Wiki Article

How to Install Windows 10 on Devices with Limited Space

Technical Level : Intermediate


During the second wave of the Windows 8 launch, Microsoft and industry partners introduced a wide variety of budget Windows devices. Many of these devices such as HP Stream came in a variety of colors with a full copy of Windows 8.1. Attractive qualities include an affordable price and a 11 or 13 inch display. Along with the HP Stream were a variety of 8 inch Tablet devices such as such as the Dell Venue Pro. With the introduction of Windows 10, migrating these devices to Windows 10 might prove difficult because of their low storage capacity, but it is possible to do so. One of the limitations of introductory devices such as the HP Stream or Dell Venue Pro, they come with limited amounts of disk space, sometimes 32 or 16 GB configurations. This makes it difficult to install Windows 10 the conventional way. Even if you do not own such a device, Windows 10 setup can help you successfully perform the upgrade on a system with limited disk space by using an external storage device. Lets take a look.


Depending on the device you have, you might need a few things to help facilitate the upgrade. For a device such as the Dell Venue Pro or similar Tablet, a micro-USB adapter will be required. This is because such small Tablet devices tend to only use micro-USB ports. In some rare cases, a standard USB port might be available, but prepare just in case.


The Micro-USB adapter can come with different adapters such as Ethernet, HDMI or a standard USB port.

For the purposes of this article, we are going to be upgrading a standard Windows 8 installation. As you can see in the screenshot below, I only have 5 GBs of free space left out of the 16 GBs of storage. Windows 10 setup requires a minimum 10 GBs of free space available to facilitate the installation.

One of the pre-requisite task Windows 10 setup performs is checking hard disk space.

If Windows 10 setup discovers you need more space, it will offer two options:

The second choice is an interesting option. What you can do is attach an external hard disk, USB thumb drive or point to another partition with enough space to facilitate the installation. If you have a storage device with enough space, go ahead and connect it, then click Choose another drive or attach an external drive with 10.0 GB available

Click in the list box then choose the drive with 10 GBs or more space. If the storage device does not show up, click Refresh then try again. After selecting, click the Back

Windows 10 setup, will now validate your install. Click Install to begin the installation.

That's it!


If your external hard disk does not show up, restart your computer with the external hard disk connected and powered on. Restart setup, then try again.

You can also try the following:

  1. Download the Windows 10 ISO file
  2. Extract the ISO file to a folder on a SD Card or External hard disk.
  3. Point to the setup files, right click setup.exe file then click Run as administrator
  4. Follow the on screen instructions.
  5. When prompted for extra space, select your external storage device.
  6. Wait while Windows 10 setup installs.

Thanks to community participant ThanosGR for these tips.


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