How to Uncompress a Hard Drive

by G.K. Bayne

With the introduction of Windows XP, Microsoft made it simple to compress a hard drive to give the user extra storage space. But compression has the drawback of being somewhat unreliable and slow. Uncompressing a hard drive is a simple process and only requires a few clicks to complete. Once the procedure is complete, you can choose individual files and folders to compress for added storage on the drive.

Step 1

Click on your "My Computer" icon on your desktop.

Step 2

Identify the compressed drive. Depending on your system, the compressed drive might display in a text color other than black.

Step 3

Right click on the compressed drive and choose "Properties" from the given options.

Step 4

Click on the box next to the text line "Compress drive to save disk space". This will remove the check mark in the box.

Step 5

Click the "Apply" button at the bottom of the screen.

Choose between uncompressing the entire drive or uncompressing the files and folders by clicking the radio button next to your choice. Click "OK." Compression will be removed from the drive.


  • If additional disk space is needed, run "Disk Cleanup" from the "System Tools" menu and compress those files you haven't opened in 30 days or more.
  • For older versions of Windows or DOS that used the "Drive Space" program, you will need to back up all of your data to another medium before uncompressing the drive as most likely all information on the drive will be lost.
  • You can expect a compressed file to take a few seconds longer to open and load into a program than the time needed for an uncompressed file.
  • With large, inexpensive hard drives available, the need to use hard drive compression is almost obsolete.
  • Compression of files is a simple way to store files and folders on memory sticks, jump disks and thumb drives. They can be transferred back to the computer hard drive when needed and uncompressed with a few clicks.


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