Have a small hard drive and a lot of data? No need to be embarrassed, you are not alone! In this guide you’ll learn how to compress the data on your drive; thus, saving space–with little to no side effects.
Important Note: There are arguments both ways, but I personally recommend you do not compress data on your system drive/partition. You have been warned.
Your Drive Needs NTFS
Ensure your drive is formatted with NTFS. If you know it is, skip down to More about NTFS Compression
Checking the File System of Your Drive
If you have Windows Vista, XP, 2000, or NT, you will likely be using NTFS on your drive. Check by doing the following:
- Open (My) Computer [WinKey+E]
- Right click on the drive letter you want to check and select Properties
- Next to File System: look for NTFS
- If it says FAT32, or anything else, then you are best to forget this guide exists, unless you know what you’re doing
More about NTFS Compression
NTFS Compression is extremly efficient; generally, read access does not slow down as decompression is done in real time.
Please note the following:
- Encrypted data cannot be compressed
- I strongly discourage compressing your Operating System drive
- You can compress a whole drive/partition
How to Use NTFS Compression
Compressing Individual Folders/Files
1. Right click on the folder/file and select Properties
2. Now click Advanced…
3. Check Compress contents to save disk space
4. Press OK
5. Press OK on the properties screen. If you compressed a folder, you will be prompted to apply changes to the folder or the folder and subfolders.
Windows will spend some time compressing the data. After sometime (depending on folder/file) size, thew folder/file will be compressed. The name will change from black to blue in explorer mode.
Note: There is a large change because this folder contains a lot of Bitmaps, which compress very well. Your results may vary.
Compressing a Whole Drive/Partition
Before we begin, here’s one last warning: I strongly discourage compressing your Operating System drive.
1. Open (My) Computer [WinKey+E]
2. Right click on the drive letter you want to check and select Properties
3. Check Compress drive to save disk space
4. Press OK and get comfortable while your data is compressed!