What Is File Compression in Windows 11, and How Do You Enable It?

Fancy some more room on your Windows 11 PC? Enable file compression and get some extra space with very little effort.

Usually, when you want to reduce the size of a file or folder on your Windows computer, you zip it up, which creates a ZIP file, to compress it. And when you want to use it again, you unzip it to decompress it. But what if we told you that you can compress your files and folders in Windows 11 to save space and use them without the need for decompression?

You can do this through Windows 11’s file compression feature. But what is it, and how do you enable it? Let’s find out.

What Is File Compression in Windows 11?

File compression is a feature of the NTFS file system in Windows that removes the majority of a file’s redundant data, such as repeating characters in a text file, to reduce its size. And the beauty about it is that the compression algorithm used does its thing without losing any critical data. This process is known as lossless compression.

Furthermore, Windows 11 does the compression in such a way that the apps you’ve installed will still view the files as uncompressed (transparent compression). This means the apps can access the data in the files and work with it normally without decompressing it.

Keep in mind that the compressed files and folders will not be compatible with other file systems (only NTFS). That means you cannot transfer them to a drive using the FAT or exFAT file systems.

How to Enable File Compression on a Folder in Windows 11

To compress a folder, follow the steps below:

  1. Right-click a folder in File Explorer and select Properties.
  2. In the General tab, click on the Advanced button.

  3. In the Compress or Encrypt attributes section, tick the box for Compress contents to save disk space.

  4. Click OK, and then click OK again.
  5. A dialogue box will appear, asking you to confirm that you want to compress the folder. Windows will select the radial button for Apply changes to this folder, subfolders and files by default. Just click OK since that’s the option we want.


Now every file or folder you drop into that compressed folder will also be compressed. You can also compress a file by following steps 1 through 4 (you don’t always have to compress an entire folder).

How to Enable File Compression on an Entire Drive

Rather than compress individual files and folders, you can compress the whole drive instead.

To do that, follow the below steps:

  1. Right-click a drive in This PC and select Properties.
  2. In the General tab, tick the box for Compress this drive to save disk space.

  3. Click on OK.
  4. You’ll see another dialog box asking you to confirm your action. The option to compress the drive and all its contents will be selected by default, and you should just click OK.

The drive, including its files, folders, and subfolders, is now compressed. Furthermore, every file and folder you drop into that hard drive will also be compressed.

Save Space By Turning On File Compression on Windows 11

With file compression enabled, you can save a considerable amount of space on your Windows 11 computer. That way, you don’t have to use ZIP files or third-party compression tools. Use this feature to reduce the size of files and folders whenever you’re tight on space and don’t have an external storage device handy.


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