It's my first time creating a separate partition (on Windows 7) to store all my data and I'm using the Disk Management tool, and I've been presented with the choice of whether to enable file and folder compression, but I'm not sure what this option means. If I don't tick this box, will I not be capable of compressing anything in the new partition? That wouldn't make much sense, so I must be missing something here. What happens, exactly, if I tick that box as opposed to not ticking it?
File and Folder Compression compresses the entire partition with Windows File compression. Everything on the partition will be compressed, as well as any new files added later. You can uncheck file and folder compression on files and folders after the fact, but this is not typical.
Unless you are starving for disk space and/or disk performance isnt an issue for data on this drive, then there is no need to enable file and folder compression off the bat.