Updating Windows 10 on a laptop with a 32GB HDD

My father has emailed me looking for some help with an Acer laptop he purchased. He’s trying to install the latest Windows 10 update, but it’s failing because there’s not enough free space on the 32GB HDD.

He contacted Acer, who suggested he can plug an external drive into the machine, should the update should recognise and use for the required space, but he’s tried this without any joy, and Acer are pretty much just fobbing him off.

I think it’s a new device without any actual data on it right now, but apparently it’s pretty much full with the OS files alone, and if updating my Surface Pro was anything to go by, it’ll need at least 32GB spare for the update.

I’d suggested he just try getting his money back, but figured it was worth asking here to see if anyone could offer any suggestions. Cheers folks.

A brand new laptop came with a 32G drive? Yikes. You can do a lot in Linux with that sort of space, but not sure about Windows plus OEM bloatware.

I’d try to return it, to be honest, unless the hard drive is user-upgradable and he doesn’t mind shelling out for a new 500G drive. (2.5" rotating disks are dead cheap these days, and are perfectly good for most use cases).

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I think money back and starting again is a good move. This problem isn’t going to go away.

How did we get to a place where a 32Gb drive can’t run an OS?
(Anecdata: My first laptop – that I used through uni (89-93) – had a 100Mb drive.)

Just thinking: I bought an external 1Tb HDD for £50 four years ago, so cost shouldn’t be an issue here.

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It’s the standard option on <£200 laptops for school kids. The new netbook. I’ve seen people complain that they can’t install the first set of Win updates because the manufacturers stuff them with crap for bribes.

Some of them (HP) only have WiFi too, so they’re easily stuffed by a Linux install. They’ve started coming with MS Office 365 included too. Could you lose that and reinstall? The Acers have a weird boot system but they can be Linuxed if they have 4GB.

btw I can’t update my Ubuntu in 8GB (+ 32 GB /user) either. I may have to reinstall. Can you make a Win boot disk? An external USB device may have to be enabled at boot, to make it harder to scrap Windows.

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He’s decided to take it back for a refund, and is going to look at getting a tablet instead - which, based on his needs, is probably the better option.

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We bought some laptops for work (for clients doing online testing courses) which only had 32GB drives in. I was able to update windows 10 (remove installed crap and then before installing anything else) which left me with 300mb free.

Windows 10 stores the previous version incase you want to revert back - I just removed this and got the free space back.

I realise not relevant now but it can be done… just lol.

When I first turned on my Surface Pro, before I could do anything else, it asked to do an update, which took around 24 hours to complete (I don’t know if this was due to bandwidth issues, the budget processor inside, or what).

Upon completion I was able to have a play and fully explore the device, with one of the first thing I did being to take a look at how much storage was left over - at which point I was shocked to discover than half of the 128GBs on the device was taken up by the preinstalled software.

I later discovered, as suggested by @Mr_Tom, that at least half of this was the backed up version of the pre-updated windows 10, which I was able to remove via a combo of the options within Windows, and CCleaner.

Mind you, that was still 32GBs just for Windows.

It was this, moreso than anything else, which made me suggest he take it back. I’m sure there probably is a way of getting it to update via the removal of various backups, etc… but it all sounds like far too much effort to me.

A nice Kindle Fire HD 10" should be more than suitable for his needs.

My sister and I bought our mum an iPad about five or six years ago. After her initial terror :scream: it turned out to be far more useful for her. Bonus: No more support calls and annual “maintenance”. We upgraded her a year or so back, which, as you know, is fairly painless in Appleland. So yeah, if there’s no overriding requirement, tablet is simplest and most effective. Away from my desk, a tablet is all I need tbh.

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I did something similar for my aunt, as I found that she really didn’t need the complexity of a ‘real’ PC :slight_smile: It’s worked really well for the past 5 years!


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