Both Windows XP and Windows Vista support data compression to increase the amount of data that can be stored on a disk. The physical disk size is unaltered of course, but like a ZIP file, the compression allows for reduced file sizes and hence lower storage requirements. The difference with ZIP is however, that the Windows compression works like a device driver. Once enabled for a disk, the disk drive is used like it used to be. The difference is that the compression driver compresses all data on the fly before storing it on disk.
Very nice if you want to maximize the space on your disk, but a drawback is that all disk storage operations take more time. With a very fast CPU in your system, this might not be a problem, but if you want to maximize your PC performance you do not use disk compression.
To turn off Windows compression on a disk, right-click the drive and select Properties in the popup menu. In the disk properties dialog, uncheck the Compress drive to save space checkbox and click OK.
Taking it a step further is to completely disable the compression function in Windows XP and Vista. A registry tweak can be used to turn the compression off:
- Start the Registry Editor.From the Windows Start menu, select Run. In the Run box, type regedit and click OK.
- In the Registry Editor, locate the following key:
- With the key selected, open the Edit menu, click New and then select DWORD Value.
- In the name field for the new value, type NtfsDisableCompression.
- Now right-click this new entry and select Modify in the popup menu.
- Enter the value 1 and click OK.
- Close the Registry Editor. Select Exit from the File menu.
Keep in mind that you need to make sure none of the data on your system is compressed before disabling the feature, otherwise the data can not be accessed anymore. Disabling the compression feature of Windows XP or Windows Vista should help you to speed up your PC and improve PC stability.
Note: This setting only works for NTFS filing systems, not for FAT or FAT32 filing systems.
For Windows XP there is a method to prevent users from compressing volumes. In Windows XP the complete disabling of the compression does not always work. Controlling the user’s access can help if you really need to prevent all compression.
If you do not want to use compression on your hard disks at all, you probably also want to disable the Windows compress old files function in the Disk Cleanup module.
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