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How to Open ZIP Files on Windows PCs

Note: Many of the products listed in our eBook directory are delivered as ZIP file downloads. ZIP files are compressed files containing one or more files inside, which make up the software and/or eBook package that you purchased. Here are some instructions for working with ZIP files on Windows PCs:

On the PC, downloading a ZIP file is exactly the same as downloading any other type of file. Just select the file to be downloaded, click the download tab, and the file to be downloaded to your computer.

After downloading a ZIP, you can look at folder where it was saved - usually "Downloads", although it could be a different folder if you chose to save elsewhere. In any case, the ZIP file will look like an icon for a folder but with a zippered icon.

On recent versions of Windows - Windows XP and later (including Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8), ZIP files are called "Compressed Folders" after downloading. Many of the normal functions that you use for working with files and folders in Windows Explorer, will work with ZIP files too - the ZIP being treated as it if were a folder containing other files/folders. For example, you can double click on a ZIP to see the files inside, and then double click on a file within the ZIP, to open that file.

However if you need to unpack an entire ZIP file, the best way to do it is to open the ZIP (by double clicking), right click, and do "Select All". Right click again and do "Copy". Now use Windows Explorer to make a new empty folder elsewhere on your computer. Go to that folder, and then right click and do "Paste". All the ZIP file contents will the be unpacked into this new folder.

Very old versions of Windows such as Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows NT 3.51, Windows Me, and Windows 2000 do not however include built-in software for working with ZIP files. If you have one of these operating systems, it is probably time to think about upgrading to a newer version of Windows, but you in the meantime, you can still unpack ZIP files using a special application such as WinZip (you may need an old version of WinZIP too!).

The typical process for using ZIP applications such as WinZIP to unpack a ZIP file is (obviously precise details may differ depending on which ZIP application you choose):
  1. Install WinZIP or your preferred ZIP utility.

  2. Right click the ZIP file.

  3. Then on the drop down menu, select "Extract files".

  4. A pop-up window will appear and on the right column, choose which folder to extract the files into. Click "OK".

  5. Wait for the extraction to complete then open the folder where the files were extracted.

  6. You can then work with the unpacked files, for example, double clicking on them in Windows Explorer to open them.

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