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mdworld - On Specs: OS Disk Size

I recently wondered if the required disk space for common operating systems was stagnating. Yes, I must agree that I sometimes wonder about weird stuff.

But still, there used to be a time that installing the next generation of OS would require a new PC, not in the last place because it would fill up your entire hard disk. Going from 1 to multiple floppy disks for installation media, then CDs then DVDs. On the other hand, it doesn't feel like the footprint of Microsoft Windows, for example, has increased much, while HDD capacity still continues to grow exponentially.

I drafted this graph displaying the disk space required for the OS relative to the total amount of disk space that was available in an average PC at that time. Beware, it's hardly a scientific comparison.

Windows for Workgroups 3.11 - 15MB
Windows 95 - 40MB
Windows 98 - 255MB
Windows XP 'vanilla' - 1.5GB
Windows XP SP2 - 2.5GB
Windows Vista - 20GB
Windows 7 - 20GB
System 7.0 - 2MB
System 7.5.5 - 21MB
Mac OS 9 - 400MB
Mac OS X 10.3 Panther - 1.5GB
Mac OS X 10.7 Lion - 4GB

Please note that officially there is no difference for the required installation size of Windows XP vanilla and XP SP2, but in reality much more disk space is required, so I summed the required disk space and the Service pack and the Servicepackfiles folder.

For Windows XP vanilla (2001) and XP SP2 (2004) the relative required space decreases, because the required space only increased slightly but the available disk size quadrupled. About the same goes for Windows Vista (2007) and Windows 7 (2009). Between XP SP2 and Vista the required space increased eightfold.

I wouldn't make any predictions based on this graph. If you would, you might conclude that Windows will continue to alternate not growing in size and octuplying. Even though I have my reservations on the sanity of Microsoft developers, I doubt that is a goal they actively strive for.

For Mac OS over the last decade the required OS size has increased, but at a much smaller rate than the available space. This seems like a more realistic prospect. As long as the OS is not fully redesigned and only augmented, it is expected to grow somewhat in size (as features are added), although not exponentially, leaving more room for your SWTOR installation.

Other sources:

Image map courtesy of image-maps.com.

by Martin @ 16:26 19 July 2011