How to compress file, disk or folder in Windows 10 or Windows 11 to save disk space

In Windows 10 and Windows 11, you can have a hard drive, folder, or file automatically compressed to save disk space.

To enable this feature, the hard drive you want to compress must be formatted NTFS.

File compression reduces the size of a file by intelligently removing portions of the file’s contents that are not needed. Only storing the minimum amount of information necessary to recompose the file. The information is restored to its original form when you open the file.

That content that Windows can automatically compress is slightly different than the ZIP or RAR files. However, it is a basic functionality of the NTFS file system in Windows. For example, you can create an extra partition on an external hard drive and compress that content.

Here’s toggle “compress contents” for a hard drive, a specific folder including contents, or a file.

Compressing contents in Windows 10 or Windows 11 to save disk space

How to compress content on a hard disk

To compress the contents of an entire hard drive, right-click the drive in File Explorer. Then, in the menu, click Properties.

Then check the “Compress this drive to save disk space” option. Click Apply and OK.

Compress this drive to save disk space

You will now get the message, “Do you want to apply this change to drive C:\ only, or do you want to apply it to all subfolders and files as well?”

Make your choice and click OK.

Confirm attribute compress changes

How to compress the content of a folder

To compress the contents of a specific folder, right-click the folder in File Explorer. Then, in the menu click on the “Properties”, next click on the “Advanced” button.

Then check the “Compress contents to save disk space” option. Click Apply and OK.

Compress contents to save disk space

You will now get the message, “Do you want to apply this change to this folder only, or do you want to apply it to all subfolders and files as well?”

Make your choice and click OK.

Confirm attribute compressed folder changes

How to compress the content of a file

To compress the contents of a specific file, right-click the file using File Explorer. Next, in the menu, click Properties.

Then click on the General tab, and at the bottom, click on the “Advanced” button.

To compress the file’s contents, check the “Compress contents to save disk space” option. Click OK to confirm.

Compress file content to save disk space

You need administrator privileges to modify this file attribute. Click Continue to complete this operation.

You have now successfully applied content compression for a hard drive, folder or file.

I hope this has helped you. Thanks for reading!

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