I have a media computer that stores large video/movie files of about 8GB per file... It is also used for media playback. Is it a good idea to compress the hard drives? how much space would I gain with large files like these? will this affect my playback? If I use disk compression in windows 7, will I have to wait for each video to be de-compressed before playing it, or will it decompress on the fly?

By the way, i hve an AMD Phenom 2 3.2 Ghz processor...


No, you should not compress your hard drive.

Compressing your hard drive may save you some space. However, compression is a two-part process: compression and decompression. Although decompression isnt as taxing on the computer as compression, it still requires CPU, RAM, and disk cycles. This can cause video and audio playback to become stuttered. Disk compression is best used on files that you are not likely to frequently access.

What you should look at are video codecs and audio codecs. A codec is software that enables compression or decompression of digital media. Codecs are a can be both lossy and non-lossy compression formats, but that doesnt necessarily mean the video/audio will be noticeably degraded. Video and audio codecs can strip out data that the humans cant see or hear. The most common example are MP4 videos and MP3 audio. DVD and BluRay videos are compressed with codecs as is the music you buy from online stores.

Im not saying disk compression isnt a solution, its just not the right tool for the job. You dont use a steam roller to hammer a nail.


Chances are, your video files are already compressed (guessing here since you didn't explicitly state which format you're storing them in). Nobody gets uncompressed video by accident, you'll very quickly notice. If the videos are already compressed, then compressing the entire harddrive won't compress these any further. Compressing the harddrive will have a good effect on other types of files, however. You might want to capture an image of the entire harddrive before compressing it, if you go that route, so you can have an easy backout plan if necessary.

  • He says they are all about 8GB each, so my gut tells me its raw video – Keltari Aug 30 '13 at 2:04
  • @Keltari Interesting, but what about BluRay disk images? – Chris O Aug 30 '13 at 2:06
  • I dont know what you mean by disk images – Keltari Aug 30 '13 at 2:28
  • @Keltari ISO file, you can get this by ripping the disk, creates a perfect image of the disk as one single file on your harddrive. Actual DL dual layer DVD would be about 8GB, BluRay is about 30-40GB, my mistake. – Chris O Aug 30 '13 at 2:31

Personally, I've found that, although the argument that NTFS compression requires more resources has some truth to it, there really isn't much of a difference in performance on modern computers. A 3.2 Ghz processor should do the job quite nicely. In fact, I often recommend to the people I know that they compress there computers before filling them up.

If you truly fear the increased demand on your hardware, you could simply compress one file, and see what happens when you try to play it. Use the Task Manager to monitor your player's CPU usage before compression, then do likewise after compressing. If by some unlikely chance you don't like what you see, you can always decompress the file.

  • Its not a question of can he, but should he. While most modern computers will have no issue with decompression on the fly, why not use a method designed specifically for the problem at hand? While whole disk encryption might work for him now, it doesnt mean there wont cause issues in the future. Its just a matter of using the right tool for the job – Keltari Aug 30 '13 at 1:36
  • The only thing i am worried about is that it is going to interfere with my playback. If i start watching a movie and it starts buffering or lagging... – Daniel Aug 30 '13 at 23:30
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    IDK what you mean by "right tool for the job", since there aren't really any tools out there for NTFS compression, only what comes with Windows. That said, I didn't mean to imply that Daniel absolutely needs to compress an entire volume... just that he probably wouldn't notice any performance loss if he did. – TSJNachos117 Aug 31 '13 at 5:17

Not a good idea for one of a kind material. There are artifacts that come with compression and sampling. Most archives and studios insist on uncompressed and unsampled files. Sometimes amounting to 4 terabytes for a feature film.

  • What sort of artifacts come with lossless compression of the files? – lzam Sep 28 '14 at 21:34

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