Image: Pixabay

Microsoft is making a deliberate effort at stopping HDDs from being used as boot drives, according to a recent executive brief from data storage industry analyst firm Trendfocus, which can reveal that OEMs have been asked by the tech giant to drop hard drives as the primary storage device in pre-built Windows 11 PCs by 2023. This may not be the worst idea that has come from the Windows maker, as SSDs remain one of the best upgrades that enthusiasts can make for their greater speeds, which blow past the performance of their HDD counterparts by many orders of magnitude. Microsoft has yet to provide any firm SSD requirement for Windows 11 PCs, however, and OEMs don’t seem thrilled by the idea, having reportedly pushed back on the deadlines.

Image: Western Digital

Microsoft’s most current list of hardware requirements calls for a ’64 GB or larger storage device’ for Windows 11, so an SSD isn’t a minimum requirement for a standard install. However, Microsoft stipulates that two features, DirectStorage and the Windows Subsystem for Android(opens in new tab), require an SSD, but you don’t have to use those features. It is unclear whether or not Microsoft plans to change the minimum specifications for Windows 11 PCs after the 2023 switchover to SSDs for pre-built systems.

Source: Trendfocus (via Tom’s Hardware)

Go to thread

Don’t Miss Out on More FPS Review Content!

Our weekly newsletter includes a recap of our reviews and a run down of the most popular tech news that we published.

25 comments

  1. This should have ended a decade ago.

    Already by 2012 they were affordable enough that there was no reason to not at least have a small dedicated boot SSD.
    Sure there is... do you trust your boomer grandparents enough not to just install everything and save everything to the C drive of their computer and then bitch when it is out of space and crashes all the **** time?
  2. Sure there is... do you trust your boomer grandparents enough not to just install everything and save everything to the C drive of their computer and then bitch when it is out of space and crashes all the **** time?
    I understand where you are coming from but the sad fact is, mechanical drives as boot volumes is painfully slow once you've experienced the OS on an SSD.
  3. Sure there is... do you trust your boomer grandparents enough not to just install everything and save everything to the C drive of their computer and then bitch when it is out of space and crashes all the **** time?

    That is a problem I ahve struggled with when setting up computers for other people, even way younger ones who should know much better.

    I've even created links to the second drive, their hard drive on their desktop and showed them how to save files on the hard drive and they still don't do it. And these aren't grandmothers, or even my parents, but people my age, now in their 40's.

    When I point it out, they are like, uh, show me how to find that other drive again (for the 18th time)

    Typical computer literacy is absolutely appalling unfortunately.

    But that is no excuse. For the typical comsumer, if they don't install an all SSD machine (which considering how cheap TB SSD's have become there really is no excuse not to do today) then at least ship the machine with some sort of automatic storage tiering.

    This is one of the few things I think Apple did right. (Apple Fusion Drive I think it was called?)
  4. Sure there is... do you trust your boomer grandparents enough not to just install everything and save everything to the C drive of their computer and then bitch when it is out of space and crashes all the **** time?
    That's why they made those hybrid drives. Even Apple had them. Not as good as pure SSD for speed, but it sure as heck beats a HDD, and they are grandparent-proof.
  5. That's why they made those hybrid drives. Even Apple had them. Not as good as pure SSD for speed, but it sure as heck beats a HDD, and they are grandparent-proof.
    Yea I remember when a place I worked at got new workstations with hybrid drives... It was alright.
  6. You move the 'user' folders to another drive - I do this constantly even for my own systems. It's relatively painless, except having to do them one at a time...
  7. I've always thought there should be a simple toggle switch in the OS that just automatically creates all the document folders on another drive if it's present and the user authorizes it. Once turned on it defaults all saves to the other drive outside of what the OS and install programs need for their own maintenance. I know I'm oversimplifying it but I do believe there could be a way to do it.

    I've done all the things already mentioned in this thread and more but d**n it if they still don't find ways to save crap on the root needlessly. What's worse is when they can't find it because they just let everything go where Windows or some program, or browser/site, chooses for them. I also agree that it's not age-related either as I've experienced this with just about every age group that can hit the power button and start clicking on a mouse.
  8. Booting from HDDs is horribly painful. I left that sh1t ages ago.

