What WinZip is: WinZip is an extremely easy-to-use file archiver and compressor for both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. WinZip compresses files into an archive (a single file consisting of the compressed data) as well as decompresses archives into their original files. Compressing files will make them easier to manage and take up less hard drive space.
Other terms for compressing are packing and zipping. Alternative terms for decompressing files are extracting, unzipping, and unpacking.
There are several different types of file archives (.zip, .rar, .iso, .tar, .7z to name merely a few), but zip files are generally the most common. WinZip can extract all of the most popular file archives; however, it can only compress chosen data into the following file types: .zip, .zipx, .lha, .lzh, and .uue.
Reasons for Using Archives: There are several reasons to use WinZip (or any other program) to archive/de-archive files, including:
- Most multi-file data on the internet is available in archive format, because it is much easier to distribute this information in one file as opposed to many. Large files are also usually zipped to reduce file size, and therefore, bandwidth usage from downloads. A file archiver is practically essential for downloading much of the content on the web.
- Compressed files take up less hard drive space, and therefore take less time to transfer, move, or copy.
- Compressed files are easier to manage in regards to organization (one smaller file is much less clutter than several files). Occasionally, files that are not used often can also be compressed and thereby stored quite easily.
How to Use WinZip to Zip and Unzip Files: To unzip a file, locate the file you wish to unzip, and double-click on it. When the file opens, click unzip. A window will open displaying the unpacked contents. A slightly quicker way to unzip is to right-click on the target file and select an extracting option (such as the popular extract here) to unzip the archive.
To zip a file, open WinZip and click on the New icon. Select the directory on your computer you would like to store the archive; name it, and save it. In the main WinZip program screen, you may now click Add and will be prompted to select which files you would like to compress. Choose all relevant files. Before finalizing the archiving, be sure to select the method of compression and even optionally choose a password for the archive.
Alternatively, a quicker way to archive content is to select all files you would like to compress and right click the selection area. In the WinZip submenu, select Add to [filename].zip or Add to zip file. Remember to set the method of compression and encryption options.
How to Use Self-Extracting Files: Self-extracting zip files are files that have been compressed and include a small program to extract themselves, thereby eliminating the requirement to install any archiving utility on the system executing them. Self-extracting files have an .exe (executable) file extension. To open a self-extracting file, simply double-click it to run the extraction.