Hard disks can be compressed to create additional space. In DOS and early Microsoft Windows, programs such as Stacker (DR-DOS except 6.0), SuperStor (DR DOS 6.0), DoubleSpace, or DriveSpace (Windows 95) were used. This compression was done by creating a very large file on the partition, then storing the disk's data in this file. At startup, device drivers opened this file and assigned it a separate letter. Frequently, to avoid confusion, the original partition and the compressed drive had their letters swapped, so that the compressed disk is C:, and the uncompressed area (often containing system files) is given a higher name.
Versions of Windows using the NT kernel, including the most recent versions, XP and Vista, contain intrinsic disk compression capability. The use of separate disk compression utilities has declined sharply.
Read more about this topic: Slice (disk)
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