How to Zip a Folder on Windows 10

What is a ZIP file?

.ZIP is one of the file compression formats used in Windows. Therefore, a ZIP file is a compressed file containing a single file, multiple files, or folders. The primary purpose of compressing (or zipping as it's mostly called) is for storage, archiving, transmission, or any combination of the three. This is because a ZIP is relatively smaller in size than the original file or folder, which saves you transmission time and storage space.

To better understand a ZIP file or folder: suppose you have a folder containing five folders inside it, which further contain files, and you want to email them to a colleague. In order to complete this, you'll have to email them as individual files, since the mail client doesn't allow folders as attachments. This can waste a lot of your valuable time, and also, the receiver won't receive an organized root folder as it was in your machine. So, how do you create a ZIP folder and email as a single file? Keep reading to learn how.

Are ZIP files dangerous?

By themselves, ZIP files aren't unsafe or dangerous, but malicious people with ill intentions have been known to use files to hide viruses and malware. This is because it's hard for most antivirus or anti-malware programs to detect malicious files when they're in a ZIP folder or file. Therefore, it's important to know the source of the ZIP file before opening it. Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself:

  1. Install your machine with the best antivirus program and keep it up to date.
  2. Don't open ZIP files sent via email unless you know the sender. Suppose you know the sender but didn't expect the file. In that case, it's recommended you ask them about the email before opening the attachment, because some viruses can redistribute themselves without the sender's knowledge.
  3. Limit or be cautious of ZIP downloads from untrusted sites.

How to ZIP a folder

Querying this question to your search engine will give a ton of answers. While many third-party programs like WinZip or WinRAR can achieve the same, compressing or zipping a folder on Windows 10 doesn't require any of them. Follow the following steps to zip a folder using the inbuilt Windows 10 feature.

Step 1: Navigate and locate the folder you want to compress or zip. If your files are not in the same folder, create a new one and move all the files or folders you'd like to zip or compress into it.

Step 2: Right-click the folder and navigate the pointer to the "Send to" option on the drop-down list that pops up.

Step 3: Select and click "Compressed folder" on the sidebar menu that appears on the "Send to" button. The compressed folder will be created in the exact drive location as the original folder. Rename, relocate, and/or send it as needed.

How to open a ZIP folder

To view the individual files or folders or open a compressed folder with the native Windows feature, you'll need to extract it first as follows:

  1. Locate the ZIP folder on the computer drive. You'll need to download it first if you received it as an email attachment.
  2. Right-click the ZIP folder to show the drop-down menu. There are two tactics you can choose from — "Extract Here" or "Extract files."
  3. Click "Extract Here" if you want the extracted folder to appear in the same location as the zipped folder, or choose "Extract files" and follow the instructions to select a different location to store the unzipped folder.
  4. Open the unzipped folder to reveal all the individual extracted files and/or folders.

What does it mean to extract files?

A zipped or compressed file is a single unit that is difficult to work with when you need to edit or manipulate the individual files contained within it. Therefore, to extract files, as we have seen above, means to reverse the process of zipping, i.e., to return the files or folders into their original state in terms of space, file tree, and format. For example, if you have a ZIP folder with a Word and Excel file, extracting it will result in a folder with the two files as its children.