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How to Zip/Unzip files

Files can be compressed to take up less space. The reasons for doing so are:

1.       To allow transferring over the web or from any computer to any other computer in less time and using less space.

2.       To compress files on a computer to make more space available.

3.       To be able to get a file on a disk that won't fit.

The most common compression technique is "Zipping" and there are programs that Zip and Unzip (decompress, expand, etc.) There are other ways to compress, but Zip is the most used.

There are 2 ways to Zip a file. One is to put it in "Zip" format and the file will carry a .zip extension. The other way is to make the file a self Unzipping file and they carry a .exe extension.

The Zip files require a program to unzip them. The .exe's do not. You just double click on the file and it does the whole job.

The most common program to Zip/Unzip is WinZip. You can find it on site. The site lets you download an evaluation version that is fully operational and fairly easy to use. It is a shareware program and they would like payment for it at some point.

For a free program that works as well as WinZip, but does not ask for any payment, check out my Special Utilities page.

With Winzip or Enzip, the easiest way to unzip a file is to download it into your download folder (directory), and watch the file name being downloaded. Then go to Start-Find-Files and Folders and type in the file name. When it is found, just right click on it and choose "Extract to Folder C:\ .. and the file will be unzipped into the folder listed. Then you need to use My Computer or Windows Explorer to move to the new folder and find an exe file, usually "Setup", but sometimes with just the program or file name. If it is a program, it will be a setup. If it is a picture or some other file, it may carry any extension. With either Setup.exe or any standalone file, just double click on it and the computer will do the rest.

Some standalone files may bring up a window that says "Open With" and then asks you to choose the program you want to use. This means that no program on your computer is currently registered to open that file. It may mean you don't have any program currently installed that will do the job or you may have one but it hasn't been matched up with the file. Click here for a discussion of file extensions and changing them.

There are so many different kinds of files, that space doesn't allow discussion here. As a start, picture files come in a lot of formats. The best programs to open a large number of them are Paint Shop Pro (Shareware on the Internet) and Imaging, a Microsoft program on your windows CD. There are lots of other graphics programs available too. One file that isn't handled by any other is .pdd. These files are created by Adobe Photoshop and I haven't found any other program that will read them.

Non graphic files you may run into are .pdf which requires Adobe Acrobat and .doc files which require either Microsoft Word or WordPerfect to open. If you have an old version of these programs, files made by a newer version can't be opened by the older version. This concept is true with most programs.

Other types of files beyond these require individual investigation.

I just installed a free program called Ultimate Zip that works fine. Click here to got to their web site. I also like Unzip, a free program. I currently use 7Zip on all my computers. It makes unzipping in the selected location easy to select.


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