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    Compress Hard Drive (Windows XP Pro)

    Just a quick question: What exactly does it mean to compress the hard drive on your computer? I'm under the impression that it does just that, compresses files like 'zip'ing does. What's the difference between this, and the "compress files" feature on "system cleanup"? Is there any disadvantages to compressing the drive or files?

    Thanks in advance!

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    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: Compress Hard Drive (Windows XP Pro)

    Compressing the hard drive = bad bad bad idea.

    What happens when you compress the hard drive is that its entire contents become one huge "zip" file, eliminating the slack in the file system, and also compressing the contents. It sounds great in theory but amounts to a big performance hit -- every single action (except for a few key system files) then requires extra processor overhead to compress/decompress the information. I shouldn't fail to mention that if something happens with that compressed volume, you're in very bad shape - there are safeguards and things to prevent that, but if software safeguards worked the way they should, all the time, this board would have a lot less traffic. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    When Disk Cleanup does is to compress files that haven't been used for a period of time, with the logic being that you haven't accessed it, so the performance hit will be negligible. It doesn't come close to the all-encompassing compression of the entire drive.

    That said, NT based operating systems - of which XP is one - are better at compression because it's integrated into the file system. It's more stable and reliable, but still exacts a price in system performance, even on the fastest of systems.

    Bottom line, if you're pressed for space, you're going to be much happier with a larger hard drive than a smaller compressed one. Hard drives of large sizes are not expensive these days, and there is no sound reason not to invest in that as a solution as opposed to a software workaround if at all possible.
    -Mark

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    Re: Compress Hard Drive (Windows XP Pro)

    Thanks WyllyWylly -- I'm glad I asked the question!!!!

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    Re: Compress Hard Drive (Windows XP Pro)

    Mark,

    Not that I
    H Lewton

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    Re: Compress Hard Drive (Windows XP Pro)

    The short answer: yes, new files are compressed. With the exception of very few critical system files, the entire volume (disk) is compressed. DriveSpace3 (the compression utility that ships with Windows 95 Plus! and higher) allows for a great deal of flexibility; I should remember not to be hypercritical of it because it does have its uses, although it's getting harder to find a compelling reason to employ it.

    I still believe that in the modern computing world there is no real good excuse to avoid purchasing a larger hard drive. I know a video and audio take up a lot of space - but let's be realistic, if you fill an 80GB hard drive to capacity in a short period of time, you're in the minority.

    A final note: it used to be of benefit to introduce DriveSpace 3 to your system with zero percent compression, because it was an excellent way to reduce cluster-size waste on a large hard drive. Not really much point in it these days, with the advent of FAT32.

    The following is an excellent read on the ups and downs of compression, if you have the time to peruse it: http://www.pcguide.com/opt/opt/ram_Win95.htm

    All the best,
    -Mark

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    Silver Lounger Bruce K's Avatar
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    Re: Compress Hard Drive (Windows XP Pro)

    Uhhh, is there, like, a way to uncompress if you've already done this? Or a way to prevent new files from being compressed?? <IMG SRC=http://www.krymow.com/images/pyth.gif>

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    Re: Compress Hard Drive (Windows XP Pro)

    Mark,

    Thanks for the info. I will read that article for some education but I never plan to compress any of my hard drives. I probably should never say never!
    H Lewton

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    Re: Compress Hard Drive (Windows XP Pro)

    Yes, you can decompress the drive afterwards (space permitting) and using the controls Drivespace 3 offers you can pick and choose what [i]does]/i]get compressed. There's no gain in it these days....but it can be done.
    -Mark

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    Re: Compress Hard Drive (Windows XP Pro)

    If one is running Windows XP with NTFS, one can compress files. Check out " To compress a file or folder on an NTFS drive" in the Help and Search.
    I agree with Mark about compressed disks, but this method will just compress the folders your select. I am NOT running NTFS as I see no need for it. Some people that I know are using NTFS and file compression. They have NOT convinced me of any good reason to use either as of yet.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  10. #10
    Silver Lounger Bruce K's Avatar
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    Re: Compress Hard Drive (Windows XP Pro)

    You are saying that there is no gain in undoing my deed? Will new files continue to be compressed? Will I realize an increase in performance hits? And, finally, must one use Drivespace 3 to do this?

