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Chapter 3. Organizing Your Stuff > Compressing Files and Folders

3.7. Compressing Files and Folders

Compressing files and folders to reduce the space they occupy on your hard drive can occasionally be useful, especially when hard drive space is running short, or when you want to email files to someone without dooming them to an all-night modem-watching session. Maybe that's why Microsoft has endowed Windows XP with two different schemes for compressing files and folders: NTFS compression and zipped folders.

3.7.1. NTFS Compression

If your hard drive is formatted using a software scheme called NTFS (short for NT file system; see Section 15.5 for details), Windows XP can automatically compress and decompress your files, almost instantaneously. Whenever you open or transfer a file, it's automatically and invisibly expanded; any file you copy into a compressed folder or disk is compressed automatically. (If you only move it into such a folder from elsewhere on the disk, however, it stays compressed or uncompressed—whichever it was originally.)


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