At your suggestion, I replaced the hard drive in my Windows computer with a solid-state drive. Because my old hard drive was pretty large, and wasn’t nearly full, I economized by getting a much smaller SSD—they’re kind of expensive! At this point, my new SSD is getting filled up with content, and I really don’t want to replace it again. I’ve heard there’s some way to compress the contents of disk drives. Can I use this disk compression to save space on my SSD? And if I can, should I?
Luckily solid state drives are getting much cheaper now. So you can get a one terabyte solid state drive for less than the cost of a car. In any case, yes you can compress the contents of your hard drive both on Windows and on Mac. It's built into the operating system. If you look online for a compressed hard drive, you'll find lots of information about it. The question is should you.
There's some overhead involved in compressing your hard drive and it takes time to compress and decompress files as you use them. If you're using an old computer where the processor is slow. You may find that this overhead is bothersome. For most modern computers you'll never notice that overhead.
In addition if you're trying to compress files that are already compressed such as jpeg files, they're not going to compress any more. So there's nothing really to be gained by doing that. You might think that by compressing your hard drive, you'll save maybe fifty percent of the space but that's not really the case. In real life you'll be lucky to save ten percent of the space on your hard drive because a lot of the files are already compressed.
So in other words. Yes you can. And yes you should if you don't already have a lot of files that are compressed and if your computer is fast enough to support the overhead involved in compressing and uncompressing the files.