Working with Zip Files

The larger a file is, the longer it takes to download. So some files online are compressed ”converted into smaller files ”to cut the download time. After downloading, you must decompress a compressed file to restore it to its original size and use it.

Also, most application programs are made up not just of one fat file, but of a collection of program and data files. A single compressed file can pack together many separate files, so they can all be downloaded together in one step. When you decompress a compressed file containing multiple files ”which is sometimes called an archive ”the files are separated.

Several forms of compression are used online, but most compression programs create archive files that use a format called Zip. A Zip file uses the extension .zip , and it must be decompressed ” unzipped ”after downloading before you can use the file or files it contains.

You need a special program to unzip Zip files. If you don't already have one, the most popular shareware unzippers

  • For Windows are WinZip, which you can download from, or PKZip, which you can get from PKWare at

  • For Macintosh is ZipIt, which you can download from

After installing an unzipping program, you can decompress any Zip file by opening the program, choosing the Zip file you want to decompress, and then choosing Extract from a toolbar or menu.


One special type of .exe program file is called a self-extracting archive , which is a compressed file or files, just like a Zip file.

Unlike a Zip file, however, a self-extracting archive file does not require an unzipping program. Instead, it decompresses itself automatically when you open it (usually by double-clicking). Most large applications offered online, such as Web browsers, download as self-extracting archives.

Sams Teach Yourself Internet and Web Basics All in One
Sams Teach Yourself Internet and Web Basics All in One
ISBN: 0672325330
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 350
Authors: Ned Snell © 2008-2017.
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