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Unzipping files from a WinZip file

New users: For introductory information, please see Brief Tutorial - Unzipping Files.

This section describes the Unzip and Extract windows that are used by WinZip® in Windows Vista and later. If you need help using WinZip's Extract window in Windows XP, please click here. There are other ways to extract files from an archive:

  • Using the drag and drop interface.
  • Directly from My Computer or Windows Explorer, as described in Using the Explorer Interface.
  • If a Zip file (.zip or .zipx) contains a "setup" or "install" program, you can use the Install Feature to automatically extract the files, run the installation program, and clean up temporary files.

Unzipping files using the WinZip Ribbon interface

When using the WinZip Ribbon interface, all of the unzip options need to be set before you click Unzip or one of the Unzip to options in the Unzip/Share tab. Click the Unzip Settings button in the Settings tab to set any or all of the following options:

  • Prompt Before Replacing Files: this option causes WinZip to always ask you if you want to overwrite an existing file in the target unzip location if it has the same name as a file that you are unzipping.
  • Don't Replace Newer Files with Older Versions: this option prevents WinZip from overwriting a file in the destination unzip folder if a file with the same name but a newer time stamp already exists in that location.
  • Use Folder Names: this option only applies when the Display mode on the View tab is set to Classic. When this option is checked, WinZip will unzip files and preserve any stored folder information. For example, if a file mytest.doc in the Zip file contains the stored path \level1\level2\, when you unzip mytest.doc into the folder c:\targetfolder, after the unzip is complete, the final path to mytest.doc will be c:\targetfolder\level1\level2\mytest.doc. If the option is unchecked, WinZip will unzip the files directly into the destination location without any folder information. Therefore, using the previous example, the final path to mytest.doc, with Use Folder Names unchecked, will be c:\targetfolder\mytest.doc.
  • Show Unzipped Files: enabling this option causes WinZip to open a folder window showing the files you unzipped after the unzip process is complete.

If you want to unzip the entire WinZip file without having to manually select everything, click All files in the Unzip/Share tab before unzipping.

After setting the desired options, click Unzip, Unzip to My PC, or Unzip to Cloud in the Unzip/Share tab to begin the unzipping process (access the Unzip to choices by clicking the lower portion of the Unzip split button). Note: If any files are selected in the main WinZip window, this action will only unzip the selected files unless you have selected All files.

Clicking the Unzip button will create a new folder by appending the contents of the Folder field to the contents of the Location field (if one doesn't already exist) in the same location as the WinZip file and then unzip either the selected files or the entire WinZip file into the folder. For example, if your WinZip file is named MyFile.zipx and it is currently located in the folder c:\ZipFiles, clicking Unzip will do the following (assuming that you haven't changed the Location or the Folder):

  1. Create the folder c:\ZipFiles\MyFile.
  2. Unzip either the selected contents or the entire contents of MyFile.zipx into the c:\ZipFiles\MyFile folder.
  3. Open a Windows Explorer window showing the files that were unzipped.

Clicking Unzip to My PC will open the Unzip window, which allows you to select a folder into which to unzip the files. The location can be selected in one of several ways:

  • Select a folder and drive in the folders list in the middle of the window or use the Favorites links on the left side of the dialog.
  • Using the address bar at the top of the window:
    1. Type the path to the location to extract the files.
    2. Click the Refresh button which will set the folders list to the location you specified.
  • If the folder does not exist, click the New Folder button and create a folder in the currently open location.

Clicking Unzip to Cloud opens a similar Unzip window showing supported cloud storage services rather than your PC.

Once you have selected the location, click the Unzip button to begin the unzipping process.

Unzipping files using the Legacy Toolbar interface

In the WinZip Legacy Toolbar interface, use the Extract button on the toolbar or select Extract from the Actions menu to display the Extract window. Use the Extract window to extract or "unzip" files from the open archive to your disk.

WinZip extracts files from the archive to the selected folder in the folders list or the currently open folder if none is selected. You can select this folder in one of several ways:

  • Select a folder and drive in the folders list in the middle of the window or use the Favorites links on the left side of the dialog.
  • Using the address bar at the top of the window:
    1. Type the path to the location to extract the files.
    2. Click the Refresh button which will set the folders list to the location you specified.
  • If the folder does not exist, click the New Folder button and create a folder in the currently open location.

In Windows 7 and later, a Library can also be selected as the Extract location. WinZip will extract the files into the Library's default save location.

The Extract window provides the following options:

  • The Selected items option button instructs WinZip to extract only the files and folders that are selected in the main WinZip window. You can use conventional file selection methods to select the files to extract prior to clicking the Extract button on the toolbar or the Extract menu item from the Actions menu. This option is not available if no files are selected.
  • The Items in current folder option button instructs WinZip to extract all files and folders from the currently selected folder. Note: this button is only available when the main WinZip window is in the Files by Folder view.
  • The Entire archive option button instructs WinZip to extract all files from the archive.

The following options are accessed by clicking the More Options button:

  • If the Open Explorer window checkbox is checked, a Windows Explorer window is opened after the extract operation is complete. The window will show the folder to which the files were extracted. This checkbox is not present if you are extracting from multiple Zip files directly from Windows Explorer using the WinZip context menu.
  • The Overwrite existing files checkbox determines whether you are prompted before existing files are overwritten with files from the archive.
  • The Skip older files checkbox determines whether WinZip skips (does not extract) existing files when the date/time stamps of the file in the archive is older than the file on disk.
  • The Use folder names checkbox determines whether WinZip will use folder names (also known as path names) stored in the archive. You will probably want to check this option for most extract operations. If this option is checked, any folder names stored in the archive will be appended to the selected Extract folder when appropriate. If this option is not checked all files will be extracted to the same folder, regardless of any folder names in the archive. Note: this option does not appear when you are in the Files by Folder view. When in Files by Folder view files are automatically extracted to their respective folders.
  • For example, assuming the selected Extract folder is "c:\temp", the file "mydir\filename" will be extracted to the folder "c:\temp\mydir" if the Use folder names option is checked or to the folder "c:\temp" if the option is not checked.
  • If you extract from multiple Zip files using WinZip's Extract to Windows Explorer context menu entry, there will be a checkbox labeled Use Zip file names for folders. If this checkbox is checked, WinZip will create a folder for each Zip file under the Extract to folder; the folders will be named with the base names of the Zip files. For example, if the Extract to folder is "c:\temp", WinZip will extract files from "NewDocs.zip" to "c:\temp\NewDocs". If this checkbox is not checked, files will be extracted to the Extract to folder. In most cases, you will probably want to leave this option checked when you extract from multiple Zip files.

Note: you can change the default Extract folder using the Folders tab of the Configuration window.