How to create and extract a Zip File in Windows XP/Vista/Win 7

Windows XP/Vista/Win 7 all have built in ZIP file support. It is very easy to make and extract ZIP files using these operating systems without using a third party program. If you have a problem using WinZip, with any of the zipped files on this site, try this method as it appears to work on all files.

The screenshots for this tutorial were taken on a computer with Windows Vista installed. The screens you are presented may look slightly different.


Compressing files and folders decreases their size and reduces the amount of space they use on your drives or removable storage devices. The will also make for faster download.

Once you have created a compressed folder (identified by the zipper on the folder icon ), you can compress files, programs, or other folders by dragging them to it. You can open files directly from compressed folders, or you can extract files before opening them.

To create a ZIP file:

Right click on a file, folder, or selection of files and click on the 'Send To' menu option and then choose 'Compressed (zipped) Folder'.

Screenshot send to zipped file menu item.

After selecting the 'Compressed (zipped) Folder' menu option, the files will be zipped and you should now see a file that ends with .zip. The files name will be the name of the folder or file you compressed. If you compressed a selection of files, it will be the name of the first file in that selection. You can rename the zipped file by right clicking and select 'Rename.'

Screenshot zipped folder.

To extract a ZIP file:

Step 1: Right-click on a ZIP file and select the 'Extract All' menu option.

Screenshot Extract All menu option.

Step 2: You should now see a screen similar to the one shown below. Browse to the Desktop or Folder where you want the files extracted to. The default is to show the extracted files when complete. Untick this if you do NOT want to view the file at this time.

Screenshot Extract to dialog box.

Step 3: Click 'Extract.'

Step 4: Your files are now extracted to the directory you have specified and you can begin to use them.

Copyright © 2010 by Expression Web Tutorials
Written and tested August, 2010