How to compress files on Windows 10 (and unzip)

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Aina Prat Blasi
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How to compress files on Windows 10 (and unzip). The ZIP file format reduces the size of files by compressing them, saving disk space and reducing transfer times across the network. It also allows you to combine multiple files into one, making it easier to share with others. Here's how to zip and unzip files on Windows 10.


How to compress files on Windows 10 (and unzip)

1. How to create a zip file (compressed folder)

First, open File Explorer and locate the files or folders you want to compress and combine into a Zip file. Windows refers to a Zip file as a "compressed folder," so the terms are interchangeable in this case.



We'll use a bunch of image files as an example, but you can compress any type of file.

If it's a single file or folder you want to compress, right-click and a menu will appear. Click "Send to", then click "Compressed (zipped) folder".


You can also select multiple files or folders in Explorer, then follow the same steps above to compress them at the same time.

Windows compresses the files or folders and a new ZIP file appears in the same location as the files you are working with. The ZIP file icon looks like a standard Windows folder with a zipper over it.

Windows then allows you to name the ZIP file whatever you like. Type a name, then press Enter.


2. How to view the contents of a ZIP file and add files

If you want to check the contents of the ZIP file, double-click File Explorer. The ZIP file will open much like a normal folder and you will see the files inside.



You can also copy and paste or drag and drop files into this window to add them to the ZIP file. To remove individual files from the ZIP file, delete them from here. Any changes made within the folder will be applied to the ZIP file.

If you are satisfied, close the ZIP file windows and you are ready. You can copy the ZIP file wherever you want.


You can also add multiple files to an existing ZIP file by opening it in Explorer, then dragging the files you want to add into the window.

3. How to extract all files from a compressed folder (zip file)

If the compressed folder (ZIP file) contains many files, it is often easier to extract them to a new folder at the same time. To do this, locate the Zip file you want to unzip / extract in Explorer. Right-click on the file, then select “Extract All” from the pop-up menu.

A dialog appears asking you where you want to put the files you are extracting. If you want to change the location, click "Browse", then select a location. When finished, click "Extract".

The files will extract to the selected destination and you will see them in a new window.

4. How to extract a single file from a compressed folder (zip file)

Using Explorer, locate the compressed folder (zip file) from which you want to extract a file. Double click on it and it will open like a normal folder. You will see a list of files or a group of icons representing the compressed files.


Locate the file you want to extract, then drag it out of the compressed folder window to another location, such as another folder or the desktop.


The extracted file is copied to the new location and will also remain in the Zip file. You can repeat this process as many times as you want. When done, just close the compressed folder window.


Other ways to zip and unzip files on Windows 10

There are other ways to zip and unzip files in Windows using third party tools, like 7-Zip, which is one of our favorites. You can also password protect and encrypt your Zip files while compressing them for security.

Read on: How to password protect a USB stick


Further Reading:

  • How to zip (compress) a file on MAC and Windows
  • How to unzip a file on a Mac
  • How to disable file compression on Windows 10
  • Best file compression software
  • How to compress PDF files with and without connection
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