3 Ways to Disable Automatic File Compression in Windows

3 Ways to Disable Automatic File Compression in Windows

Creatives, Professionals, and Non-Professionals had often witnessed times when they were crunching numbers in an Excel spreadsheet or rendering a high-resolution image or video project when suddenly their systems choked and lagged due to lack of processing headroom. This often caused the suite mentioned above of applications and tasks to shut down abruptly.

 All of these tasks and processes are notorious for putting your machines through their paces, where the majority of the workload is carried out by the CPU, RAM, and storage devices such as SSDs and HDDs. It becomes crucial for the users to ensure that their machines perform at an optimum level or to the extent of their caliber. 

This is to avoid data loss due to the unsaved state of projects caused by system overload triggering random crashes or worse, leading the entire system to the state of Blue Screen of Death(BSOD). 

While at first, it may seem to be the outcome of just poor optimization of certain classes of applications across the entire host of PC configurations, springing out a swarm of bugs and compatibility issues. 

However, Windows may have been allocating a substantial amount of hardware resources in the background, combing through system logs and gigabytes of data primarily because a particular setting has been left enabled by default. 

Windows may be continuously occupied with compressing and decompressing data automatically, thus taking a toll on the entire system’s overall performance. Even though the data or files are not being zipped and unzipped per se, they are still being worked upon in the background without any user manual interference.

To avoid such idle processing and loss in the system’s general performance, Let’s walk through the various ways to stop Windows from automatically compressing your personal and system files. Although, before you proceed, make sure to verify the state of the file(s) of your choosing, look out for any changes made to the containing folder’s icon. 

If you see two blue-colored arrows pointing toward each other on the top right corner of the icon, this signifies that your file(s) are being automatically compressed. If the two blue colored arrows are absent, then it must mean that compression has been disabled/toggled off. 

Note: This walk-through has been specifically tailored to be used on all machines running Windows 10.

Route 1: Disabling Automatic Compression On A Per-File Basis

This method is based on the New Technology File System (NTFS) architecture, a nifty little compression tool baked right into Windows (comes pre-installed). The feature that sets it apart is that it maintains the file(s) already compressed without requiring the user to unzip or extract them manually. 

Here’s How To Disable This Feature

  1. Open ‘Windows File Explorer’ either by clicking on the folder shaped icon on the taskbar or typing in the search bar in the start menu.
  2. Pull up the folder that contains Windows and automatically compress your file(s) that you suspect. 
  3. Once you find the folder you’re looking for, you’ll notice that the folder will have two blue arrows on its top right corner.
  4. Right-click on the selected folder and choose the Properties option.
  5. While remaining in the General Tab, click the Advanced button under Attributes.
  6. Browse to the “Compressor Encrypt Attributes” section.
  7. Make sure to uncheck or clear the selection of the “Compress contents to save disk space” option.
  8. Click the OK button. 
  9. Click the Apply button to save changes.
  10. Once the changes have been applied, you’ll notice that the two blue arrows which were present on the folder icon are now absent. If they are still visible, try rebooting your system and check again.

Route 2: Disabling Automatic Compression For An Entire Drive Or Drive Partition

This method also concerns the use of the NTFS architecture, which can be purposed for compressing data across an entire drive or fragment (Partition). The advantage of compressing large packets of data in bulk is that it will result in faster processing times as the NTFS tool will target the whole drive at once, instead of combing through specific file paths within the system.

Here’s How You Can Disable This Feature

  1. Open ‘This PC’ by typing in the search bar in the Start menu.
  2. Select the Drive or Drive Partition you wish to disable the compression on. Right-click on the icon and choose the Properties option. 
  3. Make sure to uncheck or clear the selection of the “Compress this drive to save disk space” option.
  4. Click the Apply button. 

Once done, you will have successfully disabled automatic compression of your data within the drive. Reboot the system if changes don’t take effect immediately.

Route 3: Disabling Compression Via Compact Os Command-Line Tool

The NTFS tools have been around for a long time and were available on previous versions of Windows, such as Windows 8 and 7. Compact OS is a command-line based tool extension which has debuted on Windows 10. 

It enables the users to compress all the OS installation files and default settings and applications, thus reducing the total on disk space utilization by the OS, meaning more usable space for the user. 

Windows often automatically start or are configured by default to reserve some additional or marginal space for having ample headroom to operate smoothly even when the storage is about to run out. This is concerning a situation typically encountered by users having machines that are equipped with only a single storage device, which is becoming a rising trend of late. 

This is because most of the thin and light systems come with a single SSD, adding insult to injury, OEMs are deliberately skipping out on the possibility of a future upgrade as their machines aren’t designed to have more than one storage device. 

The downside of having a single storage device in a computer is that the storage is performing the double duty of storing user data and applications while meeting with the demands laid out by the OS. You can get more information on file compression with guides from TechyHost.

Here’s How To Toggle This Feature Off

Caution: Since this is a powerful extension that will be tampering with crucial system information, it is highly recommended that you create a full system backup before proceeding to avoid any loss of personal data.

  1. Open the Start menu.
  2. Punch in the keyword, ‘Command Prompt,’ right-click on the cmd icon, and choose the Run as Administrator option.
  3. Type the command as it is, to verify that the system isn’t already compressed and press Enter: Compact.exe /compactors: query
  4. Unless the system shows that it is in the compact state, do not proceed with typing in the following command: Compact.exe /CompactOS: never
  5. Press Enter.
  6. The decompression process may take approximately up to 20 minutes. Be patient, do not close the Command Prompt window until it confirms that the system is not in a compact state. 
  7. Reboot the system if the changes do not take effect immediately. 

By following the above routes, you’ll find yourself in the clear from the unintended processes plaguing your systems with slowdowns and failures.

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