Skip to main content

Save Disk Space by Compressing Applications on Windows 10

Posted October 2017 by Steve Sinchak

Did you know the NTFS file system used by Windows 10 can transparently compress your files to save disk space? Windows included compression in the NTFS file system for years but the complex options that provide the real value were hidden in a command line utility known as compact.exe. If you are a command line ninja I suggest taking a look at compact.exe /? to learn about the options.  For everyone else, there is a very useful graphical interface called Compact GUI.

File system compression is something that can be found in all modern file systems.  But there generally is a trade-off in performance which can slightly slow down loading of applications and increase CPU utilization.  However, with certain compression options, the performance impact can be next to nothing. And in many cases, it is worth it from a disk space perspective.

The developer of Compact GUI has put together the chart below displaying the impact of different compression types on the load time, CPU and compression savings with compressing Adobe Photoshop CC 2017.

After reviewing the data, the XPress4K compression algorithm is the overall best option balancing compression savings and the impact to CPU and application load time. To get started with Compact GUI, head over to the Github repo to download the latest release.  Once downloaded, just run CompactGUI.exe and follow these steps:

First, select the folder you want to compress:

Select the compression method.

Adjust any additional settings.

Finally, click Compress Folder.

After the compression is complete, the results will be displayed.

The application that I picked to compress for this demonstration was a small GoPro utility but the result was a 21% savings of disk space.  For comparison, I compressed Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Wildlands which consumes 50 GB of space on my drive.  It took about 7 minutes to compress the files with the XPress8K compression I selected.  The result was a savings of 31 GB!

Related Posts

I recently upgraded my home network from gigabit to 10G so I could take advantage of faster transfers between my Synology NAS, Proxmox server, and workstations. But while editing family video clips stored on my NAS, something did not feel right. Every device was connected at 10GbE, but file copy speeds were slower than expected. This made me wonder, are there bottlenecks in my network?

Read More

With remote work the new standard, having a fast and quality Internet connection and WiFi has become as important as reliable electricity. And if you work in IT support, confirming an end user's home internet, internal network, and WiFi is healthy without errors is the first step of troubleshooting any slowness or video conferencing issue with Zoom, Webex or Teams.

Read More

I've written about a few methods over the years to create a bootable USB flash drive from a Windows 10 ISO file.  But recently I switched to using a new tool called Rufus that is both reliable at successfully creating bootable media and automating many steps to quickly get the job done so you can perform a clean install.  This is very helpful when performing a clean install of the [Windows 10 20H2...

Read More

The latest update to Windows 10 known officially as the October 2020 update and 20H2 is ready for use and has begun rolling out.  The final build number of the 20H2 update is 19042 with minor revisions rolling out along with normal security updates via Windows Update. At this time the new build is available to testers before Microsoft pushes it to millions of users in the weeks ahead.  Check out the...

Read More