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How do I Open ZIP Files?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 July 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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Also known as compressed files, zip files are electronic files that have been packed or compressed so that the space needed to store the files has been reduced. Businesses often make use of these types of files for proposals, presentations, or any type of document that contains large amounts of data. This strategy makes the task of emailing or loading the files onto a secure site much easier. In order to open zip files, it is necessary to employ one of several different methods.

The most common approach used to open zip files is to make use of some sort of zip file software. Programs that are utilized to compress the files in the first place also contain protocols for extracting documents from those compressed files. With most software applications of this type, all that is required is to follow the basic procedures identified by the manufacturer and the files are decompressed and ready for use. The best zip file extractors normally limit this to a few steps, such as double-clicking on the zipped file, making it possible to view a list of all the documents housed in the compressed file.

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The next step involves clicking on the desired file, which prompts the software to extract the document to another location on the hard drive, while simultaneously opening the document in its original format. From there, it is possible to save the document in its original form, either on the hard drive, a pen drive, or some other remote drive.

While there are fee-based extractors, there are also a number of free zip file extractors that can be downloaded at no cost. Some of these do require registration and will operate once the registration is complete. Others are versions of fee-based extractors that will function for a limited time only, and eventually require the purchase of a license to gain access to the full version. If all you need is a solution to open zip files, and have no need to create zip files, one of the free extractors would be a good option.

Since some operating systems include software that can be used to open zip files, it’s a good idea to see if you have something already in place before buying or downloading another product. All of the latest systems have the capability to open zip files, with most of them using the same basic set of steps used with the stand alone extractors. For people who are using an operating system released prior to 2000, there is very little chance of having an extractor included in the operating system. Fortunately, there are versions of many free extractors that will function well on computers that use older operating systems and have limited resources.

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