How to Unzip a Large File Over 4 Gigabytes

Unzipping a large file over 4 gigabytes can be completed without hassle.

Zipping is a common method of archiving large files. The size of zipped files is considerably less than unzipped files, so these files are convenient for storage and file sharing. A zipped file is also able to protect sensitive data and can be sent by e-mail easily. Sometimes you will have a very large file over 4 gigabytes that needs to be unzipped. Unzipping a large file can be frustrating because it takes time, patience and a reliable computer.

Unzipping a Large File with Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft Windows Vista or Mac OS X

Step 1

Close most files and programs, so your computer will have low CPU usage. This decreases the chance of your computer freezing or crashing.

Step 2

You can open the file by right-clicking or double-clicking.

Open the zip file or folder. Using your mouse, right-click or double-click on the file or folder you want to unzip. Choose "Open" if you right-clicked. The file or folder will open.

Step 3

Click on "Extract all files" in the blue bar on the left side of the screen or above the compressed files. An extraction wizard will open. If you are using Mac OS X, click "Decompress" in the Action menu at the top of the window. Your Mac OS X files will be unzipped.

Step 4

Click "Next" and choose the file destination if you are using Windows XP. After choosing the file destination with "Browse," click on next again. With Windows Vista you will just choose the file destination then click "Extract." The files will begin to unzip.

Step 5

Open the location to which your files were extracted. Make sure the files are uncorrupted.

Unzipping a Large File with Linux

Step 1

Get the source code using UnZip and unzip it (see Resources). Edit the makefile with the following code: $ vi unix/Makefile

Step 2

Search until you find the section beginning with the following code: # Linux on 386 platform, using the assembler replacement for crc32.c. (-O4 and # -fno-strength-reduce have virtually no effect beyond -O3. Add "-m486 # -malign-functions=2 -malign-jumps=2 -malign-loops=2" for Pentium [Pro] # systems.) linux: unix_make

Step 3

Locate the line within the section: CF="-O3 -Wall -I. -DASM_CRC $(LOC)"\

Step 4

Replace the line you found with the following line: CF="-O3 -Wall -I. -DASM_CRC -DLARGEFILE_SOURCE -D_FILE_OFFSET_BITS=64 $(LOC)"\

Step 5

Save the makefile. You will compile the unzip using this line: $ make -f unix/Makefile linux

Step 6

Copy the new file to a directory of users bin. Now you can unzip large files.

Things You'll Need

  • Zip file

  • Microsoft Windows XP or Vista, Mac OS X or Linux operating system


Keep as many programs closed as possible. This lowers the risk of your computer freezing or crashing. Be patient. A large .zip file over 4 gigabytes will take a lot of time to unzip.


If your computer is not in good shape there is a possibility it will crash or freeze. Sometimes unzipped files will become corrupted in the unzipping process. If this occurs, repeat the process.

references & resources