File compression has been an important tool since the beginning of computers. Whenever you need to store a large file or send a bunch of files to someone, compressing comes in really handy.

Moreover, Windows also provides a native in-built tool to compress files. Along with that, you can also use a reliable third-party app to compress files. And for your ease of convenience, we will be showcasing both methods in this guide.

On the flip side, Windows also allows you to enable file compression for a folder or an entire drive to save secondary storage. The feature can be configured using the in-built tool. We will also be showcasing how to turn on file compression for a folder or a drive.

1. Use File Explorer to Compress a File

First, open a File Explorer window by double-clicking on the ‘This PC’ icon or by pressing the Windows+E shortcut on your keyboard.

After that, navigate to the folder you wish to compress. In case you only wish to compress a single file, make sure you add it to a folder. Then, right-click on it and select the ‘Compress to a ZIP file’ option.

Now, you will be asked to provide an appropriate name for the ZIP file, enter the name, and hit Enter on your keyboard. Voila! The zip file is now created.

To see the contents of the file, double-click on it.

If you wish to extract the contents, right-click on the ZIP folder and click on the ‘Extract All’ option.

2. Compress a File Using a Third-Party App

There are many reliable compression tools available for Windows. However, to showcase here, we will be using WinRAR.

First, head to using your preferred browser. Then, click on the ‘Download Winzip Now’ button.

Then, navigate to the directory you wish to save the installer package and click on the ‘Save’ button.

Now, head to the installer package file and double-click on it to run the installer.

After that, on the installer window, click on the ‘Browse’ button if you wish to change the installation directory. Then, click on the ‘Install’ button to commence installation.

On the next screen, check all the compressed file formats you wish to open with WinRAR. Once selected, click on the ‘OK’ button.

Once the installation is complete, the installer window will state so. Click on the ‘Done’ button.

After that, navigate to the folder you wish to compress and right-click on it. Then, hover over the ‘WinRAR’ option and click on the ‘Add to archive’ option.

Then, provide a name for the ZIP file and choose a compression format. To change the compressed file directory, click on the ‘Browse’ button. Finally, click the ‘OK’ button. And that’s it, the ZIP file is created.

Enable File Compression for a File or Folder

If your goal for compressing files is to save disk space, you can also enable file compression. File Compression is a feature of the NTFS file system where it reduces the size of a file or folder by removing its redundant data without compromising on critical information of the file. The process is known as lossless compression.

The USP of this is that it is a transparent compression. This means you and the other apps that tend to interact with the files will be able to view them as decompressed files. The apps will be able to access the data and interact with it without decompressing it.

However, the only drawback of this type of compression is that it will only be compatible with the NTFS file system. This means you cannot transfer compressed files or folders to a system having FAT or ex-FAT file systems.

First, open the File Explorer window by double-clicking on the ‘This PC’ icon. Alternatively, press the Windows+E keyboard shortcut.

After that, navigate to the file or folder you wish to enable compression on. Then, right-click on it and click on the ‘Properties’ option.

Next, on the ‘General’ tab, click on the ‘Advanced’ button to proceed. This will bring an additional window to your screen.

Now, click on the checkbox preceding the ‘Compress contents to save disk space’ option and click on the ‘OK’ button. This may bring an alert to your screen.

From the alert dialogue box, you can choose to apply the changes to only the folder or all its subfolders and files as well. If you apply it to all the subfolders and files, it will save more space. After you have selected your option by clicking on the radio button, click on the ‘OK’ button to proceed.

Now all the files will be compressed in the folder. The process will execute in the background and you will not see any status bar of sorts for the completion of the process. Moreover, do remember you can also enable file compression on a single file as well.

Enable File Compression for an Entire Drive

Similar to the file or folder, you can enable the file compression functionality on an entire drive.

First, open a File Explorer window, and right-click on the drive for which you wish to enable the functionality. Then, click on the ‘Properties’ option.

After that, click on the checkbox preceding the ‘Compress this drive to save disk space’ option and click on the ‘Apply’ button.

A confirmation alert will appear on your screen asking if you wish to apply the changes only to the drive or to each and every folder and file as well. If you wish to save more disk space, click on the ‘Apply changes to the Drive, subfolders, and files’ option. Then, click on the ‘OK’ button.

Now, the entire drive is compressed including all the subfolders and files. Moreover, any new file you create in the drive will also be compressed to save disk space.

Compressing a file is an important task when you wish to collate many files together as a bunch to send to someone, or if you wish to save some disk space. If saving disk space is your sole moto, you can also enable File Compression for that particular file/ folder/ drive on your PC.