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 XP Professional offers a number of ways to expand the amount of space on your drives: schemes called dynamic disks and disk compression.
For many people, security is another concern. Files on your drives may contain confidential financial data for your company, top-secret government research, or—worse—the holiday gift list for your family. Windows XP Professional has a solution for this problem too, called the Encrypting File System (EFS).
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.
Dynamic disks, disk compression, and EFS all require the NTFS file system on your computer’s disk drives; they’re absent if you’ve chosen the FAT 32 file system instead. To find out the benefits and drawbacks of NTFS, as well as how to convert FAT 32 drives to NTFS, see Appendix A.
Suppose you’ve run out of space on your first hard drive, and have installed a second one to collect the overflow. Thanks to a Windows XP Pro feature called dynamic disks, you don’t have to move ...