How To Compress Windows 10 Installation Files & Folders 2023


If your Windows 10 drive is running out of disk space, there are many ways to free up valuable drive space. The best thing to do is run junk cleaning software like CCleaner (if you haven't already) and uninstall any unwanted software. If this is not possible, increase the size of your system partition.

After trying all other possible options to free up disk space, you can consider Windows 10's Compress operating system feature to free up a significant amount of disk space. Compress all files and folders that are part of the operating system. Also, unlike NTFS compression (part of all recent Windows versions), this OS compression feature does not affect system performance.

Compressing the operating system can free up about 2 GB of free space. Compressed OS was first indicated in Windows 10 and is not present in its predecessor.

WARNING: Although the method is safe, we recommend you create an image backup of Windows 10 just in case something goes wrong.

Method 1 of 2

Compress Windows 10 OS to free up disk space

Step 1: Open Command Prompt as administrator. To do so, type CMD in the Start menu search box, right-click on Command Prompt in search results and then click Run as administrator option.

You can also right-click on the Start button and then click Command Prompt (admin) to open elevated Command Prompt.

Click the Yes button when you see the User Account Control dialog.

Step 2: Before actually beginning to compress the operating system, it’s a good idea to check the status of the compact state. In the elevated Command Prompt, type the following command and press Enter key to know the status of the compact state.

compact /compactos:query

The message "The system is not in a compact state because Windows has determined that it is not beneficial for this system" indicates that Windows 10 is not compacted with the compact operating system feature. Since Windows 10 was installed on a large drive, the tool says "not useful for this system".

Also, when compact state is enabled, you will see the message "The system is in compact state and will remain in that state unless changed by administrator."

Step 3: To compress your Windows 10 OS, type the following command, and press Enter key.

compact /compactos:always

Depending on the size of the data on the drive where Windows 10 is installed and your PC’s hardware configuration, Windows might take up to an hour to complete the job. Once done, check the drive properties to know how much space you gained by compressing Windows 10 OS.

You should be able to free up at least 2 GB of free space by compressing the Windows 10 operating system.

Uncompress Windows 10 install

To turn off the compact state feature and uncompress Windows 10, execute the following command.

compact /compactos:never

Method 2 of 2

Compress Windows 10 using the NTFS compression method

As mentioned before, compressing operating system files might degrade Windows 10 performance. If possible, we suggest you avoid compressing Windows 10 install and use other ways out there to free up some space on the system drive.

Please note that this NTFS file compression feature is available only if the drive where Windows 10 is installed is using NTFS instead of other file systems. To check the file system type, right-click on the drive, and then click properties.

NOTE: It’s hard to tell the exact amount of space you will gain by compressing your Windows 10 install files and folders. On our Windows 10 Pro (x64), we managed to free up a little more than 1.5 GB of space. Depending on the total size of the data on the drive, you might be able to free up less or more.

To compress

Step 1: Open up File Explorer, right-click on the drive where Windows 10 is installed (usually “C” drive), and then click Properties option.

Step 2: Under the General tab, check the box labeled Compress this drive to save disk space, and then click the Apply button.

Step 3: When you see the following confirmation dialog, make sure that the select option labeled Apply changes to drive, subfolders, and files before clicking the OK button.

Depending on the total size of the data on the drive, Windows 10 might take a couple of minutes to hours to complete the compression.

Once the compression is done, all files and folders on your Windows 10 drive will have blue icons, as shown below. These icons also appear on files and folders on the desktop.

To uncompress Windows 10 install drive

Step 1: Right-click on the drive where Window 10 is installed and then click Properties to open the drive's properties dialog.

Step 2: Under the General tab, deselect the option labeled Compress this drive to save disk space and then click the Apply button.

Step 3: When you see the following confirmation dialog, click the OK button. 

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