File Compression

Well, well, well, It’s about time we got to this one. So i will start at the beginning.

A long time ago. When computers were young and ignorant, and didn’t try to kill us, they filled up with space easily. The masters needed to create a method of storing data that didn’t take up a whole lot of space. In other words, they needed to make the files smaller. So they created Compression. What did this do? Well, any file that was “compressed” Had a smaller size than it originally came in. How did they do this? Let’s see an example.

The fat cat sat. (ps i learned about this in MS DOS)

So you type this in, safe it in a file and it takes up space for every letter needs some bits of storage, correct? But as you may have noticed in that sentence, some letters are similar. So why waste so much space typing in the same “at” in The fat cat sat. So what Compression can do is, “The f* c* s*.” See, by replacing commonly used letters with symbols and stuff it saves some space. And this applied to a huge document makes a great difference. When you open the document, you see little difference, unless it’s a highly compressed photo file, eg, Jpeg, png…. And it works with all the letter and numbers and compression works in different ways. So that way, you get the most space.

So how can you use compression? For those of you using Windows 98 or 95. There’s a neat tool for the FAT 32 system called Disk Compression. It takes all your space and makes it seem like you have more. Simple really. You can find it in the system tools tab. But since no one uses 98 or 95 anymore. Lets see how Windows does it.

Compressing the hard drive: This not only makes it easier to use compression and safely, but also unfortunately reduces your performance, if you care a lot about performance don’t do this one, but if it’s not that important to you and you really want more space, then do this.

1. Click My Computer. Right click Properties. On there, should be a check mark called, “Compress this drive to save space.” After checking it, a windows should pop up, default is fine, click ok. (note, ignore all the ones you do not have permission to get access to, this is a safety feature)(another note, this will also take a while. like an hour or so. But you will save lots of space) To save more space on your computer. Wait for my next post about safely cleaning it out.

2. Another way to save space is to compress this files manually. Let’s say you want to send a friend a CD album over email. But you don’t want to send them, song by song, so let’s put the songs you want to email, in a compressed folder. Right click anywhere on the desktop and create a compressed folder. Put your MP3’s in there and you will be able to send that folder as if it where only one file. When your friend receives it, they will be able to extract normally. Also you may have noticed that when you put mp3’s in a compress zipped folder, the size doesn’t really change, why is that? Well, due to the fact that mp3’s are already compressed files. Did you know that if you left them at the original size a cd may take up to 700 Megabytes of space instead of the usual 50 MB. So You already use compression probably.

What are the downsides to compression? Well as i mentioned before in the photo department, you may have a loss of quality. In sound department, same. But in the documents, like homework and boring normal files. Only speed access. So how can you use compression well then? Let’s go get some tools. One useful and powerful, but hard to use tool, is 7zip. Download and install. Where is it? Right click on a folder you want to compress and 7zip and add an archive. and there. you can create a new compressed archive with a ton of settings ready for sending over email, storing sensitive info and even password protect it with encryption methods.

Very cool. So try compression today! Why is it useful? For large files! put them all in one place or compress them. Right click large file. Properties and Compress! Some people say it’s more of an annoyance. That may be true sometimes.  And dangerous! In the wrong hands of course. So as a disclamer. Try this on files that are not super important. Mainly as i’ve seen. Compression is used on the internet for sending data. When you send it over the internet, you want the least amount possible. Also when you want to upload some files to a cloud service. they sometimes have limits of how big the files can be at a time. like 50MB file size limit on Skydrive. So using 7zip to cut up a huge file into 50MB pieces is perfect and when extracted, they all paste back together.
Keep in mind that though compression is cool and all, it can harm your files, when compressed too much or when the data is not written correctly. But to be safe. Compress at normal levels, not too high and understand that there may be some quality loss.

Play with it, 7zip is a very useful and powerful program. Enjoy. Any question will try to be answered.


About Zerin

But can you show me the source code?

Posted on December 9, 2010, in Computers and Internet, Windows and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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