Seeing which Files are Compressed

by Barry Dysert
(last updated November 11, 2019)

When you create a file in a compressed folder, Windows automatically compresses that file. Compressed files require less disk space, so they provide a way to get more information on a disk drive that may have limited space available.

One way you can tell if a file is compressed is to display the Properties dialog box for the file. On the Details tab of the dialog box, if you examine the Attributes information, you'll notice that compressed files have the C attribute set. ("C," obviously, stands for "compressed.") (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Attributes of a compressed file.

Of course, displaying the Properties dialog box all the time to find out which files are compressed can be tedious. You can, though, configure Windows so that you can easily tell compressed files from uncompressed ones. You do this using the Folder Options dialog box. The easiest way to do that is to start by displaying the File Explorer or, if you are using Windows 7, displaying Windows Explorer. (Pressing Win+E is a great way to display it.) Now, using the controls in the File Explorer or Windows Explorer, display any file folder you want.

  • If you are using Windows 7, click the Organize drop-down near the upper-left corner of the window and then choose Folder and Search Options.
  • If you are using Windows 8 or Windows 10, display the View tab of the ribbon, click the Options tool (right side of the ribbon), and then click Change Folder and Search Options.

Now, just make sure that the View tab is displayed. (See Figure 2.)

Figure 2. The Folder Options dialog box.

Go ahead and scroll through the available options until you see the Show Encrypted or Compressed NTFS Files in Color option. You want to make sure that the check box next to this option is selected, and then click OK.

Now, the names of any files that are compressed are shown in blue. This makes it easy to spot the compressed files in any file listing.

 This tip (5672) applies to Windows 7, 8, and 10.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...

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