Managing “Other” Storage On Windows Phone 8!

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The mysterious other partition on Windows Phone, has been of concern for a while because it has never really been defined, explained properly by Microsoft. It is in some cases, a Gigabyte guzzling storage monster, that leaves people scratching their heads. It was always one of those things that users put up with, and on Windows Phone 7, Most devices had enough storage to deal with the ballooning partition.

The introduction of phones with smaller internal storage and SD card support in Windows Phone 8, turned “Other” into a completely different beast. Phones like the HTC 8S and Nokia Lumia 620, while they can add a lot of external storage, “Other” resides on the main storage. SO once the system is on there, there is not a lot of space left.

In really general, layman’s terms, the OS caches a lot of information, to speed up reloading it, whether it be internet explorer files, pics you send to Facebook and Twitter,the messages you add to them , Office files, Email, music and video hub history. Check out this post at WPXbox for more of what you can do, manually, to lessen the size of “Other” on your phone.

images, which you’ve uploaded to SkyDrive, are moved to a certain folder on your device that you don’t have access to. It doesn’t even matter if you manually upload the images from within the pictures hub or use WP’s automatic upload feature. They’re transferred to that other folder either way

There’s a whole lot that you can do to reduce that storage usage, but what are the implications. That “Other” cache is actually what makes a lot of the native functions of Windows Phone as speedy as they are, because the OS is not having to download the information again and again.

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So manually, just moving files on Skydrive I can reduce the “Other” storage used. Understanding that partition, and what it does for the performance of the OS, and the detrimental effect that it will have on your data connection, refreshing the files that have been removed as you revisit favourite sites, or try and scroll through your images on SkyDrive, though is important. There’s only one place that this info can go, and that is the main storage of your phone.

It’s an issue for users, and it would be nice if Microsoft went to the lengths of explaining what that space is used for, as the speculation is really bad for the OS as a whole. We are starting to see though apps emerge that offer the ability to clear some of that space up. One of those, Shrink Storage got a lot of publicity, as first of its kind. While looking for information about the whole thing today I also came across another app, Phone Storage Cleanup.

If you have a phone with low, lower main/on-board storage, freeing up that other partition may be what you need to install more apps, but in the long run, apps that require a certain amount of that “Other” storage to run will be laggy or crash.

It has become such an issue though, that we can probably expect storage management to be added to the OS, by the OEMs, and it seems Nokia is on it already. Are these apps necessary though, it comes down to a definite lack of understanding of a feature of the OS.

The fix would be, an update that allows the internal storage of the phones to incorporate added SD card storage to the system, rather than keeping it separate.

In WP7, phones mainly came with SD storage, that was incorporated into the OS, If you made the effort to upgrade the storage on your phone, the removed SD needed to be formatted in a special way to be useful again in other devices. At the moment though, the way things work, mean your SD card is limited to what can be stored on it, and it is independent of your phones internal storage. Effectively the equivalent of any external drive that you might hook up to a PC.

At this point though there is no crossover, and with the trend from OEMs to produce WP8 phones, at a price that is enticing to markets where expendable income is a lot lower [budget], reducing the actual useable space for applications is a turn off, or not even explained properly. If you buy a phone with 8 Gb of internal storage, and then remove the space the actual system takes up, then the rest should be user accessible, unless otherwise made clear.

“Other” is definitely there, but it’s like the “XFiles” or “BigFoot” there’s no real explanation, and if you could completely clean it out there would be a lot about the OS that would be mediocre. It’s not a selling point for lower storage phones, and the only real fix would be for Microsoft to add external storage access by the OS, without disabling storage cards for other uses, or what they are meant for, storage.

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