How to Turn On File Compression in Windows 10 & 11

File Explorer’s File Compression feature helps you save disk space. Here is how to turn on file compression for a folder or drive in Windows.

One of the lesser-known features of Windows is its ability to compress and decompress files. As long as your drive uses NTFS file format, you can quickly turn on file compression in Windows and start using it.

The good thing is that Windows can do it at both folder and drive levels.

Table of contents:

Advantages of file compression in Windows

As most of you know, compressing files allows them to use less disk space. This means you have more for Windows to store extra files or, in some cases, a savior when the OS throws the low disk space error.

If you are wondering, the built-in file compression in Windows is different from compression features offered by software like 7-Zip or WinRAR. The built-in file compression, once enabled, acts passively and compresses the files in the target folder or drive as and when needed automatically.

When you need the files, Windows will automatically decompress them on the fly. You don’t have to actively compress or decompress files thanks to the built-in mechanism.

So, let me show you the steps to enable file compression in Windows File Explorer without further ado.

Turn on file compression in Windows

You can enable the file compression feature in Windows via File Explorer. The steps given below are the same for both Windows 10 and 11. You can enable file compression on folders or drives, as I said earlier. I will show both methods. Follow the one you link.

Important note: After turning on the file compression feature, it will take Windows some time to compress all the files in a folder or drive. How much time it takes will depend on how many and what kind of files a drive/folder has.

File compression for folders

To turn on file compression on a folder in Windows, follow the steps below.

  1. Open the File Explorer.
  2. Find the folder you want to compress.
  3. Right-click on the folder.
  4. Choose the “Properties” option.
  5. Go to the “General” tab.
  6. Click on the “Advanced” button.
  7. Choose the “Compress contents to save disk space” checkbox.
  8. Click the “Ok” button.
  9. Click the “Ok” button in the main window.
  10. Choose the “Apply changes to this folder, subfolder, and files” option.
  11. Press the “Ok” button.
  12. With that, all the files in the folder are actively compressed.
enable file compression in Windows for a folder

That is it. It is that simple to enable file compression for folders in Windows 10 or 11.

File compression for drives

To compress the files and folders of an entire drive, you need to enable file compression on that drive. Here is how to do it.

  1. Open the File Explorer.
  2. Right-click on the drive/partition.
  3. Choose the “Properties” option.
  4. Go to the “General” tab.
  5. Click on the “Advanced” button.
  6. Choose the “Compress contents to save disk space” checkbox.
  7. Click the “Ok” button.
  8. Click the “Ok” button in the main window.
  9. Choose the “Apply changes to this folder, subfolder, and files” option.
  10. Press the “Ok” button.
  11. With that, all the files in the drive are actively compressed.
enable file compression in Windows for a drive

That is it. All the files and folders in that specific drive are compressed.

It is that simple to turn on file compression in Windows.

I hope this simple and easy Windows how-to guide helped you.

If you are stuck or need some help, comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.

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