cranston

        Re: My god

        Any decent pub will top the beer off for you, on request. I doubt Microsoft are going to be popping round to pour him a few more GB.

  58. Snarky

    it isn't about the idiotic lawyer and his tablet...

    it is about gaining class-action status so that he can rape the company with fees

  59. Graham 6

    Can't decide

    One the one hand I wish this guy well in sticking it to MS for duping the average joe yet again.

    On the other hand, this is a lawyer we are talking about.

    I can't see how a lawyer can get away with not reading the full contract including fine print.

    I suppose I hope he wins, but I can't really see it.

    I think the alien really, because I'm no sure which planet he's from.

  60. Michael Dunn

    So far

    I hope El Reg will follow up on this story, and inform us all of the outcome!

  61. Dave Bell

    Truth in Advertising

    I think this guy is being a bit silly, but it's still a fair point. Look at how many instances are out there of advertising that sails close to the wind.

    How about "Unlimited" broadband?

    I would expect Microsoft to get some criticism of how clearly they do explain the situation: 32GB is the hardware description, I suppose they will say. It is, I think, a far easier thing to defend than the sort of "Unlimited" which is capped at 40GB per month, but that doesn't make the adverts right.

  62. davydavy

    He should return the device

    This idiot is clearly too stupid to operate the Surface, or any type of technology. He should return the device and go scrounging for money if he really wants something for nothing.

  63. dan1981

    He may be stupid, doesn't mean he doesn't have a point.

    Us IT folk understand that despite it being designed and marketed as a competitor to the existing tablets, the Surface is actually a full computer in a tablet form factor; we realise it's not an 'apples to apples' comparison.

    BUT, for people who aren't IT professionals, I think it is very likely that they will expect that the specs of one can be compared against the other.

    Perhaps an analogy?

    Remember old CRT screens? Well, they 'hide' part of the screen behind the bezel. About 1.5" usually. At first, a TV was described as the full picture tube diagonal, which meant that buying a 22" TV would mean you have 20.5" viewable area.

    This is almost exactly the same concept. All CRT TVs have such a bezel and all were measured the same way. While you may be getting less than you originally thought, you can still compare two 22" TVs and know you're getting the same viewable size.

    What is happening with the Microsoft tablet is like having a Bezel that is 10" wide. So, comparing two 22" TVs, one has a 20.5" viewable area and the other only 12".

    Of course, as with CRTs, the larger the hard drive, the less the reserved/used space matters. With PCs regularly coming through with 1TB drives, the used space simply doesn't matter. With a 32GB tablet, however, it becomes significant.

    The interesting thing, though, is that there were lawsuits fuelled by consumer-backlash which lead to TVs having to advertise the viewable size, rather than the full tube size.

    Computer CRT monitors are not similarly policed but it was/is common practice to list the viewable size as well, like so: '17" (15.6" viewable)'.

    How is that different from expecting a tablet to say: '32GB (16 usable)'?

    The way I see it, it wouldn't be a bad thing if the regulations placed upon CRTs manufacturers to list actually usable size was applied to things like tablets and smart phones.

    When it comes down to it, the consumer is asking: "How much can I fit on this device?" while the vendor is answering a separate question that the consumer doesn't really need to know: "How large is the hard drive?"

    1. Lamont Cranston
      Thumb Up

      Re: He may be stupid, doesn't mean he doesn't have a point.

      Very well put, sir.

  64. Robert Grant Silver badge

    If it's anything like WP7..

    .. it reserves up front some space to put apps, emails, SMSes, etc etc - app data, I guess. I'm sure the OS isn't that big, but the amount of space left to use as you will is smaller. Which is fine by me, I quite like the system, although on WP7 you could change the amount of system space; perhaps W8 isn't so flexible?

  65. This post has been deleted by its author

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To the guy who jokingly said we should sue HDD manufacturers:

    You can't really argue that we should sue hard disk manufacturers. They advertise their size fairly. It's just that Windows misrepresents GiB as GB, the unit used to measure hard disk size :(

  67. Ally 1

    MS were pushing this as the same price as an iPad but with double the memory, so I can see a point if the guy is getting it with the same free space as the iPad

  68. squilookle

    16GB is excessive for a tablet OS. I have a 32GB Touchpad running both Android and WebOS, with a stupid number of eBooks, some photos, and a couple of films on it, and it reports is has about 24GB available.

    However, I would expect all but the most clueless of users (the type that would not know how much storage they have anyway, only that it's full) would understand that the OS lives in the advertised storage, so I don't think he has a leg to stand on, regardless.

  69. Phil W

    Surprisingly he's right

    I wasn't expecting it, but the lawyer is right.

    I've just looked all through the web pages for surface, and nowhere on there does it mention 16GB being used by the OS, leaving 16GB available.

    I already knew about it, and I was going to argue so should he, but really it's not obvious so he's forgiven.

    The solution is simple though, Microsoft should give away 16GB SD cards with the Surface, they're not exactly expensive.

    1. El Andy

      Re: Surprisingly he's right

      They don't need to give away SD cards, they're already giving 7GB of SkyDrive storage that this lawyer has conveniently forgotten. Bumping that up to 16GB to compensate for used storage would be a no-brainer.

  70. Mark Morgan
    Thumb Down

    This is not new

    even back in the days of the 48K Spectrum the OS took up something like 7K leaving only 41K usable for your software.

  71. LeroyX

    what if Microsoft sells a 16G version?

  72. Fading

    Lawyer versus Microsoft

    Am I the only one wanting both to lose?

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Typical Lawyer! Lowlife.

  74. Purlieu

    re: That's the standard, and we all expect it.

    That however does not make it right

  75. Archivist
    Thumb Up


    A lawyer who didn't read the small print.

  76. dr john

    you keep forgetting something

    It's not JUST the OS that has reduced the storage capacity, its the free extras included which the lawyer could delete (well some of them anyway, certainly not Explorer) The MS site says quite clearly that they are also giving him the following:

    Microsoft Office Home and Student 2013 RT Preview1 (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote); Windows Mail and Messaging; SkyDrive; Internet Explorer 10; Bing; Xbox Music, Video and Games. (there's a free upgrade to the full Office when it becomes available)

    So, delete Office and all these other apps, apart from IE 10 which may still be an integral part of the OS, and see how much space that frees up. Bet he didn't try that, but he complains that they gave him free stuff that takes up space!

    Strange how I never thought to sue Google when my Nexus came with an OS installed and free apps taking up space (a lot less space admittedly). Ditto when I got my rather cheap little phone. Ditto when I got this shiny new laptop.

    1. cs94njw

      Re: you keep forgetting something

      Why can't he have all of that, and 32GB free?

      If a user wasn't meant to store data on these tablets, they wouldn't bother advertising storage capacity. If they are meant to store data, then I would expect to store the amount specified.

  77. cs94njw

    The guy is taking a risk. I presume he has to pay up-front fees, and if it goes to court and loses, I assume he'll need to pay Micro$ofts fees too.

    He has a very valid point, and whether it's greed for himself or not, it'll help other people who are less bolshy.

  78. Radio Wales

    Feel cheated?

    D'you know I felt exactly the same way when I discovered than 16KB of my BBC B's 32KB had been purloined by Acorn for the - ahem! - 'Operating System'.

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