How do I open compressed files?

What are compressed files?

Compressed files, which have extensions like .zip or .rar, allow you to package multiple files inside one compressed, smaller file that you can easily share. If you receive a compressed file, use the steps below to uncompress it and use the files.

For Windows Vista Users

  1. Double-click on the zip folder with the zipped file inside. A window should pop up with the file or files inside.
  2. Click “Extract All Files” in the top options bar. The extraction wizard will pop up.
  3. Select where you want the files to be extracted to. By default, Vista will extract them to a folder that has the same name as the zip folder, in the same location. If a folder by that name does not exist, Vista will create one.
  4. Click “Extract.”
  5. Your files will be uncompressed.

For Windows 7 Users

Opening Compressed Files as Read-Only

  • If you only need to open a file inside the compressed folder, all you need to do is double-click on the file to open it, just as you would a regular folder in Windows Explorer.
  • Windows 7 will then show you all the files it contains.
  • Either right-click on the file you want to view and choose “Open”, or double-click on that file.
  • The file will open in its default viewer (the program associated with this particular file extension / type).
  • You can now see and read the content of that file, but it is placed inside a temporary directory, which means that any changes you make to it will be lost once you close it. This is why you will often want to extract these files if you need to work on them, as opposed to just opening to view them.

Uncompressing the Files

To be able to work with these files, and save some changes, extract them to a regular folder.

  • There are 3 ways to extract files from a compressed folder in Windows 7. The easiest way is to go inside the zipped folder and select all the files you want.
  • Then, right-click on any of them, and choose “Copy”.
  • Then, navigate to the destination folder where you want to store these files. Right-click on it and choose “Paste”. Windows 7 will create a copy of all these files, which you can now open and save as needed. They have become individual copies, detached from the original compressed files.
  •  To extract files from a compressed folder to another directory on your computer, you can also right-click on the zipped folder, and choose “Extract” or “Extract All” from the context menu. Windows 7 will then show a “Extract Compressed (Zipped) Folders” wizard.
  •  Another way to extract files and folders out of a compressed folder in Windows 7 is to drag with a right-click: to do so, right-click on the compressed folder, without releasing the mouse button. Then, move your mouse pointer (cursor) above the destination folder (or favorite place in Windows Explorer), and release the mouse button. Windows 7 will show a menu that allows you to extract the content of the selected zipped folder where you chose.
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