[Tutorial] How to compact Windows 10 to save space

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Compact OS

When any software is updated, most users look at the obvious changes like new features and interface changes but those are not the only important things you should look for. In fact, smaller changes made in the background can be equally useful though usually less exciting. One such change found in Windows 10 is ‘Compact OS’, a feature that allows Windows to run entirely from compressed files which reduces the OS’s overall footprint when combined with Microsoft’s other compression mechanisms.

For the end user, activating Compact OS will instantly free up about 1.5GB of storage in 32-bit systems and about 2.6GB in 64-bit systems. Users with large drives may scoff at these numbers but there are those who need to squeeze every single MB out of their PCs so compacting the OS can be an easy way of gaining some space.

How to compact Windows 10

Microsoft has explained how Compact OS and the other compression tools work in Windows 10 but it has not really described the requirements that need to be filled in order for the feature to be enabled. You may find that Compact OS is already enabled in your system, for instance, though this will vary depending on your configurations.

Before you do anything else, open an elevated command prompt window. The easiest way to do that is to open your Start menu, type cmd.exe and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter. Alternatively, right-click on the first result and choose to “Run as administrator”. Once CMD opens, type the following command and press Enter:

Compact /compactos:query

Compact OS Query

This will quickly tell you whether your system is “in the Compact state” or not. You may also get a message saying Windows has not enabled the compact state because it has determined it will not be beneficial for your system. The problem with that message is that it does not provide no explanation so the reason can be anything from a missing connection to an actual problem in your drive. If you choose to continue, try to note the performance of your system before and after the compression and deal with the results accordingly.

To enable Compact OS, go back to the elevated command prompt and enter the following:

Compact /compactos:always

CompactOS Always

To disable Compact OS, enter this command:

Compact /compactos:never

CompactOS Never

It really is as simple as that. Both compressing and uncompressing can take quite a long time so allow the processes to finish and then close the command prompt window.