Archiving or zipping in computer terminology means compressing the files into smaller size, so they take less space in your computer’s hard drive. It is useful when you have large number of files that you use occasionally and occupying space. You can archive all these images, documents and folders and unarchive when needed. The best part is you’ll not lose any data when compressing a file. Luckily, in Windows 11, you don’t need any third-party tools to zip the files or folders, and you can do in File Explorer without much effort.
Why Should You Zip Your Files?
There are few major reasons for zip the files and folders. The purpose behind compressing the files into a Zip archive is to make them quickly portable to other computers, cloud storage, or email addresses.
- Some services do not allow certain file extensions. For example, many organizations will block emails with .exe file attachment due to security reasons. In such a case, you can simply zip the .exe file and send it as a .zip archive file. The recipient can easily download and unzip the file on their computer.
- Emails and file sharing services allow sharing individual files. However, you may have multiple files in a folder for your project or other reasons. Unfortunately, it is not possible to send a folder containing multiple files in an email or share over internet. You have to attach or send separate files though all are in a single folder. The best option is to archive all the folder containing multiple files to a single file and send over. This will be super useful for the recipient as the structure of content inside the folder can be retained when unarchiving.
- Files with large sizes are not easily shareable, and if you like to share the file using an email service, it might take extra time and storage to deliver the file from one computer to other, leading to a wastage of time and effort. Moreover, the zipped files are easily shared because of the smaller size, even if your internet connection is slower.
ZIP and Unzip Files and Folders in Windows 11
You can zip/unzip files and folders in Windows 11 using either built-in method or with any third-party tool like 7-Zip or WinZip. Without further ado, let’s get down to show how you can quickly zip and unzip a file/folder in Windows 11.
In-built Methods in Windows 11
There are two different methods to zip or compress a folder. First option is to zip the file directly from your desktop. We have created a dummy folder on the desktop to show this method. It’s pretty simple; right-click on the folder you want to compress and from the context menu, click on the “Compress to Zip file” option. You will get a zipper icon immediately after compressing the folder, and if you hover over the zipper Icon, it’ll show you that the folder is zipped successfully.
The next method is also straightforward using File Explorer.
- Press “Win + E” to open File Explorer app and locate the file you want to compress in a zip folder.
- Next, right-click on the file, or if you want to zip multiple files at a time, hold the left mouse button and drag the mouse cursor over the files to select them.
- After selecting the files, right-click on the selected group.
- When the context menu appears, click on the “Compress to Zip file” option.
- Windows will create a zip archive file including all the selected files. Once the zipped file is created, the zip file name will be automatically highlighted so you can change the name. Press enter when you are done with typing the name.
Unzip the File/folders in Windows 11
Good part is that you can unzip or unarchive the zip files using in-built utility in Windows 11. All you have to do is to right-click on the file you want to unzip and then click on the “Extract All” option from the context menu.
Window 11 File Explorer comes with another “Extract all” option that can be accessed from the top menu bar. Click on the zipped file that you want to unzip, and you will see “Extract All” option appears. Clicking on this option will let you extract all of the files in that folder.
You can choose “Extract All” option either from the context menu or from the File Explorer top menu to unzip a folder. Once you select that option “Extract Compressed (Zipped) Folders” pop-up will open. By default, Windows will show the same location of the zip file. You can click the “Browse” button and select different location where you want to extract the files.
Unzip Only Few Files from a Compressed Folder in Windows 11
Often, we need only a few selected files to be extracted from a zipped folder. The built-in method to unzip a folder also helps you with that without much effort. First of all, double-click on the zipped folder to view the files in it.
Now, right-click on the file you want to unzip from the folder and select “Copy” from the context menu. Alternatively, select the file and press “Control + C” to copy the file. Go to the location where you want to paste the file and press “Control + V” to paste the file. Likewise, you can select multiple files and then paste them to your desired location without completely extracting the zipped file.
Zip Files Using 7-Zip App
7-zip is one of the most advanced file archiver apps for Windows 11. It’s an open source and you can download the app free from the official website. The 7-Zip software lets you compress files using 4 different formats – 7z, tar, wim and zip. Therefore, even if you are blocked to send .zip files, you can change the compressed file extension to .7z and send in emails. In addition, you can choose different compression levels, encryption to protect archived files and time of compression speed.
Let’s find out how to do it with a “New folder” in the desktop. Click on the folder and then right-click on it to see more options. Hover over the 7-Zip context menu to view the options to archive using 7-Zip. Now either go with “Add to New folder.zip” or “Add New folder. 7z” options to get quick compression.
As most popular archive formats are 7z and ZIP formats, these two formats are included as default archive formats in the main menu. However, there are four more formats that can be used to archive your files or folders using 7-Zip app. If you like to try some of these formats, then select “Show more options…” from the right-click context menu. It will show you the legacy right-click menu, hover over the “7-Zip” menu and select “Add to Archive” option.
On the “Add to Archive” pop-up that appears, you will find all of the compression management options; such as changing the location, rename the file, etc.
Select the archive format from the “Archive format” dropdown menu.
You can also increase or decrease the compression level from the given four options.
If you want to password protect the archived folder, enter the encryption password and select “Encrypt file names” option. Be sure to remember your passwords, otherwise there will be no way to open the archived folder.
Unzip Files Using 7-Zip App in Windows 11
Now, let’s find out how to unzip an already compressed folder using the 7-Zip app. Click on the zipped file, and when you right-click, an option will appear on Menu with “Show more options”.
From the given options, select “7-Zip” and then click on “Extract Here” if you like to extract the files to the same location of the original file. The files will be automatically extracted in the same location.
Given that, you can also extract the files to any other location. For this, you have to go with the “Extract files” option. On the pop-up, click on the three dots ellipsis button, select any location in your hard drive to extract the files and click on “OK”. The files will be extracted to your desired location.
Unzip Selected Files Using 7-Zip App
7-Zip app will be equally beneficial when extracting a single file or a bunch of files from a selected zipped folder. To extract a single file or group of files, right-click on the zipped folder and select “Show more options…”. When you take your cursor over the 7-Zip, you’ll see more options and click on “Open archive” from the list of the given options.
When you have opened the zipped folder in the 7-Zip app, select the files to be extracted and click on the “Extract” option from the top menu.
Now to change the location of the extracted files, click on the three dots ellipsis button and after selecting the location, click on the “OK” to continue.
The files can be found at the extracted location that you have selected.
You can see that the built-in utility is pretty good at zipping and unzipping the files in Windows 11. However, if you are interested in using any third-party tool, go for the 7-Zip app, it won’t disappoint you with its archiving functionalities.