Understanding the Windows 7 Footprint for Solid State Drives

Applies To: Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2


This content applies to Windows 7. For Windows 8 content, see Windows Deployment with the Windows ADK.

When running on a solid-state drive (SSD), Windows® 7 requires a minimum of 16 gigabytes (GB) of space. Although some configurations of Windows 7 may appear to fit on smaller drives when initially installed, 8 GB SSDs are not sufficient for deploying Windows 7. Even when paired with a second drive of 4 or more GBs for application and data file storage, 8 GB hard drives do not allow for the increase in the Windows memory footprint that is expected to occur as users work on their computer.

Some of the primary reasons for the increase over time in the Windows 7 memory footprint include:

  • Servicing. Hard disk space must be reserved for software patches to the operating system and service-pack releases.

  • System Restore Points. Restore points are automatically generated by Windows 7, and the amount of space required by default is relative to the size of the hard drive. For more information about restore points, see this Microsoft Web site.


Users can adjust the amount of space used on the computer for System Restore by using the System Protection user interface on the System Properties dialog box (sysdm.cpl). System-image backups stored on an external hard disk can also be used for the purpose of restoring a system.

  • Logs and Caches. The operating system stores files such as event logs and error logs on the drive.

RAM Considerations

The Pagefile.sys and hiberfil.sys files increase in size in direct proportion to the amount of RAM installed on the computer. Windows 7 installations on 16 GB drives have a smaller memory footprint when the computer is limited to 1 GB of RAM. An increase of RAM to a size greater than 1 GB will result in increased size of the system files and less space on the hard drive for other applications and files. Increasing the size of the hard drive however, will not affect the size of these system files.

Applications and User Data

Software applications installed on the computer may require additional space for caches, logs, and updates. Disk space must also be available on the drive to account for the temporary increase in resource usage during installation of applications, patches, and updates.

Personal data-file storage for user documents can easily be expanded with removable media such as an SD card or USB flash drive on computers where the hardware is supported. However, it is recommended that some space is reserved on the hard drive for these types of files.

See Also


Understanding Application Preinstallation