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    Re: Compress Hard Drive (Windows XP Pro)

    Bruce, you can't use DriveSpace 3 on an NT platform. It works only with Win9x. If you compressed the drive using the built in XP compression, you're probably dealing with some performance hit. Whether it's noticeable or not is another story. A lot of the performance problems are mitigated with a faster system - all the way from the processor down to the bus speed.

    Is there a gain in "undoing" it? Yes - stability.
    -Mark

  12. #12
    Silver Lounger Bruce K's Avatar
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    Re: Compress Hard Drive (Windows XP Pro)

    Okay...back to my original question then - how do I uncompress or prevent futher compression of new files?

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    Re: Compress Hard Drive (Windows XP Pro)

    Have you ever checked the online help in Windows? <img src=/S/rtfm.gif border=0 alt=rtfm width=24 height=23> <img src=/S/razz.gif border=0 alt=razz width=25 height=17> Oh wait, online help is for wimps. <img src=/S/sarcasm.gif border=0 alt=sarcasm width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15> Are you using NTFS? If you're not....your drive ain't compressed. What makes you think that it is?

    This is straight out of the help for Windows 2000 (the same thing applies in XP):
    <hr>To compress a file or folder on an NTFS drive
    1. <LI>Open Windows Explorer.
      <LI>Right-click the file or folder that you want to compress.
      <LI>Click Properties.
      <LI>Click Advanced.
      <LI>Select the Compress contents to save disk space check box.
      <LI>If you have chosen to compress a folder, click the option that you want when you are prompted to confirm the attribute changes.
    Notes
    <UL><LI>To open Windows Explorer, click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Windows Explorer.
    <LI>You can compress files and folders only on drives formatted with NTFS. If the Advanced button does not appear, the file or folder you selected is not on an NTFS drive.
    <LI>If you add or copy a file into a compressed folder, it is compressed automatically. If you move a file from a different NTFS drive into a compressed folder, it is also compressed. However, if you move a file from the same NTFS drive into a compressed folder, the file retains its original state, either compressed or uncompressed.
    <LI>Compressed files and folders cannot be encrypted.
    <LI>To display compressed files in a different color than other files, see Related Topics.
    <LI>Additional information on NTFS is available. If you are using Windows 2000 Professional, see the Windows 2000 Professional Getting Started online book. If you are using Windows 2000 Server, see NTFS.[/list]<hr>
    -Mark

  14. #14
    Silver Lounger Bruce K's Avatar
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    Re: Compress Hard Drive (Windows XP Pro)

    Okay, funny guy <IMG SRC=http://www.krymow.com/images/icon_jester.gif>, no, I didn't check online, but I did check XP Help and found nothing relevant regarding the uncompressing of a drive. Yes, sir, I am using the NTFS format. What makes me think it is compressed? Well, simply, I compressed it w/ the notion I was doing my system a favor. I know how to compress it and was never concerned about it until reading your post waaay up there <IMG SRC=http://www.krymow.com/images/lol.gif> and considered uncompressing, if possible, due to the general unnecessity (in my case) and the hit in performance per the WyWyKB. <img src=/S/wink.gif border=0 alt=wink width=15 height=15>

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    Re: Compress Hard Drive (Windows XP Pro)

    So, you compressed it - I fail to understand how you could do that, and not be able to reverse the action. It's a checkbox that is ticked or not ticked. Or am I missing something? If you know how to compress it....you know how to "de-compress" it. Just reverse your actions.

    By "online help" I meant online in Windows itself - that's where that excerpt came from. Sorry if you thought I meant online as in the Internet. Most people don't bother to press the F1 key and see if they can get assistance from the OS or application, so a reminder is always a good thing. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>
    -Mark

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