Do I Need to Enable File and Folder Compression

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Under Windows 10, the NTFS (New Technology File System) file system includes a lightweight compression function designed to reduce file size and save space while maintaining normal access without requiring manual decompression, as when using different containers.

However, enabling NTFS compression can affect performance. Even if you do not need to use additional steps, the background function must be decompressed and recompressed each time you access files, which is a process that requires additional resources.

Although the function can affect performance, there are many scenarios where compression can still be useful. For example, it may be another way to free up space, even after deleting temporary files and unnecessary content. In addition, setting up a drive to store files that you rarely use may be a good solution. You can also store files that you use frequently, but that do not significantly affect the performance of your device, some of which may contain images and documents.

Enabling file and folder compression compresses the entire Windows file compression partition. Everything on the partition is compressed, as are new files that will be added later. You can disable file and folder compression for files and folders later on, but this is not typical.

Unless you are hungry for disk space and/or disk performance is not a problem for the data on this disk, it is not necessary to leave the compression of files and folders in the stack.

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When you should use NTFS compression and when it is not.

NTFS compression is ideal for:

  • Files that you rarely access. (If you never access the files, the possible slow-down of access is not noticeable.)
  • Files in uncompressed format. (Office documents, text files and PDF files can undergo a significant reduction in file size, while MP3 files and videos are already stored in a compressed format and do not shrink, or shrink only slightly).
  • Save space on small solid-state hard drives. (Note: Using compression will cause more writing on your solid-state hard disk and may shorten its life. However, you can save a little more usable space.)
  • Computers with fast processors and slow hard disks.

NTFS compression should not be used:

  • Windows system files and other program files. Using NTFS compression can affect your computer’s performance and cause other errors.
  • Servers that have a high CPU usage. On a modern desktop or laptop computer, the CPU is idle most of the time, allowing it to quickly decompress files. If you use NTFS compression on a server with a high CPU load, the CPU load of the server increases and access to files takes longer.
  • Files in compressed format. (You won’t see much improvement if you compress your music or video collections.)
  • Computers with slow processors, such as laptops with low-voltage, low-powered chips. However, if your laptop has a very slow hard drive, it is not clear whether compression will help or affect performance.

Enabling file and folder compression is a compromise.

NTFS compression reduces the size of the files on your hard disk. You can access these files as usual, without having to compress or decompress them. As with all file compression systems, your PC must use an additional CPU time for decompression when starting the file.

However, compressing activation files and folders does not necessarily mean that additional steps are required to start the file. Modern CPUs are incredibly fast. But the input/output rates of speed have not improved as much. Take a look at a 5 MB uncompressed data set. When you download it, the computer must copy 5 MB from the drive into your RAM. If the same file was compressed and 4 MB was used on the disk, the computer only copied 4 MB from the disk. The CPU should spend some time decompressing the file. But this can happen quickly. It can be even faster to download and decompress the compressed file because the drive type and output are so bad.

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