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NTFS Compression hack under XP - is it safe and is it worth implementing?

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Darwin:
The subject line says it all. In another thread this hack is exposed as being the "secret" being sold by a software distributor for $7.50 as a downloadable, password protected pdf. I'm wondering what the pros and cons of implementing such a hack are...? I'll be researching this myself and will post back here, but don't know how soon I'll be able to do so as I've a full teaching schedule to prepare for!

Josh:
NTFS compression, as I said in the other thread, is best used at the folder level. DONT USE IT ON THE SYSTEM DRIVE (I dont think this can be done anyways, but if it can, dont). If you impliment this on the drive level (I.E., choosing the "Enable compression" option at format time), make sure its on a drive where lots of uncompressed material will be stored as doing so on a drive with MP3's, PDFs and other already compressed material WILL slow down performance especially if the files are larger than a few megabytes.

Folder level is the best method for use of compression since you can select which folders are compressed and which arent.

f0dder:
First: the other topic, discussing the scamsters at DiskTrix claiming that NTFS compression is oh-so-├╝ber-fantastic (and not even revealing that their "OMFG SPEED UP WINDOZE!!!11! one one" trick is NTFS compression until you pay them ca$h).

With that said, NTFS compression isn't a hack, and it can have some good uses; but just like Josh, I'd never enable it systemwide. For some things it's decent enough though, like compressing the contents of the PlatformSDK include folder. I made a copy of this folder, enabled NTFS compression for it, made sure that both the compressed and uncompressed files were defragmented (sysinternals' contig tool), and then rebooted so I was sure the filesystem cache was empty.

Here's the results of "md5sum -b *" in the folders, timed with "timeit.exe" from the Windows Resource Kit:
Version Number:   Windows NT 5.1 (Build 2600)
Exit Time:        3:19 pm, Tuesday, September 4 2007
Elapsed Time:     0:00:02.703
Process Time:     0:00:00.484
System Calls:     136548
Context Switches: 130067
Page Faults:      13608
Bytes Read:       102010609
Bytes Written:    0
Bytes Other:      128204
-compressed
--- End quote ---
Version Number:   Windows NT 5.1 (Build 2600)
Exit Time:        3:20 pm, Tuesday, September 4 2007
Elapsed Time:     0:00:04.437
Process Time:     0:00:00.375
System Calls:     135903
Context Switches: 132015
Page Faults:      13701
Bytes Read:       102214521
Bytes Written:    0
Bytes Other:      133980
-uncompressed
--- End quote ---

So about twice the speed to read in the files... 10,000rpm raptor drive and AMD64x2 4400+ CPU. Disk usage: 49.299.474 bytes, taking up 18.926.984 bytes on disk, volume cluster size: 4kb (gains/savings likely to be different with different cluster size because of how NTFS compression works).

Thing is, the PlatformSDK include folder is "pretty huge" considering it's plain text, but even that kind of "plain huge" is <50 megabytes, and under normal use (ie., compiling apps) it's probably going to be cached most of the time, so it's not that big a deal imho. And you'd be hard pressed to find real-life situations where you can get better results than this and actually feel the effect.

Gonna reboot and post stats for the PlatformSDK "lib" folder too...

f0dder:
Okay, results for the Lib folder: 23.654.752 bytes, taking up 9.768.564 bytes on disk with compression.

Version Number:   Windows NT 5.1 (Build 2600)
Exit Time:        3:32 pm, Tuesday, September 4 2007
Elapsed Time:     0:00:00.750
Process Time:     0:00:00.156
System Calls:     29265
Context Switches: 26811
Page Faults:      3980
Bytes Read:       29256002
Bytes Written:    0
Bytes Other:      27048
-compressed
--- End quote ---
Version Number:   Windows NT 5.1 (Build 2600)
Exit Time:        3:32 pm, Tuesday, September 4 2007
Elapsed Time:     0:00:01.359
Process Time:     0:00:00.109
System Calls:     29211
Context Switches: 27563
Page Faults:      3973
Bytes Read:       29240194
Bytes Written:    15928
Bytes Other:      30128
-uncompressed
--- End quote ---

Carol Haynes:
That last one is an interesting comparison - more bytes are read from the compressed version that the uncompressed version? How does that happen? Also CPU time is 50% more in compressed mode - even though the overall time is less - this would suggest that if you have other CPU intensive activity in progress then there is likely to be a system hit which affects ither activities as well as the overall access time.

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