How to Zip in the Command Line in Windows

By Alan Bradford

Command line functions can speed up common processes for those who are familiar with the text-only interface. Even though Windows supports ZIP file compression using the Send To command, that command is not available in the standard Windows command line. Third-party compression tools, such as 7-Zip and WinZip, offer command line functions to speed up the compression process. Microsoft also provides a command line compression utility for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 Server. Each tool will use its own command line syntax for compressing files.

Things You'll Need

  • ZIP compression program
  • Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools

Step 1

Download and install a third-party ZIP compression program with command line functionality. Two examples are 7-Zip and WinZip. Ensure that you download the correct version and any add-ons necessary to use the command line. For example, 7-Zip has a command line version of the program and WinZip has a separate add-on for licensed users.

Step 2

Click the Windows "Start" menu button on the left of the task bar and click "Run."

Step 3

Type "cmd" in the Open field and click "OK." A command window opens.

Step 4

Type in the command line to compress the files into the ZIP format, according to the syntax of the ZIP compression program you are using. For example, in 7-Zip the command line may look like this--"C:\>7za a test.txt"--where "C:\>" is the directory where the 7-Zip command line program file is located; "7za" calls the executable file; "a" is the Add command; "D:\" is the destination and name of the ZIP archive you are creating; and "D:\test.txt" is the file you are adding to the archive.

Step 5

Press the "Enter" key on your keyboard. The files are compressed into a ZIP archive and the final message in the command window is "Everything is OK."

Tips & Warnings

  • Ensure that the drive in the command line is set to the same drive that holds the ZIP compression program. Otherwise the program will not be found.