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Why does Windows occupy more disk space, compared to Linux? [closed]

Why does Windows occupy more disk space, compared to Linux? [closed]

Why does a Windows install take so much place compared to most Linux distributions, despite being capable of much less? For example, a standard Ubuntu installation takes about 4 GB and can actually be sufficient for everyday work, while Windows 7 requires 15 GB of disk space from the start and doesn't offer nearly as much functionality without external programs.

Asked by: Guest | Views: 106
Total answers/comments: 4
Guest [Entry]

"Windows has lots of legacy code for backwards compatibility with heaps of third-party vendor software and platforms. It also includes full third-party drivers for heaps of software. Windows software in general has a history and reputation for being bloated, which is largely due to compatibility reasons. Windows also has the capability to play a variety of games across many DirectX versions, and a variety of proprietary multimedia formats. Compatibility and universal usage for any task are Microsoft's goals so they can maintain their position in the desktop market.

Linux drivers are often more universal, using a common driver API across various hardware models. This is good and bad. For example, some hardware doesn't work at all, some works perfectly, and some has missing features. Software on Linux often follows the Unix philosophy - each component or tool should do one thing and do it very well, and software developers aren't afraid to break backwards compatibility to remove cruft and bad code.

Both operating systems have their strength and weaknesses. These days where 500 GB hard drives are cheap, the disk size of the installation should be the least of your concerns. A bigger concern is how much of the system's resources are consumed by running programs.

Either Windows or Linux is inefficient about resource usage depending on what you're doing. They have different design goals, different target markets, and different philosophies driving their development."
Guest [Entry]

"Nobody knows for sure the answer to your question, except the guys at Microsoft. Because Windows is a closed-source product.

You'd rather go to support.microsoft.com and ask there, I bet they enjoy receiving such questions :-)"
Guest [Entry]

"Windows has a lot more graphical config and admin tools than the average Linux distribution, which adds to the bulk. Linux is catching up in that respect, but still has a lot less in this area than Windows.

Another area of extra bulk comes from the fact that Window keeps a second copy of many key files, so that it can restore them if they get corrupted."
Guest [Entry]

"In two words: package management.

I think a stock Windows install is larger than a stock Linux distribution install because Linux can store most everything not needed immediately ""somewhere out there"" on a package repository mirror, in the cloud, or wherever. Need a new driver or app not installed yet? Simply apt-get install foo and a few minutes later you have it and are ready to go (substitute apt-get with the package manager of choice for your distribution).

Windows on the other hand needs to have a lot more 3rd party compatibility stuff at hand, right now, because there is no coherent and capable package management system. Windows Update is okay for some drivers and security patches, but that's about it. There's very limited user side control for picking and choosing and even less ability for installing applications to request dependency X. So Windows needs to have as much as it possibly can ready to go out of the box.

Yes there a host of useful things like flash and popular media codecs which aren't so easy to install on Linux. That doesn't detract from the central point though: Linux is smaller on the local machine because it can more easily pull what it needs from elsewhere and Windows can't.

I surmise if you took a stock linux distribution and added all the backwards compatibility stuff in the standard Windows install there wouldn't be as big a gap, in terms of occupied storage space."