Files and folders, as you’ve probably noticed, have a tendency to multiply. Creating new documents, installing new software, and downloading new files can fill up even the largest disk drives in no time—especially if, as Microsoft fervently hopes, you get heavily into music, pictures, and video.
Fortunately, Windows offers a number of ways to manage and expand the amount of space on your hard drives. You can subdivide your drives’ storage into individual partitions (sections), save space using disk compression, encrypt the contents of your drives for security, and so on.
You can skip this entire chapter, if you wish, and get along quite well without using any of these features. They’re strictly optional. But if you aspire to wear the “Power User” T-shirt, read on.
Three of the features described in this chapter—dynamic disks, disk compression, and EFS (encryption file system)—all require the NTFS file system on your computer’s disk drives. That’s probably what you’re using on your main hard drive, because Windows 7 requires it.
But other kinds of disks—memory cards, iPods, external USB disks, and so on—probably use the older FAT32 file system instead. You won’t be able to use NTFS tricks on them.
Suppose you’ve run out of space on the hard drive you use to store movies and music, and you’ve installed another one to collect the overflow. Thanks to a Windows 7 feature called dynamic disks, you don’t have ...