To preserve disc space, the Windows 10/8/7 operating system allows you to compress files and folders. When you compress a file, using the Windows File Compression function, the data is compressed using an algorithm, and re-written so as to occupy lesser space.
When you access that file again, the data has to be again decompressed first before you can access it. Thus reading compressed files demand more time and consume computing power too.
In Windows 7, the Compress Old Files option was removed from the Disk Cleanup Utility. This was apparently done since; now, huge hard discs have become simply and cheaply available. Moreover compressing data did take a lot of time and consequently slowed the disc cleanup operation.
Windows has had no method of knowing which files it was compressing and compressed all of which had not been accessed for a specified duration. This was not good since many times this could hit performance. This option was consequently removed from the disc cleanup utility.
In these days of huge and affordable hard discs, many of us may not opt to use this feature – choosing instead other means of cleaning up disc space including using CCleaner, Quick Clean, or using other good free junk cleaners. But should you wish to compress files, this is how you can do so.
How to Compress a File or a Folder
To compress a file or a folder, right-click on and the file or folder and under the General tab, pick Advanced.
Here check the option to Compress contents to conserve disc space and click Apply/OK. In Windows, compression will begin automatically. The names of encrypted or compressed files can therefore be displayed in a different colour if desired.
Compress OS Drive Windows 10/8/7: The How-To
It is possible to compress an entire Drive by right-clicking on the Drive and selecting the General tab, where the option to Compress this drive to conserve space may be found. To proceed, select the Apply/OK button.
We may never need to use this knowledge, but it’s helpful to know that only NTFS partitions allow for content compression. If you’re not working with an NTFS file system, the Advanced button won’t appear.
Acts of Compression When Saving Files
A file that was previously stored on a different NTFS disc can be compressed once it is moved into a compressed folder.
A file’s compression or decompression level is preserved when copied from the SAME NTFS drive into a compressed folder.
However, encrypting a file or folder that has been compressed with NTFS compression is not possible. Once a file has been compressed, it cannot be compressed again. It won’t make much of a difference even if it does.
Discontinue Compressing the Operating System Drive
One of the Golden Rules! Disk C and the System Drive should never be compressed. Compressing the hard disc of a computer can lead to a number of issues, including the inability to instal drivers.
Also, if you insist on compressing the system drive, you shouldn’t zipped up the Windows folder or the root directory. This could cause Windows to become unusable.
Recently, a neighbor’s little daughter sprinted over to inform me that she had compressed the C drive on her father’s computer to conserve space, but that the computer would not boot up thereafter.
So, naturally, word got back to her dad, and he and mom decided to reinstall Windows.