Microsoft's WIMBoot Trims Windows Tablet Storage Requirements
The company spills details on a compressed, bootable version of Windows for devices with limited storage.Microsoft is serious about shrinking Windows 8.1 down to size, enough so that the operating system takes up only a few gigabytes of storage on tablets. The company highlighted a "new deployment option" named Windows Image Boot (WIMBoot) in a blog post from Michael Niehaus, senior product marketing manager for Microsoft's Windows Commercial division. Unlike traditional install processes that involve extracting compressed Windows files from an image (WIM) file, he said, WIMBoot keeps them compressed. This new method of installing Windows 8.1 is geared toward Windows 8 logo-certified devices that contain "smaller disks, e.g. devices with 16GB or 32GB SSDs or eMMC storage, while still ensuring that there is plenty of storage left for apps and data," stated Niehaus. To users, the technology is largely transparent, "nothing looks any different: You still see a C: volume containing Windows, your apps, and all of your data." According to Niehaus, WIMBoot "is supported with all SKUs of Windows 8.1, with the Windows 8.1 Update." It is essentially another Windows installation option, not "a different version of Windows," he said.
As expected, devices with WIMBoot are subject to a performance hit. "There is some performance impact, which is why this only targets new computers with small SSD or eMMC-based hard drives," admitted Niehaus in a follow-up to his post. He also noted that the technology doesn't keep Windows from growing larger over time.