How Much Storage Do I Need on My Laptop?

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The laptop’s storage capacity is one of the most important considerations for anyone who needs a computer. It’s an essential factor that influences the price of the laptop model.

But the real question here is:

How much storage do you really need?

There’s no perfect answer to that question. It all boils down to the amount of space you need for your files.  

How much storage do I need?

If you are a casual laptop user, you might want to get by with a laptop with 128GB of storage space. Mind you, it’s near impossible to upgrade storage space for some laptops, especially the old versions. You have to get an external hard drive as a backup whenever the need of more storage space arises.

Storage space of 256GB will definitely be your best option, provided you are a casual laptop user. That’s enough space to keep a ton of photos, videos, music, docs, pdf, and other files.

However, if you are a graphic designer, video editor, or create any content that generate large files, then laptops with storage space no less than 512GB will be your best option.

That gives you the ability to work from anywhere with your computer without stocking up external hard drives. The best part, this storage capacity will save you bills on cloud storage.

Most importantly, make sure you buy a laptop with SSD storage instead of HDD – this will make your laptop much faster and your data secure. Also, SSD tends to last much longer, as HDD might crash destroying all the data they had.

Storage space for operating system

When you check your laptop’s hard drive, you can observe it to be less than the amount advertised. This deficit comes from storage space occupied by the operating system, and it varies for both Windows and macOS.

The latest Windows OS (Windows 10) takes around 15GB of hard disk storage, while MacOS takes a little more than 8GB.

Advertised vs actual storage space

Also, the advertised specs are displayed in base-10 numbers as against base-2 numbers computers use.

Consequently, the base-2 numbers depict how less storage a hard disk is against the User’s value.

On average, every gigabyte you think your hard disk has, comes with less than 70 megabytes of storage.

Here’s a table depicting the actual sizes on Windows OS:

User-facing sizeActual disk size
128GB99GB
256GB218GB
512GB456GB

With that in mind, I do encourage an average computer user to get laptops with at least 128GB of storage capacity.

How much storage do I have?

For Windows 10, you can easily check it in three simple steps:

1. Click file explorer icon in the taskbar:

2. Click on “This PC”:

how much storage do I need

3. Final step – check how much storage your laptop has and how much of it is already used:

how much storage do I have win10

In this case, the laptop has 475GB in total and 311GB available.

To check your storage size on Mac, click on the Apple logo by the top-left corner, select “About this Mac,” then tap on “Storage.”

Alex Berg

Founder, writer, editor-in-chief at LaptopTalks. Starting LaptopTalks is like a dream come true, combining two of his passions – writing and technology. Even in his free time, you can often find him by his gaming laptop playing the latest video games.

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