Working with .ZIP files in the Windows operating system

Working with .ZIP files in the Windows operating system


Welcome to Working with .Zip Files. This
activity introduces you to what .zip files are, their origin, and how to work
with them in Windows A .zip file is compressed container for
other files. You can add many files to a .zip file, which will be smaller in size
than the collective sizes of the files within it. Compression is possible because many
files contain white space or bytes of data that are all one character or have
a set of characters. By removing this white space, the file can be compressed. Consider a text file. A text file is made
up of lots of words and lots of spaces. Each character has a number from 1 to
255 or the size of one byte. There’s a character map called ASCII, A S C I I, which
determines what characters are mapped to what number. Characters 1 through 128 are in the printable
range and 129 to 255 are used more for control or metadata. That means most of the characters can be
represented with four bits rather than eight, resulting in a compressed text
file being half the size of an uncompressed one. A .zip file is a file where
the data has been compressed. Now let’s take a look at the origins of
.zip files and, also, how to work with .zip files in Windows. Zip files were invented
before Windows became popular. In 1987, Phil Katz introduced the DOS based
archival tool called PKARC, which compressed files into a .ARC file
very similar to .zip files. PKARC was an improvement on a DOS program called
arc, which was written in 1985 by Thom Henderson. ARC was the first zip-like program for
the PC to become famous. It was used to compress files that were uploaded and
downloaded to and from BBSes, or bulletin board systems. PKARC was faster than ARC because it was
written in assembler. It was an instant hit. Henderson, who had created PKARC sued Katz. Katz had taken his PKARC source code and added in data compression algorithms. He renamed the product PK zip .Zip was invented to save money Katz was looking for a way to shorten
the amount of time it took to transfer files. In order to transfer files, most
people were dialing into BBSes and would be charged long distance phone
rates. The longer the time spent on the line, the more money it would cost, so by
compressing files it took less time and money to transfer the files. Katz never
made a lot of money from PKZip, but the zip format was so popular that it has
dominated to this day. Today, .zip files are mainly used to group many
files together and the compression feature is seen as a nice bonus. .Zip files are for transport and storage only. You can not and should not open and work
with files directly inside a .zip file. Rather, you should unzip first, use the
files, and then copy them back into the original zip file or create a new .zip
from the edited version. The easiest way to create a .zip file in
Windows is by using the File Explorer, which you can get to by pressing the
Windows key + e. You can create a .zip file from any file or even an entire
folder, by right clicking it and selecting send to and then compressed
or zipped folder. You can add more files to a .zip file by
simply dragging and dropping files onto it. If the file needs to be nested
somewhere in a folder within the .zip, there’s another step you need to do first. .Zip files are hierarchical just like
folders. Double-click on a .zip file to open it up in the file explorer and you
can navigate the hierarchy just like a file folder. Once you get to the folder
you want, you can drag and drop files into it. To remove a file, just double-click
on the zip, navigate to the file you want to remove, right click on it, and select
delete. There is one very important step you
must do before you extract files from any .zip that you have downloaded from
another computer or off the internet. That step is unblocking. By default, Windows is hostile to .zip files that come from other computers. They can
contain malware and other nasty things. That said, Windows gives you a chance to
prove that a downloaded .zip is safe. To unblock a .zip, right click on it and
select Properties. In the property window, you will see an unlock button, simply press it. Now comes the easy part. To extract the
files in a .zip file, you can do it the hard way, by double clicking on it, navigating to the file or files you want
to extract, and dragging and dropping those files in a folder somewhere. Or you can do it the easy way, by right
clicking on the .zip file and selecting extract all. This will create an entirely new folder. You get to choose where, containing the uncompressed contents of the .zip file. In this learning activity we learned
what a .zip file is, the origins of .zip files and how to work with zip files in
Windows.