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ARCHIVED: In Windows, how do I compress or decompress files?

Compressed (e.g., archived or zipped) files may contain many separate files in one large archive, which often takes up less space than the original files. Before you can read or run all the separate files and programs, you must use an archiving program to extract the files from the archive. In Windows, you can compress (zip) and decompress (unzip) files without installing any third-party programs.

Compressing a file or folder

  1. From the Start menu, open Computer (Windows 7 and Vista) or My Computer (Windows XP).

  2. Select the files or folders you want to compress. To select multiple files or folders at once, hold down the Ctrl key while you click each item.

  3. Right-click the selected items, choose Send to, and then click Compressed (zipped) folder. This will create a zipped file in the same directory that the files are located. The file extension will be .zip.

    Note: The new .zip file will have the same name as the file or folder you compressed. If you compress multiple items, the file name will be the same as the file you right-clicked to start the compression.

Decompressing a zipped file or folder

  1. From the Start menu, open Computer (Windows 7 and Vista) or My Computer (Windows XP).

  2. Find the file you want to decompress, right-click it, and choose Extract All.

  3. In the dialog box that appears, to choose the destination for the decompressed files, click Browse... . You can also check the option Show extracted files when complete.

  4. Click Extract.

    Note: When you zip or unzip files, the original files are not deleted. If you want to delete the original files, you will have to do so manually.

Other options for file compression and decompression

For zipping and unzipping most files, the built-in Windows utility will suffice; however, if you encounter a compressed format not supported by the built-in Windows tools, you can try one of the following programs:

Note: These third-party tools are not available on IUware and may require purchase, although most offer free trials.

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Last modified on January 07, 2013.

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