How to Compress a Flash Drive

by Perry Piekarski
Paul Tearle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

A flash drive is ideal for someone looking to back up their information or to keep all their images, documents, and presentations with them while they're on the go. While portable memory devices are limited in space, compressing the data on the drive can free up some memory, allowing you to get the most out of your drive. While compressing makes it take a bit longer to open files and view information, it does optimize the amount of space on your flash drive. This method works on Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.

Step 1

Insert your flash drive into any USB port on your PC.

Step 2

Click the Start button on the taskbar and click My Computer/Computer. Press the Windows Key+E for quick access to the same menu.

Step 3

[Open the flash drive]( by clicking its icon and press Ctrl+A to select all the items in the drive. You can also select individual items for compression by holding Ctrl and clicking each item you want.

Step 4

Right-click the selection, hover over Send to, and click "Compressed (zipped) folder." This compresses the selection into a zip folder which uses less space than regular files.

Delete the original files to clear up space on your flash drive, keeping the zip file as your backup.


  • When extracting or decompressing a zip file, make sure you have enough room on your flash drive to accommodate the extraction. If there isn't enough room, move the file to your PC, extract there, and explore the file.


  • Access the contents of the zip file by right-clicking it and choosing "Extract" to extract its contents.
  • Files can be bundled together into a zip file, or you can create an individual zip file for each folder and file on your flash drive.


Photo Credits

  • Paul Tearle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

About the Author

Supported by his wit, charm and love for language, Perry Piekarski is a professional writer holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. Piekarski is the former Executive Editor of Binge Gamer, a full-time sales associate at Best Buy and, whenever he has an extra moment, a freelance writer.

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