Would you consider buying a new laptop or desktop today with a conventional platter hard drive? Microsoft seems to think that you shouldn’t. Such is the indication of a recent TrendFocus report, which claims that the Windows maker is pushing OEM system builders to install the software only on a solid-state boot drive. A soft deadline is reportedly set for 2023, after which Microsoft would no longer sell Windows licenses to manufacturers that intend to sell laptops and desktops with only a standard hard drive.
Windows 11 technically requires only 64GB of storage to install with no guidelines on the nature or speed of the storage device, according to the official recommended specifications. That’s unlikely to change as far as end-users go. Microsoft is pushing hard for people to upgrade to Windows 11 from previous versions and won’t do anything to discourage that for those who have older hardware.
But assuming the TrendFocus report (spotted by Tom’s Hardware) is accurate, it would hardly be unprecedented. Windows 11 also requires a multi-core 64-bit processor and a UEFI firmware with secure boot (which has created a few headaches for those looking to upgrade). Nothing in the report indicates that support for hard drives as secondary storage spaces is going away and that’s a good thing since they remain popular for anyone who needs to hang on to lots of massive video or game files.
I appreciate Microsoft attempting to make the Windows experience better for entry-level laptop and desktop buyers. And faster storage is definitely one way to do that, especially when it comes to boot times. But for my money, I wish Microsoft would insist upon more than just 4GB of RAM, an amount of system memory that would have been “basic” ten years ago. With most users running multi-tabbed processors and other memory-intense programs much more than CPU-taxing tasks, it would benefit budget machine buyers a lot more than speedy storage requirements.