get more hard disk space using ntfs compression

Author: - Dinesh Aggarwal
If your hard disk space is filling up and you don’t want to buy a new hard disk, one way is to use built-in NTFS compression feature of windows XP. You can free up a lot of space using this NTFS compression. You can compress a file, folder or an entire drive. The amount of space that you are going to free up depends a lot on the type of data you have on your hard disk.


Photos saved in bitmap can be compressed from 60 to 80%. . Microsoft word documents and txt files can also be compressed to a great extend.
GIF, JPG, MP3 music files, and MPG movie files are already compressed, so they cannot be compressed much.

Note: - NTFS compression is applicable only on NTFS drives. If you have FAT32 drive, you cannot use NTFS compression. Also enabling NTFS compression ma result a slight decrease in the system performance because these files are stored as compressed files I hard disk and when you open a file, it automatically decompresses taking some system resources.
 One of the advantages of using NTFS compression is that you don’t have to compress and decompress the file manually as with any other utility like winzip, winrar etc.

To compress a file or folder, right-click on the folder or file and choose Properties--> General --> Advanced
You will see a dialog box as shown in the below figure.

NTFS compression

You need to check the box “compress contents to save the disk space” and then OK. You will be asked to apply compression to this folder only or to subfolders and files as shown in the below mentioned diagram.

NTFS compression

If you want to compression an entire drive open windows explorer. Right click on the drive which you want to compress and clock on properties and then general. Select the option “compress drive to save disk space” as shown below.
NTFS compression

Compressed folders and files will be shown as blue in the windows explorer to distinguish from the normal folders.

Moving Files or Folders on NTFS Volumes *

When you move an uncompressed file or folder to another folder, the file remains uncompressed after the move, regardless of the compression state of the folder it was moved to. For example, if you move an uncompressed file to a compressed folder, the file remains uncompressed after the move,

Copying Files or Folders on NTFS Volumes *

When you copy a file to a folder, the file takes on the compression attribute of the target folder. For example, if you copy a compressed file to an uncompressed folder, the file is automatically uncompressed when it is copied to the folder

Moving and Copying Files between FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS Volumes*

Like files copied between NTFS folders, files moved or copied from a FAT folder to an NTFS folder always assume the compression attribute of the target folder. Because Windows 2000 supports compression only on NTFS volumes, any compressed NTFS files moved or copied to a FAT volume are automatically decompressed.

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To see how effective is the compression right click on the folder or drive that you have compressed and click on properties and then general. The “size on disk” is the compresses size and “size” is the original uncompressed size. This is shown below in the diagram.
NTFS compression
Please note that the compression capabilities of zip utilities like winzip and winrar are better than NTFS compression. On the other hand NTFS compression has ease of use in day to day life as you can simply click on the NTFS compressed files and use them. In case of winzip, you need to double click and uncompress the file to see the contents.
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