Is It Safe to Compress This Drive to Save Disk Space?

Whether or not should you enable “Compress this drive to save disk space”? In this article, you will learn the pros and cons of this feature and also, another better alternative will be introduced to help save disk space in Windows 10, 8, 7.


By Michael / Updated on March 27, 2024

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How does “Compress this drive to save disk space” work?

When you right-click on any partition in Windows File Explorer and select “Properties”, you’ll notice an item “Compress this drive to save disk space”. You may be wondering what it is and whether you should tick it off. Factually, this is called NTFS compression – a Windows 10 inbuilt feature – allowing you to compress files on NTFS drive to make them take up less space and you can freely access them without cumbersome zipping and unzipping.

Next, let’s see how to enable this feature to compress all files on a drive.

1. Double-click on “This PC” on the desktop to bring up the window of File Explorer.

2. Right-click on the target drive and select “Properties”.


3. Tick the option “Compress this drive to save disk space” and click on “Apply”.


4. When prompted to confirm attribute changes, tick “Apply changes to drive, subfolders and files” and hit “OK”

apply changes

5. Hit “OK” once more.

6. Now, NTFS compression should be activated inside the drive.

Pros & Cons of “Compress this drive to save disk space” 

Here, we list Pros and Cons about drive compression.

Increased storage space: Compressing the OS drive reduces file sizes, allowing more data to be stored on your hard disk.
Improved performance: With fewer files on the OS disk, computer performance may be better since the system can access compressed data faster than uncompressed ones—but only when the CPU isn't running at maximum speed.
Reduced backup size: Backing up a compressed OS disk produces fewer backup files, saving time and storage space.
Reduced network traffic: Compressed files take up less space, requiring less data to be transferred over the network. This is useful when working with distant servers or sending huge files across the internet.

System instability: Compressed OS disks require an additional layer of processing to read and write data. This can lead to system instability and Windows crashes.
Slow performance: In a compressed OS disk, the CPU must use part of its resources to compress and decompress files, resulting in delay anytime it attempts to access files.
Data loss: Sometimes compression fails and causes data loss. Although this is unusual, repeatedly compressing your files increases the risk of data corruption. Troubleshooting might be difficult when the operating system is compressed because it can mask the underlying issue.
Compatibility issues: When moving hard drives to a different computer, certain systems may not support the file system or transparent compression type used on your OS disk.

In all, NTFS compression is a double-edged sword for it contains both advantages and disadvantages. How much space can be saved depends on the types of files you’ll be compressing. If the drive is full of .txt, you’ll likely see huge space savings. However, if the drive contains files that are already compressed or not compressed well, you won’t save much space. For example, it won’t make a big difference by compressing a .zip file.

Moreover, to compress this drive to save disk space, SSD may generate more writes to the drive which potentially decreases SSD life span although you may gain some more usable space.

An alternative for saving disk space

Now that you’ve read the content above, you must have seen the shortcomings of NTFS compression when it comes to saving disk space. For example, it may slow down the system if your CPU isn’t good enough and your SSD’s life span may get shortened by enabling the feature. So, this time, I’ll introduce another better alternative – AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional – to help you out.

Regardless of the condition of your CPU, you can move multiple Apps simultaneously like Microsoft Office, games, and OneDrive from one hard disk to another to free up disk space. You don’t need to worry about any data security in the course of the transfer because it’s totally lossless.

Besides the feature of App Mover, this software can also help migrate OS to SSD or HDD, clone a hard drive to another and delete large files when there is little storage space left.

Instead of compressing the drive to save disk space Windows 10, you might as well try this powerful disk manager first and take it as a better alternative.

Download Demo Win 10/8.1/8/7/XP
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Step 1. Install AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional first. After launching it, all partitions and disks will be displayed on the main interface.

Step 2. Right-click the drive you need to move the applications and choose "APP Mover".


Step 3. Select the drive you want to free up space for and hit “Next”.

select the drive

Step 4. Tick the Apps you want to move to another drive, preset destination, and hit “Move”.


Step 5. When prompted with a warning, hit “OK” for confirmation. Then, the transfer will start.


Step 6. After it’s done, click on “Finish”.


Now, try opening those transferred Apps and check whether they run normally.


In the content above, you’ve learnt whether you should compress this drive to save disk space, its pros and cons, and how to enable this feature. In all, this function of NTFS compression is useful in some ways but has limits too. So, in the second half of the article, I brought a better alternative – AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional– to help free up disk space more efficiently. If you want to use this software on Server, please try the Server edition.

FAQs about Compress this drive to save disk space

How does compressing a drive save disk space?
When you compress a drive, the files and folders stored on it are compressed into a smaller size. This compression reduces the amount of disk space they occupy, allowing you to store more data on the drive without needing to purchase additional storage devices.

Is it good to compress this drive to save disk space?
Yes, compressing a drive to save disk space is generally safe and supported by Windows operating systems. However, it's essential to note that compressed files may take longer to access and may slightly affect system performance. Additionally, certain types of files, such as system files or files that are frequently accessed or modified, may not compress well.

Can I uncompress a drive after it has been compressed?
Yes, you can uncompress a drive if you no longer wish to keep it compressed. To do so, follow similar steps as compressing the drive but uncheck the box next to "Compress this drive to save disk space" in the drive's Properties window. Windows will then decompress the drive, restoring the files to their original size.

Are there any alternatives to compressing a drive to save disk space?
Yes, there are alternative methods to free up disk space on a drive, such as deleting unnecessary files or programs, moving files to external storage devices or cloud storage, using disk cleanup tools, and defragmenting the drive. Each method has its advantages and may be more suitable depending on your specific needs and preferences.

Michael · Staff Editor
Michael is a professinal editor of AOMEI editor team.