How to Compress Files Grayed Out in Windows 2003

Written by dave wilson
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How to Compress Files Grayed Out in Windows 2003
Use NTFS compression to shrink the size of hidden files in Windows Server 2003. (Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

The NTFS file system supports a large number of features that can be used to help optimise a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 installation. Compression of drive volumes, directories, and files that reside on an NTFS formatted drive are supported in Windows Server 2003. Even "grayed-out" files, which have the "Hidden" attribute set, can be compressed individually if the "Show hidden files and folders" setting has been enabled in the operating system. Compress "Hidden" files that are installed on an NTFS-formatted partition in order to conserve hard drive space.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Select the "Start" button and then click "My Computer." Click the "Tools" menu at the top of the "My Computer" window that appears, and then click "Folder Options." Select the "View" tab and then click the "Show hidden folders and files" radio button. Click to add a check mark in the "Display contents of system folders" check box. Click to clear the "Hide protected operating system files" check box. Click the "OK" button to save the setting. Hidden files will now be "grayed out" but visible.

  2. 2

    Choose the "Start" button located in the lower left corner of the Windows 2003 Server desktop, and then select the "My Computer" icon and navigate to the directory where the "grayed-out" files are located.

  3. 3

    Right-click on a "grayed-out" file, and then select the "Properties" option in the drop-down menu.

  4. 4

    Choose the "Advanced" tab, and then tick the "Compress contents to save disk space" box. Select the "OK" button to save the setting. Then select the "OK" button in the "Properties" window and the file will be compressed.

  5. 5

    Repeat the procedure for all "grayed-out" or "Hidden" files that need to be compressed to save drive space.

Tips and warnings

  • NTFS compression can decrease the read and write performance of the files that are compressed. Test system performance by opening and closing compressed files and programs that access compressed files to determine if performance is acceptable after compressing files.

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