    That is a problem I ahve struggled with when setting up computers for other people, even way younger ones who should know much better.

    I've even created links to the second drive, their hard drive on their desktop and showed them how to save files on the hard drive and they still don't do it. And these aren't grandmothers, or even my parents, but people my age, now in their 40's.

    When I point it out, they are like, uh, show me how to find that other drive again (for the 18th time)

    Typical computer literacy is absolutely appalling unfortunately.
    Sadly I have had similar experiences. It really boggles the mind how people can be like this.

    I've done all the things already mentioned in this thread and more but d**n it if they still don't find ways to save crap on the root needlessly. What's worse is when they can't find it because they just let everything go where Windows or some program, or browser/site, chooses for them. I also agree that it's not age-related either as I've experienced this with just about every age group that can hit the power button and start clicking on a mouse.
    Same. It's kinda depressing actually. In the past couple years I built some X570 machines for my friend's girlfriend's kids who are in their 20s, and one for my friend who is a few months older than me. They all behaved like this. I think I've finally set them straight, but I'm not there to supervise their computer use every single day. Who knows what horrible train wrecks they have made out of the pristine systems I built for them. I try not to think about it.

    This thread reminded me about a depressing article I read in recent years: https://www.theverge.com/22684730/students-file-folder-directory-structure-education-gen-z
  9. Booting from HDDs is horribly painful. I left that sh1t ages ago.


    Sadly I have had similar experiences. It really boggles the mind how people can be like this.


    Same. It's kinda depressing actually. In the past couple years I built some X570 machines for my friend's girlfriend's kids who are in their 20s, and one for my friend who is a few months older than me. They all behaved like this. I think I've finally set them straight, but I'm not there to supervise their computer use every single day. Who knows what horrible train wrecks they have made out of the pristine systems I built for them. I try not to think about it.

    This thread reminded me about a depressing article I read in recent years: https://www.theverge.com/22684730/students-file-folder-directory-structure-education-gen-z
    That is a good article. It reminds me of an old adage "something given has no value". There are some of us who will always take value in what we have while others will only assign a value if it's something they had to work towards. Many people will experience computer services as a given thing and not place any value beyond their time on clicking on a mouse for what they need. Mechanics see the same behavior with how cars get treated as well.
  10. This should have ended a decade ago.

    Already by 2012 they were affordable enough that there was no reason to not at least have a small dedicated boot SSD.
    On a production PC I agree. But if I'm just putting together a PC quickly for whatever purpose, I might not have SSDs lying around all the time. But there is always one retired HDD.

    Same. It's kinda depressing actually. In the past couple years I built some X570 machines for my friend's girlfriend's kids who are in their 20s, and one for my friend who is a few months older than me. They all behaved like this. I think I've finally set them straight, but I'm not there to supervise their computer use every single day. Who knows what horrible train wrecks they have made out of the pristine systems I built for them. I try not to think about it.
    All thanks to Apple and MS deliberately trying to hide the inner workings of file systems from the user. The windows store is especially egregious in this regard, putting and downloading apps wherever it **** well pleases without any user oversight or control. But browsers downloading files into the user directory by default without asking are just as guilty.
  11. Same. It's kinda depressing actually. In the past couple years I built some X570 machines for my friend's girlfriend's kids who are in their 20s, and one for my friend who is a few months older than me. They all behaved like this. I think I've finally set them straight, but I'm not there to supervise their computer use every single day. Who knows what horrible train wrecks they have made out of the pristine systems I built for them. I try not to think about it.

    This thread reminded me about a depressing article I read in recent years: https://www.theverge.com/22684730/students-file-folder-directory-structure-education-gen-z

    Yeah, it's the iPad generation.

    It's sad.

    Some simplifications make sense in order to make things easier. This is one that does not. File and folder structures are a crucial concept, and it frustrates me to no end when Microsoft tries to hide them in their Office 365 system.

    Having to click a special button just in order to reveal the file/folder view is insane and makes me angry every single time I use the "save as" dialog.

