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Dated: May. 07, 2012

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Windows Vista
Windows 7

Overview of File Compression

Almost all computer users, whether in homes or in organizations, always consider about the disk space that data occupies and therefore they keep on deleting files on a regular basis. Because of limited storage capacity, especially in the computers used at homes, many times users are forced to delete the files which they do not intend to and they delete them quite unwillingly. In order to avoid facing these situations users either store data on the DVDs or sometimes they use file compression applications to compress files which remarkably reduce their sizes, hence freeing decent amount of space in the hard disk drives.

Windows Compression Applications/Tools versus Third-Party Compression Applications

Microsoft Windows 7 also has its own built-in compression feature which allows users to store all the scattered files in a container called zipped folder. Windows users can create as many zipped folders as they want and every zipped folder may contain multiple scattered files and folders so that they can be located from a central location. Although the container is called a zipped folder, technically it is a container file that has .ZIP extension. Earlier versions of Microsoft Windows did not have this compression feature and therefore users were forced to go for third-party compression application such as WinZip or WinRAR which had price tags on them.

Apart from built in zipped folder feature in Windows 7, the operating system also has a compression tool that allows administrators and users to compress entire drives or specific folders. This compression tool is enabled and can be used only when the drive has NTFS file system. Compressed drives or folders have their label texts colored in blue which represent that the containers have been compressed. No additional application or program is required to decompress these containers as Windows itself takes care of them and they can be accessed quite normally just like other folders.

When users access files or folders that are compressed, in the background the operating system decompresses the files before it opens and allows users to work on them. Once users are done with the files and they save their work, the operating system compresses the files again before it saves them back in the folders. This decompression and compression of files is entirely transparent to end users, however a very small amount of (negligible) delay occurs when the process takes place.

Compress Folders

Compressing Folders to Save Disk Space

In order to compress folders in Windows 7 computer, users must follow the steps given as below:

  1. Log on to Windows 7 computer.
  2. Right-click the desired folder which has to be compressed and from the context menu click Properties.
  3. On the opened properties box make sure that General tab is selected and click Advanced button.
  4. On Advanced Attributes box under Compress or Encrypt attributes section check Compress contents to save disk space checkbox and click OK button.
  5. Back on properties box click OK and on Confirm Attributes Changes box ensure that Apply changes to the folder, subfolders and files radio button is selected and click OK button to save the changes.

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