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Web Design Articles How to Unzip (Extract) a Zip File Easily

A zip file is a compressed folder that contains other files. Zip files are used for a variety of reasons, the most common being to reduce the filesize so that a file or set of files can be emailed or downloaded in a reasnable time frame. Another reason to zip files is that certain files (for example .html/.exe) will almost always be flagged as spam via email, and sometimes be automatically removed from an email by an overzelous mail server. Zipping such files prevents this from happening. Once you have received your zip file, you need to unzip (or extract) it in order to access the files within. Unzipping a zip file is very simple once you know how.

Windows 7, 8 & 10

If you are working in Windows 7/8, you do not need to download any extra software to extract a zip file - simply follow these instructions...

  1. If it isn't already, save the Zip file to a location on your computer where you can find it.
  2. Go to where you saved the zip file and right click on it. From the context menu that pops up, select 'Extract All...'.
  3. A window will pop up asking where you want to extract it to. You will need to navigate to the location of your choosing using the 'Browse' button, or if you know the exact path, you can type it in the text field.
  4. Click 'Extract'
  5. You can now navigate to the afore mentioned folder where you will find the extracted files.

Windows XP (or Vista*)

If you are working in Windows XP (or Vista*), you do not need to download any extra software to extract a zip file - simply follow these instructions...

  1. If it isn't already, save the Zip file to a location on your computer where you can find it.
  2. Go to where you saved the zip file and right click on it. From the context menu that pops up, select 'Extract All...'.
  3. A window will pop up where you need to click 'Next' and then click the 'Browse' button to choose a destination for the files to reside, or if you know the exact path, you can type it in the text field.
  4. Click 'Next', and then 'Finish'
  5. You can now navigate to the afore mentioned folder where you will find the extracted files.

* The above method allegedly works in Vista as well though I've not personally tested it. If you run into problems, rather follow the instructions below for other extraction methods.

Other extraction Methods

You may come across a compressed file type other than .zip (for example .rar / .7z / .iso) where you will likely find it necessary to download a compresion/extraction program. There is no need to purchase such software as the free ones work just as well. For this example, I'll be using a program called '7Zip'...

  1. If you haven't already, you will need to download and install a copy of 7Zip. You will notice there are a few different versions available for download. If you are unsure whether your PC is 32bit or 64bit, then you can be relatively sure it's 32bit as that is the default, so in that event, you can go ahead with the 32bit exe.
  2. If it isn't already, save the compressed file (the file you want to extract) to a location on your computer where you can find it.
  3. Go to where you saved the compressed file and right click on it. From the context menu that pops up, select '7 Zip' and then select 'Extract Files...' from the sub menu
  4. A window will pop up asking where you want to extract it to. You will need to navigate to the location of your choosing using the '...' button, or if you know the exact path, you can type it in the text field.
  5. Press 'Ok'
  6. You can now navigate to the afore mentioned folder where you will find the extracted files.


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Please do not copy and pass this off as your own. Be original.


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