www.BlackViper.com: XP File and Folder Compression Guide


Back in the old days, hard drive space was extremely valuable. Even though storage space is now measured in pennies instead of dollars, compressing files and folders can and will come in handy.

The old "Drive Space" of yesteryear is no longer required. Windows XP provides two options, each with their own advantages and disadvantages for compression needs.

Compressing with "Compressed Folders (.zip)" option

Windows Explorer
Image 1.1: (18KB .gif)

1) Shall we begin? (Image 1.1)

Open up your Windows Explorer and navigate to what ever file or folder you wish to compress.

In this example, I am using my local "BlkViper.com" folder where I store the web site.

Compressed (zipped) Folder
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2) Compressed (zipped) Folder: (Image 1.2)

Right-Click the file or folder, select Send to, then Compressed (zipped) Folder.

Progress bar
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3) Progress bar: (Image 1.3)

A progress bar will be displayed and a temporary file created in the same directory where the original file or folder is.

Side-by-side comparison
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4) Side-by-side comparison: (Image 1.4)

With a side-by-side comparison, we see a dramatic reduction in space used.

Compressing using "NTFS Compression"

NTFS Compression
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1) NTFS Compression: (Image 1.5)

Please note: to use this function, you must have already converted or formatted the hard drive as NTFS.

Right-Click the file or folder and select Properties.

file or folder properties dialog
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2) File or folder properties: (Image 1.6)

When the file or folder properties dialog appears, chose the Advanced button.

Advanced options
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3) Advanced options: (Image 1.7)

In the Advanced options, check the box Compress contents to save disk space and click OK to continue.

Another dialog
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4) Another dialog: (Image 1.8)

Another dialog will ask whether you wish to have just the selected folder or all files and sub folders compressed.

I chose to include everything in this example.

After making your selection, click OK to continue.

Progress bar
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5) Progress bar: (Image 1.9)

A progress bar will be displayed as to the status of compression.

highlighted "blue" by default
Image 1.10: (24KB .gif)

6) Highlighted folder: (Image 1.10)

After the folder is compressed, please note that the name of the folder is now highlighted "blue" by default.

This may not yield as good as of a result as compressed (zipped) folders, but you must weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each, described below.


Advantages and Disadvantages of each:

  • Zipped folders are good for backup purposes and network transfer due to the higher compression and "single" file architecture.
  • NTFS compression is good if you need to save disk space and access the files often, but overhead occurs due to the file needing to be uncompressed before access and /or moving, then recompressed. As such, it is best to not alter or copy compressed files often.
  • Zipped folders must be extracted to execute / access the files.
  • Moving NTFS compressed files and folders to a "non-NTFS" drive removes the compression.
  • Zipped folders works with FAT32, NTFS and most extraction utilities.


If you require fast backup and file transfer, use Zipped folders. If file security and easy of access while still keeping hard disk space low, NTFS compression is where it is at.