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Article ID: 306531 - Last Review: May 22, 2013 - Revision: 3.0

This article was previously published under Q306531

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INTRODUCTION

This article describes how to create and use compressed ("zipped") folders in Windows XP. Compressing files, folders, and programs decreases their size and reduces the space they use on your drives or removable storage devices.

Additionally, this article discusses how to add items to and remove items from a compressed folder, and how to protect the folder by using a password.

This article is intended for beginning to intermediate computer users. You may find it easier to follow the steps if you print this article first.

More information

How to create a compressed folder

If you want to create a compressed folder within another folder, go to method 1. If you want to create a compressed folder on your desktop, go to method 2.

Method 1: Use My Computer to create the compressed folder

Follow these steps to use My Computer to create a compressed folder:
  1. On your desktop, double-click My Computer, and then open the folder in which you want to create the compressed folder. For example, if you want to make a compressed folder in the root folder of drive C, double-click My Computer, and then double-click drive C to open the root folder.

    Note If you do not see a My Computer icon on your desktop, click Start, and then click My Computer.
  2. On the File menu, point to New, and then click Compressed (zipped) Folder.
  3. Type a name for the new compressed folder, and then press ENTER. Your new compressed folder is displayed as a folder icon with a zipper. Depending on which folder options that you have set, a .zip file name extension may also appear.

Method 2: Create the compressed folder on the desktop or in a folder

  1. Right-click a blank area on the desktop or in an open folder, point to New, and then click Compressed (zipped) Folder.
  2. Type a name for the new compressed folder, and then press ENTER. Your new compressed folder is displayed as a folder icon with a zipper. Depending on your preferences, a .zip file name extension may also appear.

How to move files and folders to and from a compressed folder

You move files and folders to or from compressed folders exactly as you move them to or from uncompressed folders. For example, you can drag files or folders to the compressed folder. When you move a file or a folder to a compressed folder, that file is automatically compressed. A file that is moved from a compressed folder is automatically uncompressed.

How to extract files from a compressed folder

Getting files or folders out of a compressed folder is known as extracting them. You can extract one file or folder at a time, or you can extract multiple files or folders. To extract a single file or folder, follow these steps:
  1. Double-click the compressed folder to open it.
  2. Then, drag the file or folder from the compressed folder to a new location.
Note The original, compressed files remain in the compressed folder.

To extract all the files and folders from a compressed folder, use the Extraction Wizard. To use the Extraction Wizard, follow these steps:
  1. Double-click the compressed folder to open it. The Extract all files command appears in the Folder Tasks list.
  2. Click Extract all files to start the Extraction Wizard, and then click Next to start the extraction process.
  3. When you are prompted to select a location to put the extracted files, select a location, and then click Next. By default, Show extracted files is selected.
  4. Click Finish to view the extracted files.
Note The original, compressed files still remain in the compressed folder after you run the Extraction Wizard.

How to protect a compressed folder by requiring a password

You can restrict access to files and folders in compressed folders by requiring a password.

Important The password for a protected, compressed file is not recoverable. If you lose the password, you will be unable to access that file.

Note You cannot protect an empty compressed folder with a password.

To protect the contents of a compressed folder, follow these steps:
  1. Double-click the compressed folder that you want to protect.
  2. On the File menu, click Add a Password.
  3. In the Password box, type the password that you want to use. Type the same password in the Confirm Password box, and then click OK.
Note When you try to move or open a file that is protected with a password, a Password Needed dialog box is displayed. Type the correct password in the Password box, and then click OK.

Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Keywords: 
kbhowtomaster kbui KB306531
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