File compression overview

Compressing files, folders, and programs decreases their size and reduces the amount of space they use on your drives or removable storage devices Drive compression decreases the amount of space used by all of the files and folders stored on that drive.

Windows supports two types of compression: NTFS compression and compression using the Compressed (zipped) Folders feature.

NTFS compression versus Compressed (zipped) Folders

NTFS compression

If you do not have an NTFS drive, this option is not available. To determine whether your drive is formatted with NTFS, open My Computer, right-click a drive, and then click Properties. The file system is indicated on the General tab.

You can compress individual files and folders using NTFS compression, as well as entire NTFS drives.

You can compress a folder without compressing its contents.

You can work with NTFS-compressed files without decompressing them.

You can display NTFS-compressed file and folder names in a different color to make them easier to identify.

You may notice a decrease in performance when working with NTFS-compressed files. When you open a compressed file, Windows automatically decompresses it for you, and when you close the file, Windows compresses it again. This process may decrease your computers performance.

NTFS-compressed files and folders only remain compressed while they are stored on an NTFS drive.

You cannot encrypt an NTFS-compressed file.

NTFS file encryption is not available on Windows XP Home Edition.

Compressed (zipped) Folders 

Files and folders that are compressed using the Compressed (zipped) Folders feature remain compressed on both FAT and NTFS drives.

You can run some programs directly from these compressed folders without decompressing them. You can also open files directly from compressed folders.

Zipped compressed files and folders can be moved to any drive or folder on your computer, the Internet, or your network, and they are compatible with other file compression programs.

Folders compressed using this feature are identified by a zipper icon.

You can protect files in a zipped compressed folder with a password.

Compressing folders using Compressed (zipped) Folders will not decrease your computer's performance.

To compress individual files using Compressed (zipped) Folders, create a compressed folder and then move or copy the files to that folder.


To open My Computer, click Start, and then click My Computer

The Compressed (zipped) Folders feature is not available on Windows XP 64-Bit Edition.


Compressed (zipped) Folders overview

Compress a file or folder on an NTFS drive

Compress an NTFS drive

Display encrypted or compressed NTFS files in color

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