OEMs have revealed that Microsoft is pressuring them to replace HDDs with SSDs as the default storage device in pre-built Windows 11 PCs, with new deadlines set for 2023. This is According to a new executive brief from data storage sector analysis firm Trendfocus.

Intriguingly, Microsoft’s moves come without any explicit SSD requirement for Windows 11 PCs, and OEMs have pushed back deadlines. For Windows 11, Microsoft’s most recent list of hardware requirements specifies a ’64 GB or bigger storage device,’ so an SSD isn’t a must-have for a standard setup.

Boosting the user experience

However, Microsoft requires two capabilities, DirectStorage and the Windows Subsystem for Android, but you don’t have to adopt them. After the switch to SSDs for pre-built systems in 2023, it’s unclear whether Microsoft wants to adjust the minimum specs for Windows 11 PCs.

From a performance aspect, forcing OEMs to employ SSDs instead of HDDs for boot volumes makes sense. SSDs are orders of magnitude quicker for operating systems than hard drives, resulting in a punchier, more responsive user experience.

Emerging economies are still steeped in HDD boot drives

Many laptops and desktop PCs currently include an SSD as the boot drive, and some also include a secondary hard drive for bulk storing big items such as photos and movies. However, some lower-end devices, particularly in underdeveloped and emerging economies, continue to boot from a hard drive.

Converting all systems to SSDs always runs into one big issue: conversion cost. Replacing a 1TB HDD necessitates downgrading to a low-cost 256 GB SSD, which OEMs believe is insufficient for most customers. Stepping up to a 512 GB SSD, on the other hand, would ‘break the budget’ for lower-end PCs with a tight budget.

Microsoft has opted not to comment on the topic since it is unknown what action it would take against OEMs if they do not comply with its requests.