Compress Old Files Reg fix

When running ‘Disk Cleanup’ on a Windows 2000 or XP workstations, you may have notice that it pauses for a long time when checking for files to be compressed. One of things on my regular to do list is to edit the registry file to automatically bypass this step in Disk Cleanup.

First, here’s how to do it manually (at the end of the article I provide a one line registry file to do it automatically):

1. Click on Start > Run > Regedit  (or Regedt32.exe)

2. Backup your current registry. To do this, click on File > Export and enter a name. (I suggest using the date as part of your name, as in backup-reg-mar-3-2003)

3. After you have backed up your registry, drill down as follows:
HKey Local Machine > Software > Microsoft > Windows > Current Version > Explorer > Volume Caches > Compress Old Files

4. In the right hand pane, double click on the REG_SZ (default) variable to edit it

5. A window pops up that will have a long string of characters in the Value Data field:

6. Press DEL to remove (clear out) the value data field, then click OK and then exit the RegEdit program. Note: we are NOT deleting the actual key, just the value assigned to the key!

7. That’s it, and you don’t even have to reboot!

Or, you can paste the following text into a file named skipcompressedfiles.reg, and then double click on the file to run it:

[-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\VolumeCaches\Compress old files]


19 thoughts on “Compress Old Files Reg fix

  1. i understand all thatm but i want to save up space. i want tit deleted. not skip past it. Tell me how…

  2. Got here after Google-ing a question. Just want to know what the ‘Compress old files’ thing is about or does.

    I’m an old school techie from the DOS / Win 3.1 days. I would love to know what it actually does. An explanatory would be appreciated.

  3. I tried your suggestion exactly and got an Error box stating Error Editing Value: Cannot Edit. If you have a suggestion please send me an email at P.S. one more question-Do you know where the temp files & cookies are going when you have Explorer 7.0 after using the deleting function on the Brower.


  4. I want to compress my old files to save space but each time I run it. Im left with them still there .. Any ideas how to overcome this Many thanks

  5. This is wrong because you are wasting valuable space. By skipping compress old files you are not solving anything.

  6. Compressing old files is a waste of time unless you have a horribly old computer that has no significant hard drive space. Files that are compressed take longer to open when accessed, so it’s not wrong to use this tweak. It’s a great time saver if you’re never going to compress old files (not worth the bother) in the first place.

  7. When I run Disk cleanup, I receive a message saying I have anywhere from 55000 to 6500+ old files and when I try to compress IT DOES NOT TAKE ANY OF THESE OFF. They stay the same. HOW DO I COMPRESS OLD FILES. Thank you so much for any help you will give me.

  8. Deleting from the registry solves nothing and I agree is wrong. Cleaning up and deleting the old compressed files are part of preventive maitenance no matter how big your hard drive, because not getting rid of old compressed files ( which are a cache with every webpage you visited, every movie you watched, every game and music files you have played are supposedly stored for quicker acess the next time which is not always the case and you are left with wasted gigabytes of old compressed files clutter) it will decrease speed and performance. I can’t quite remember where the folder is, I believe somewhere in windows\systems32 . THat is the reson I came upon this site I was trying to refresh my memory and so far seems like this horrile advice is to delete the registry is written everywhere

  9. Damn, you get an awful lot of people here, who either know absolutely nothing about computers, or who think that the cutting edge of processing technology is a P5. For the vast majority of people, compressing files is a waste of time which doesn’t save much space relative to the amount of time it’ll waste in the long run. It’s only really useful in my opinion for, say, a secondary hard drive which you use for storing videos and such.

    I have no clue what everyone is on about “Deleting the registry” and this being dumb. It’s a perfectly useful tip, and it means I can actually use my “Clean Disk” utility in the fifteen seconds it was meant to take, not the good hour and a half it takes to calculate how well it could compress the files on my twin half terabyte beasts.

    For those who know more than the tiny bit about computers apparently possessed by most of the of commentators, this is very handy indeed.

  10. Thanks awfully my expression this truly blessed all my damnest finger’s point to that sick of “compress old files” 6m=k never go away for a longest time until yours’very simple then bye “stubburned on” Thanks! Kiss this so copy and put in my file as keeper! Loveit!!!!! Thanks, again!!!! 🙂

  11. Wow! Super, very helpful thanks a lot. I was really irritating waiting each time while it compute the info I (and I guess nobody, as well) need before doing real things. One in MS who implemented it this way, I think deserved the keyboard to be smashed on his[her?] head 🙂

  12. Thank you, very much! To the people posting about “so far it seems like this [is] horrile advice to delete the registry”, these not instructions to delete your registry. It’s simply modifying the value of one Registry entry to stop Windows Disk Defragmenter from trying to compress thousands of less-used files before doing what you asked it to… defragement your hard disks!

    Thank you again for the reg entry!

  13. I want to delete my compress old files to save space but each time I run it. Im left with them still there .. Any ideas how to overcome this Many thanks

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