PC Doctor September 19, 2011

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Dear PC Doctor,

I downloaded some wallpapers from a website. I'm not sure what I ended up with though. Instead of it being a picture file, it's something called a “.zip” and the icons looks like a folder of some sort. Can you tell me what I just downloaded?


Dear Chris,

ZIP is a file format used for compressing files. The ZIP doesn't actually stand for anything other than the fact that it “zips” up the folder of content to reduce the size of the file. Hence, it will download faster. All you need to do is unzip the folder with a utility program that you can download for free from the internet.

There are a few different utilities you can download, but 7-zip is my favorite one out there. It's also absolutely free! Check it out at www.7-zip.com and select the version that applies for your version of Windows. (If you're not sure, just choose the .exe type) After installing 7-zip, whenever you double click on a zipped folder the 7-zip utility will automatically start. Click the Extract button at the top and select where you want the contents to be copied to. Let 7-zip do its job and the contents will be unzipped to wherever you chose.


            PC Doctor

Tip of the week: Since Chris asked how to unzip a .zip file, why don't I show you how to zip a folder up to compress and cut down the size of files in a folder?

First create a folder with the files you wish to compress. I find it easiest to create the folder on my desktop and work on there. To do that right click on the desktop and select ‘New Folder’ from the drop down menu.  Once you're ready, right-click your folder and in the menu that appears, hover over the 7-zip option. Another menu will appear to the side with some options. Click the first one —Add to Archive. A window will open up for you to change various settings for compressing your folder. For “Archive format:” change it to “zip”.  This is by far the most common type of compression seen. For the highest compression and smallest file size after zipping it up, select “Ultra” from the Compression Level. Click OK. Depending on the file size, it might take a while to zip up. When finished, there will be another folder (albeit zipped up) on your desktop. Share away! But first make sure your friends know how to unzip it.

Until next time... happy computing!