How to Unzip and Open Zip Files

By Richard Kalinowski

Zip files are compressed. This means they typically take up less hard drive space than traditional files and folders. Zip files also make it easier to copy larger files to flash drives or CDs. When you're done transferring Zip files between computers, you need to unzip the files if you want to open them. A Zip file is not executable, and you cannot open it directly, but its contents are usable when properly extracted.

Step 1

Right-click on the Zip file you want to open.

Step 2

Select "Extract All" from the menu that appears.

Step 3

Click "Browse" on the window that appears, and navigate to the place where you want the unzipped files to appear. You can also leave the target destination as-is if you want the extracted files to unzip to the same directory as the original Zip file.

Step 4

Click "Extract." The Zip files will uncompress automatically, appearing in the selected directory. Once extracted, the files appear in a pop-up on your screen.

Step 5

Double-click on any of the recently extracted files to open them. If Windows does not recognize the file format, you are given a list of programs and asked to select which program you want the file to open in.