How to Compress OS Drive and Files to Save Disk Space on Windows 11/10

If the Hard Disk doesn’t have much space left, you can compress the OS drive, NTFS drive, files, and folders to save the disk space. Windows allows you to compress files and folders with one click. In addition, windows use data compression algorithms to compress the files; this reduces the file size on the disk. In this guide, we will show you how to compress the OS Drive.

What does compressing do?

The Data Compression algorithm encodes the information of the file in fewer bits; this reduces the number of bits in a file, thereby the file size reduces too. When you reaccess the file, then Windows first decompress the data before you access the file.

Compressing and decompression consume hardware resources; thus, if you open a compressed file, it is first decompressed, then you can read. On the other hand, reading a large compressed file requires more time and consumes processing power too.

If you have some files and programs on Windows that you don’t use frequently, you can enable compression on these files and save the disk space.

In this guide, we will walk you through the steps to enable compression on files and folders.

Enable Compression on Files and Folder

Earlier “Compress Old Files” option was present in the Disk cleanup utility. During Windows 7, Microsoft decided to remove this option. However, there were some disadvantages to this; hence Microsoft released this option.

Windows had no way to identify which file is old and hasn’t been accessed for a particular period; therefore, removing the “Compress Old Files” option was the right decision.

How to compress a files and folders

Compressing the files or folders is relatively easy on Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7. Here’s how to compress Windows files and folders.

  1. Right-click the file or folder which you want to enable compression for.
  2. Select the properties.
  3. On the General tab, click the Advanced… option.
Compress OS Drive
  1. Under the “Compress or Encrypt attributes, check the option “Compress contents to save disk space”.
Compress OS Drive and Files to Save Disk Space on Windows 10
  1. Click the OK, then Apply.

To confirm whether compression is enabled, check two blue arrow icons on the upper right-hand side of the file icon. This tells you that this folder has been compressed to save disk space.

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How to compress OS Drive or NTFS Drive

Instead of enabling compression on each folder respectively, you can also compress the entire drive if you wish to compress all files. Enabling the compression on the entire drive allows compression on subfolders and data too.

  1. Right-click the drive which you want to enable compression on.
  2. Select the properties.
  3. Under the General tab, check the option “Compress this drive to save disk space”.
Compress OS drive Windows Files, Folders, and Drive
  1. Click the Apply, then select Apply changes to this Driver and subfolders.
  2. Then Ok.

Now, you can open the drive and ensure whether compression is enabled on all the sub-folders and files.

Should I compress my os Drive?

You should never compress the C: drive or OS drive where Windows is installed; this may cause many problems. For example, while installing programs and drivers, you may encounter errors, and compressing the Windows folder could cause Windows not to boot.

Conclusion

If you move the file from a non-compressed NTFS drive or folder to a compressed NTFS drive or folder, then the file will be automatically compressed. Moving the file within the same drive to the compressed folder will not change the original file state.

I hope this guide clearly explains how to compress file, folder, and drive on Windows computer. If you have any queries, feel free to comment below.

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