How to enable hard drive compression on Windows operating system

At the present time, it is very normal for a computer to have a hard drive with a capacity of several hundred GB to several TB.

Although the capacity of the hard drive is already quite large, you should not use it in vain, because the images, videos or data today are also heavier and heavier.

Currently, I am using a 320GB hard drive but still often encounter a shortage of space because I download the file a bit too much, use it but do not delete it and also partly because there is too much software in the machine.

Moreover, for computers that use SSD hard drives, the capacity is actually still very limited, because the cost of SSD hard drives is still quite expensive compared to HDD hard drives. So computers with 128GB or 256GB SSD hard drives are still the most popular.

And to fix this problem, I will show you how to compress the drive to save hard drive space on Windows operating systems, you can apply this way for Windows 10 and Windows 11.


#first. How to compress the drive to save computer hard drive space

This drive compression function also works similar to when you use file compression software like WinRAR or 7-Zip to compress files and folders on Windows..

BUT, this function allows you to view, edit, or delete… directly the file in the compressed drive, you don’t need to go through the decompression step like with other compression software, it will be done by Windows. hidden in the system.

However, decompressing and compressing files in the background of Windows will slow down data writing on the HDD, because it will have to go through many more steps. But if you are using an SSD, it will not be affected much.

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That’s what you have to trade when using this function to save hard drive space on Windows operating systems.


You open File Explorer up using the key combination Windows + E, or click on the File Explorer icon below the Taskbar => then select This PC in the left directory tree to display a list of available partitions on Windows.

Now, right-click on the hard drive partition you want to compress to save space => then select Properties.

For example, here I will choose the drive C:, because I mainly install games and software on it, but it’s almost full (Free 50GB).


In the window Properties, you go to tab General, look to the bottom you will see the line Compress this drive to disk space unchecking => please tick and press Apply => done OK to enable this feature.


A confirmation window appears with 2 hard drive compression options, including:

  1. Apply changes to drive C: only : Compress only large folders in the drive C: like Windows, Program Files, etc. just like compressing the main folder.
  2. Apply changes to drive C:, sub-folders and files. : Compress everything in the drive C:

If you use option 1 then the compression time will be shorter, but the compressed capacity will of course not be as much as the option 2. I need more space, so I will choose the second one, and you can choose whichever one you want => then press OK To confirm.


At this point, a window may appear asking for permission Administrator, you just press Continue to continue if asked.

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And now you can work as usual, the drive compression process will be performed by Windows itself, the long or short time will depend on the amount of data available, as well as whether the hard drive is HDD or SSD.


#2. How to disable hard drive compression on Windows?

If you want to uncompress the entire drive, it’s very simple, just repeat the step Properties of the compressed drive as above => then put the TICK in the line Compress this drive to save disk space => then click Apply and choose OK done.

Windows 6

When you confirm uncompress, you have the same 2 options as when you compress the drive. But this time you are not selected anymore but must choose the same as when you have compressed the drive.

EXAMPLE: Above me when I compress, I choose Apply change to drive C:,sub-folders and files then when uncompressing must also choose the same. And if I choose Apply change to drive C: only it has no effect at all.

Uncompression confirmation also requires permission Administrator, you agree if asked. That’s it ^^

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#3. Epilogue

Yes, that’s it, I’ve finished the tutorial for you how to use hard drive compression on Windows operating system, you can apply the same with the remaining hard drive partitions.

After the compression finished, my C: drive decreased from 100GB to just over 75GB, that’s great, isn’t it. It also saves a lot of money

However, it should also be noted that the compression and decompression process in the background uses a lot, so if your CPU is not too powerful, you should not use this feature. Hope this article will be useful to you. Good luck !

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