These days hard drive space have become dirt cheap. Drives with terabytes of memory are available at a very cheap rate than it was available a decade ago. But with increase with hard disk size, the size of an average file has increased dramatically. Movies and songs in FullHD, games, software occupy at least some gigabytes of memory at once, ensuring the old cat-and-mouse charge of data vs. space. And now if you’re running out of disk space for that favourite song of yours then have a look on how you can effectively free up disk space.
Enable NTFS Compression
All might have been aware of compressed file formats, the most popular among them in the ZIP, RAR and GZip. If you have a large volume of compressible data then you probably store them in one of those formats. But what if you need to frequently access them with programs incompatible with these “container” formats? You extract them. Tedious isn’t? Luckily, NTFS has data compression semantics built right into file system level. Set the compressed bit to true and the file is automatically compressed as it is stored onto the disk, Moreover, it is presented just as any other normal file, thus guaranteeing that each and every app can access the file normally. Under file properties, you can mark individual files, folders and even entire drives as compressed.
Enabling NTFS Compression for individual files or folders:
- In an NTFS drive select the files, folders you want to compress.
- Right click and open “Properties”.
- Under “General>Attributes>Advanced”, check “Compress contents to save disk space” and click “Ok”.
- Click “Apply “to apply the attributes. It might take a while depending upon the file/folder size and type of data.
Enabling NTFS Compression for an entire drive:
- Right click on an NTFS drive and open “Properties”.
- Under “General”, check “Compress this drive to save disk space”.
- Click “Apply” to apply the changes. The process will take a while to complete. After completion, every file in the disk will be compressed.
Compression and decompression is carried out just-in-time by the NTFS driver and with modern processor there won’t be any significant change in system performance except for at times when file copies may become slower. However, care must be taken while selecting files for compression. Files like MP3 audio, Videos and JPEG images are already highly compressed and there is little gain in compressing them again. But documents like docs and pdfs are just a few of the many file formats that compress well and result in huge data savings. Also note that compression is an NTFS specific feature and is not available on files systems other than NTFS like the popular FAT or FAT32, used in memory cards and removable drives. NTFS compression is also only available on drives with a sector size less than 4KB. Compression also has certain implications, for larger volumes, the more the drive size, the less is the write performance.
PRECAUTION: DO NOT COMPRESS YOUR ENTIRE SYSTEM DRIVE (the drive onto which windows is installed). This will result in windows becoming unbootable. However, you can safely compress individual folders like “Program Files”, “My Documents” or “Users”. Care must be taken to avoid the BCD and the “Boot” and “Windows” folder.
Clean up Junk Hogging your Hard Drives
Temporary files, unwanted software logs, memory crash dumps, file caches from poorly designed programs and unwanted databases – all contribute to junk files that simply hog your disk space. A great deal of such can be found under “%Temp%” and under certain areas of “%APPDATA%”. The only solution is to search and destroy. Windows includes a disk clean-up utility (cleanmgr.exe) out-of-the-box. Select a drive and voila! All you junk shall be removed.
Cleaning up a disk using disk clean-up
- Launch disk clean-up from “Start>Accessories>System Tools>Disk Clean-up”.
- Select a drive to scan for junk files. The scan shall take a few minutes to run.
- After scan completes, select the files for deletion and press “Run Cleaner”
- To remove junk created by system, select “Clean-up System Files” in the results window, and repeat step 3.
However, in many cases, the windows disk clean-up is unable to complete clear your system for junk files, such as the temp files created by various multimedia editors, or obsolete media indexes of media players. You can use a dedicated utility for this task, such as CCleaner. It is simple yet effective piece of software with additional vanilla such as a registry cleaner and uninstaller.
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