These days, consumers buy PCs and tablets and other similar devices. They’re not familiar with binary calculations.
So when they see a device that claims to have a 64 GB drive and then they look in File Explorer and see that it’s only 59 GB, they feel cheated. And when they hear that their 128 GB drive only has 89 GB of free disk space, they wonder what you’re doing with all the space they thought they paid for.
You can explain the difference between binary and decimal calculations until you turn blue. Consumers won’t get it.
Apple bit the bullet and did this in 2009. If you buy a 1 terabyte external drive and plug it into a Mac, the OS X disk tools tell you it has 1 trillion bytes of storage, with 996 GB available after formatting.
Plug that exact same drive into a Windows machine and it tells you that you only have 931.51 GB available. (Don’t believe me? See for yourself.)
Which answer is easier for consumers to understand?
I understand it’s a hassle to convert your Windows tools (File Explorer, Disk Management, Resource Monitor, etc.) to show MB and GB in their decimal form. I know it will annoy techies who have been working with Base 2 since the 1990s or earlier.
But you really need to make this change, because otherwise this sort of thing happens. It is insane, from a marketing point of view, to publish a table disclosing storage space in binary terms when the device itself AND its packaging AND your advertising use decimal measurements.
Meanwhile, maybe you can whip up a little app and put it on the Windows 8 desktop, one that will conveniently display actual free and used storage in decimal terms.
If you open the Metro-style PC Settings today on a system running Windows 8 or Windows RT and tap General, you see this:
It can’t be too hard to tweak that text so it says something like this:
Your total system disk size is 128 billion bytes.
You have 110.5 billion bytes available.