MS-DOS and Windows command line compact command

Updated: 05/21/2018 by Computer Hope
compact command

The compact command is used to compress files, or uncompress them so that they are viewable.


Compact is an external command and is available for the following Microsoft operating systems as compact.exe.

Compact syntax

Displays or alters the compression of files on NTFS partitions.

COMPACT [/C | /U] [/S[:dir]] [/A] [/I] [/F] [/Q] [file name [...]]

/C Compresses the specified files. Directories will be marked so that files added afterward will be compressed.
/U Uncompresses the specified files. Directories will be marked so that files added afterward will not be compressed.
/S Performs the specified operation on files in the given directory and all subdirectories. Default "dir" is the current directory.
/A Displays files with the hidden or system attributes. These files are omitted by default.
/I Continues performing the specified operation even after errors have occurred. By default, COMPACT stops when an error is encountered.
/F Forces the compress operation on all specified files, even those that are already compressed. Already-compressed files are skipped by default.
/Q Reports only the most essential information.
file name Specifies a pattern, file, or directory.

Used without parameters, COMPACT displays the compression state of the current directory and any files it contains. You may use multiple file names and wildcards. You must put spaces between multiple parameters.

Compact examples


Display all the files in the current directory and their compact status.

compact file.txt

Display the compact status of the file.txt file.

compact file.txt /C

Compacts the file.txt file.

Additional information

  • See our compact definition for further information and related links on this term.