It is quite easy to fill up hard drives or partitions with data. This is true for Solid State Drives which are blazing fast but don't come close to the storage that platter-based hard drives offer but also for traditional hard drives.
Programs such as CCleaner or the native Windows tool Disk Cleanup help somewhat by offering to remove temporary data or data that is usually not needed from the system to free up disk space.
It is possible to free up Gigabytes of space this way. The Disk Cleanup tool for example can free up quite a bit of space after the installation of system updates, new service packs or the upgrade to a new version of Windows.
While it is suggested to make sure everything works before you run the operation, as you cannot go back afterwards anymore, it is an effective method to free up space on a system that is running stable.
Disk Cleanup is part of the Windows 10 operating system as well and while it works similar to previous iterations of the tool, a new option has been added by Microsoft in the latest version.
It includes an option to compress the system now. Disk compression works only on NTFS drives and uses the same compression feature that you can run manually on folders or files of the system.
As is the case with this type of compression, it offers advantages but also disadvantages. It should be largely beneficial on systems with fast processors regardless of hard drive speed. It may slow things down, when it comes to file loading times especially, on systems with slow processors on the other hand.
Compression works well on files that are not yet compressed. Plain text documents for example while mp3 or zip archives yield little to no benefit.
To make use of the feature do the following:
While it may be tempting to free up Gigabytes of space using the option, it is important to remember that you have no control over the feature other than to turn it on or off.
Windows does not list the files that it will compress which may result in files being compressed that should not be compressed in first place.
It is usually better to compress files manually using the option. To do so right-click on a file or folder in Windows Explorer and select properties from the context menu.
Switch to the general tab when the properties window opens and click on the advanced button there. All that is left then is to check the "compress contents to save disk space" button.
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