View Full Version : Winzip Q from a novice computer user

10-26-2001, 07:50 PM
Please help eradicate my ignorance:

Would it be practical to winzip all of my computer files on my computer, and open them as needed (leaving those opened files unzipped thereafter)in order to save space on the hard drive?

Or, would I be asking for big trouble?

Thanks in advance.

10-26-2001, 08:09 PM
For your own data files, probably - if you don't mind the inconvenience. For system and program files, no.

With your goal of saving disk space, the question to ask really is how much of a gain that will give you. For example, on my Win2000 machine, the Windows directory (and subdirectories) alone take up a hefty 900 MB, but wholesale zipping of that entire directory tree is a definite no-no.

Housekeeping is better - clear out your Internet cache, recycle bin, and temporary directory periodically.

10-26-2001, 08:09 PM
Yes, that would be bad.

If you zip files that your programs need to run, your programs will crash.
If you zip files your OS needs, your computer will crash.

If you need space, get a bigger HDD.

10-27-2001, 05:30 AM
...unless you use the OS to do filesystem-level compression. Windows2000 (and all flavors of NT up to and including XP) has an option to make selected directories compressed. When reading and writing the files in these directories, the OS transparently handles the compression. Your files take up less space, but accessing them is slower. Doing this with your windows directory and files which are used a lot is likely to slow your machine down a lot, and doing this to, say, your MP3 collection is going to slow down file access without actually saving you space (since MP3's don't compress well -- this goes for most file formats with built-in compression, such as JPG and WMA, as well). In theory, you should be able to compress your entire hard drive this way, but being a little selective will keep things humming along a lot better.

If you're running a version of windows that supports it, bring up properties on a directory, and in the "General" tab, click "Advanced", then check "Compress contents to save disk space". When you say "OK", it'll ask you if you want to just compress the chosen folder, or if you want to also compress all the folders in it. You make the call. Depending on how big the directory is, it may take a few minutes to compress it initially, but after that, it'll just do the compression and decompression on an on-demand basis, and you won't notice much of a slowdown.

So don't use WinZip for it, unless you want to do it on a few select files, or you really don't plan on opening those files frequently. That would just be a royal pain.