How to Open ZIP Files

Knowing how to open ZIP files is important for any computer user who has ever wanted to access a large compressed file or document. ZIP files are compressed archives, containing files that have been shrunk to a fraction of their original size. Because ZIP programs and files can be stored without using much hard drive space, they are crucial to utilize. However, if you do not know how to open ZIP files or create ZIP files, you may find yourself at a disadvantage in both your personal and professional life.

Opening ZIP Files Using Windows XP
Opening ZIP files using Windows XP is a breeze. The Windows XP operating system contains an internal set of commands that allows ZIP files to be opened automatically. After downloading a ZIP file using Windows XP, double-click on the folder. It will open, and another single folder or series of folders will be displayed in the opened box. Double-click on the relevant folders, and the programs or files will be available to access. Double-click to open the programs or files.

Opening ZIP Folders Using Older Windows Versions
If you are using an older version of Windows, you must use an additional program to open ZIP files. The most popular of these is called WinZip, and it can be downloaded for a fee from http://www.winzip.com/index.htm. After installing the program, select the open ZIP file option in the WinZip interface. Once selected, there will be an option to Extract. Select this option, and WinZip will open the ZIP file for you. Although Windows XP's built-in unzipping function has partially rendered WinZip archaic and obsolete, it is one of only a few options for users of outdated Windows operating systems.

Opening ZIP Files With Mac OS X
The MAC OS X for Macintosh does not include an automatic unzipping feature. As such, you'll need to download extra programs. A popular option is the Stuffit program, which can be downloaded from http://my.smithmicro.com/win/stuffit/index.html for a fee. Give the trial version a shot before buying the fully functional program. If understandably scared off by the price, give Zipeg a try. Zipeg can be downloaded from http://www.zipeg.com/, and is free. Zipeg does not contain as many features as Stuffit, nor does it have the same established reputation. However, for cash-strapped unzippers, it is not a bad option.

Understanding How To Open ZIP Files
In this day and age, ZIP files are everywhere. Massive files are impractical until put into a compressed ZIP file, as they cannot easily be transferred or e-mailed. Understanding how to open a ZIP file is an absolute necessity for any computer user. Once you know how to open a ZIP file, you'll understand the value of easily accessing compressed files.

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