Zip Files: Unzip Them With the Right Software

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"Do I Need WinZip Software to Use Zip Files?

No, you can use multiple different software products for Zipping files. In 2008, the two most popular Zipping products are WinZip and WinRAR. Either product will open, unzip, and create Zip files for you.

How Do I Unzip Files?

First, you need to download and install either WinZip or WinRAR archive software. Once installed, the archive software should now be part of your Windows or Macintosh system.

You open you a Zip file by double-clicking it. Commonly, one of two prompts will then appear:

  • "Unzip or install from an existing Zip file" in the WinZip Wizard. This Wizard will then walk you through the steps to unzip-extract the files.
  • "Extract files to..." in the WinRAR Wizard. Just like WinZip software, you will be prompted for the next steps. Give it several moments to do its job, and your files are now decompressed as separate complete files. You now use those files like you would any other files. If you want, you may also delete the Zip original file to now save space.

How Do I Create My Own Zip Files?

If you want to create your own Zip files, the WinZip site has a very helpful tutorial here. Like all things file management, it will be obscure and strange at first. But file management does become easier as you practice. Definitely do try the WinZip tutorial above.

More on Archiving Files for Downloading:

Although Zip format is widely recognized, it is not the only way to archive files. There are many other ways to bundle and archive files for downloading. Other archive formats include:

  1. .rar (very popular with file sharers in 2007)
  2. .arj (older format, but still useful)
  3. .daa (becoming more popular with video archiving)
  4. .tar
  5. .ace
  6. .par
  7. .pkg

For an exhaustive list of archive formats, go here.