    Microsoft needs to stop being an enabler for this stupidity.
  12. Yeah, it's the iPad generation.

    It's sad.

    Some simplifications make sense in order to make things easier. This is one that does not. File and folder structures are a crucial concept, and it frustrates me to no end when Microsoft tries to hide them in their Office 365 system.

    Having to click a special button just in order to reveal the file/folder view is insane and makes me angry every single time I use the "save as" dialog.

    Microsoft needs to stop being an enabler for this stupidity.

    I should add, it's not just Microsoft who are the problem. If anything, they are just followers on this. Apple and Google drove this trend. Apple even bragged about it. Remember their "What's a computer" ads? Yeah, They should have just called them "What's basic competency?"


    These companies bear direct responsibility for the dumbing down of the public.

    The change is absolutely astonishing to me. When we were growing up your parents and grandparents were the tech illiterate ones, and we had to roll our eyes and help them with the dumbest stuff. In order to do the cool stuff, we were forced to learn. If you couldn't figure out how to set up Winsock Trumpet you weren't getting online and couldn't use IRC.

    Now thanks to "swipe left, swipe right" the next generation is right back where our parents were from a tech literacy perspective. It's a little scary how these kids will perform out in the job market.

    As someone suggested in that Verge article, someone should take their phones away and force them to live with Windows 98 for a couple of months.
  13. I think it's analogous to cars - as many cars to computers analogies that can be made.

    Used to be everyone knew how to use their spare tire, how to check the oil, how to shift a manual transmission, etc.

    Now cars don't even have keys for the ignition, don't need to use more than one pedal, and can drive themselves if you let them, etc.
  14. I think it's analogous to cars - as many cars to computers analogies that can be made.

    Used to be everyone knew how to use their spare tire, how to check the oil, how to shift a manual transmission, etc.

    Now cars don't even have keys for the ignition, don't need to use more than one pedal, and can drive themselves if you let them, etc.

    Well, some of these things aren't strictly necessary, and in those cases letting the tech take over and worrying less about details is perfectly reasonable, and maybe even preferable.

    File system hierarchies though? I just don't think that applies there.

    I also tend to think that autonomous driving tech is highly premature at this point. The tech can handle best case happy path scenarios today, which might be 95% of driving, but the remaining 5% will be VERY difficult to implement, even with fancy machine learning. The low hanging fruit has been picked at this point.

    Unless you want to get stranded at the side of the road when conditions or sutiations aren't clear to self driving tech, you are still going to need to know how to drive yourself for the foreseeable future. Maybe even for 30 years to come.
  15. Just so long as one still has the option to use a hdd as a boot drive, I don't care what MS wants OEM's to do.
    Yeah, I suspect this will kind of be a "Quality of Life" type of thing, where Microsoft may require it of OEM's in order to get their certification or blessing or whatever for whatever it is worth.

    I don't see how they could remove or block anyone installing on a hard drive, especially with how common running Windows instances on VM's is, where those VM images are often stored on a SAN via iSCSI.

    One could argue that this is a pro feature, and maybe would only be present in in professional or enterprise versions of Windows, but that neglects tthe fact that one of the very popular usage cases for VM's is for QA Testing of software, where you need to quickly spin up environments in various Windows versions that users are actually using in order to test if your software works, and not all users are using only professional/enterprise versions of windows, and it probably seem sunlikely that Microsoft would require that VM installations have SSD SAN's or other storage pools to support them.

    I'm assuming what would happen here is that Microsoft would update the minimum requirements of Windows 11 to include an SSD, and that would shame OEM's into selling their base models with SSD's, but that everyone else will be free to do essentially what they want. But, it might mean that there would be less and less consideration for seek latencies and other things inherent to hard drives left in Windows 11 as time goes on, so those who DO choose to boot off of hard drives may find the quality of their experience deteriorate and get slower.
  16. I've got to wonder, not that I actually look for bottom-barrel laptops: is shipping with spinners still like a thing?

    I couldn't tell you about now, but as recently as 2018 my work issued me a new Dell XPS with a spinning laptop drive.

    I was rather annoyed.

Leave a comment

Please log in to your forum account to comment