September 13, 2019
September 13, 2019
Sometimes when you want to download a file, you might notice that it comes in a .zip format. If you don’t know what it is and are having trouble opening it, you’ve come to the right place! This article is going to teach you how to unzip files using default applications in Windows and macOS as well as third-party programs.
A .zip file is an archive containing one or more files that have been compressed to reduce its size. Zipping a file is useful to spare up to 80% or more storage space.
Additionally, zipping big files enables users to upload and send them faster over the internet, simultaneously decreasing the chance of it being corrupted. Users can also use .zip format to encrypt their data for extra security.
There is plenty of software that can be used to unzip files. However, your computer is generally already equipped with a built-in program that can perform the task just fine.
There are two ways to extract zipped files: either by using your operating system’s built-in software or by using third-party tools.
Regardless of what tool you use, it is a good practice to delete the .zip file after you extract its content because keeping both consumes more space.
First, let’s take a look at how to extract files using native software found in Windows and macOS. Because you’re only using what your computer already has, there is no need to download another tool.
While it is possible to see the content of a zip file by double-clicking on it on Windows, you still need to extract the files to use it. The Windows default support for .zip goes by the name of Compressed (zipped) folders and here’s how to use it:
Archive Utility is Mac’s built-in tool that handles the .zip format. To unzip a file, follow these steps:
If you want to change the default folder location, access Internal Hard Drive -> System -> Library -> Core Services -> Archive Utility. Once there, select Preferences and set the location by clicking Save Expanded Files.
If you’re using Linux, read here for an in-depth guide on how to unzip your file.
While it is not necessary to download third-party tools to extract a .zip file, they do come with added features that allow you to customize, password-protect, and repair your zip files.
Below are our recommendations.
This file archiver is a free and open-source program with a 2-10% higher compression rate compared to WinZip and PKZip. It also has its own 7z extension that compresses data 30-70% better than the .zip format.
Among the many features are secure encryption and an easy-to-use file manager. Plus, it is also localized for 87 languages.
Although it is only available for Windows, it also has a port for Linux/Posix command line called p7zip.
To unzip with this tool, follow these steps:
PeaZip is a Windows and Linux-supported free unzipping program that is compatible with over 180+ extensions. Among its best features are a powerful file manager and reliable security protection with two-step verification. Additionally, it also has a portable version that you can use without installing it.
Using PeaZip on Windows is pretty straightforward and works the same as with the previous tool. The only differences are the name of the commands:
Just like 7-Zip, Zipware is also a Windows-only extractor. However, it has a few features that stand out, such as a streamlined file manager, a password manager, conversion of all compatible formats to .zip, .exe, or .7z and a virus scan.
Again, decompressing using this tool follows the same method as the previous ones with slightly different options:
A zip file is an archiving method that is useful to save storage since it compresses file sizes.
You can unzip files either using default Windows and macOS settings or by utilizing third-party software such as Zipware, PeaZip and 7-Zip.
The process itself takes only a few clicks, so you can have the task done in no time.