Compression is the reduction in size of data in order to save space or transmission time. For data transmission, compression can be performed on just the data content or on the entire transmission unit (including header data) depending on a number of factors.
Content compression can be as simple as removing all extra space characters, inserting a single repeat character to indicate a string of repeated characters, and substituting smaller bit strings for frequently occurring characters. This kind of compression can reduce a text file to 50% of its original size. Compression is performed by a program that uses a formula or algorithm to determine how to compress or decompress data.
Read Randy Kerns' explanation of file compression in this Ask the Experts response.
For information about different types of compression available for backups, check out this tip by Craig Konas.
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