See what all the excitement is about!  Download a copy of The Unzip Wizard software to try on your own PC!


More Frequently
Asked Questions

Return to Main Menu

What Is A ZIP File?

Q: I am new to downloading and ZIP files. What is a ZIP file and why must I use The Unzip Wizard to unzip them?

A: Suppose you wanted to send balloons from a neighborhood party shop to a friend of yours living in another state.  You obviously would not ship them fully inflated through the mail.  Instead, to save space and shipping costs, you would deflate the balloons, and send them and instruct someone on the other end to inflate them.  This simple concept also applies to sending files across the Internet.  File compression allows you to take computer files and squeeze their contents so that the files takes up less space on a disk.

If you're downloading a file from a Web site, you will save time by downloading a compressed file, since there will be less information to transfer.  If you pay for your online connection by the hour, downloading compressed files can also save you money.

It is usually pretty easy to tell if a file has been compressed...just take a look at the file extension (the suffix end of the file) which usually consists of a period followed by three letters.


PC compression methods

"Zipped" files are one of the most common types of compressed files.  These files have a ".ZIP" suffix at the end of the filename.  There are a number of Windows based program utilities that will compress and expand zipped files.  Three of the most common are PKZIP, a product of PKWARE Inc., and Winzip, which is published by Nico Mak Computing Inc., and our favorite The Unzip Wizard from Softword Technology.


How file compression works

File compression is like a kind of computer shorthand.  When you attempt to compress a file, the compression software that is being used looks for a series of repeating characters or bits in the file.  The software then replaces these blocks of repeated characters with symbols or shorter words or phrases, which are called "tokens."

For example, it takes less space for a computer file to be structured:

"10101000110101[insert 73 zeroes here]11011010010"

than this...

"1010100011010100000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000000000000000000000000000000011011010010"

When you apply a decompression program (like The Unzip Wizard) to a compressed file, the software reads the file and replaces the tokens with the original data, inflating the file back to its original size.


Copyright © 2000 Softword Technology. All rights reserved

(Fine print legalese: Hey, if you even think about stealing portions of this page you better think again.  The Wizard will turn you into a toad with warts if you try to violate his Web realm).

How do I create a .ZIP file with PKZIP for Windows?
 How do I use PKZIP for Windows to compress a folder and all subfolders?
 How do I use PKZIP for Windows to create an .EXE file?
 How do I extract a file from a .ZIP or .EXE file?
 How do I add multiple files to an archive at the same time?
 How do I select files in different folders to compress?
 I don't like these advertisments at the bottom of the window. How do I get rid of them?
 Can I span diskettes with PKZIP for Windows?
 Does the Windows version support AV?
 Does the Windows version support command line options?
 I am having a problem transferring a file from a Windows 9x machine to a Windows 3.1x machine. Why?
 Why can't I open certain archive format (e.g. UUEncoded; XXEncoded; MIME; BinHex; Tar; GZIP) files in PKZIP for Windows?
 How does PKZIP for Windows compare to WinZip?
 How can I use PKZIP to open an .ARJ, .LHA, .RAR, or .BZ2 file?
 How can I use PKZIP to scan my .ZIP files for viruses?

What is a split archive? How do I create a split archive?
 I downloaded a file to decompress with PKZIP, but I can't remember where I downloaded it to. How can I use PKZIP to find it?
 I compressed a file inside my .ZIP archive with a password. I want to change the password. How?
 I configured options in PKZIP, but when I run the Wizard, they are not used. Why?
 I want to print a list of files in my .ZIP file. How?
 What's the difference between a RegularSFX, EasySFX, and an AutoSFX?
 How can I copy my split files to floppy disk?
 I created a split .ZIP file on floppy disks with PKZIP Explorer, but PKZIP for Windows can't read it. Why?
 What do the compression methods and levels mean?
 How do I use PKZIP for Windows to Install other programs?
 How do I email an archive?
 Why can't I email a spanned archive via PKZIP for Windows?
 How do I create or customize my toolbars?
 How can I change what information is displayed for an archive?
 How can I tell if my archive is secure (password protected)?
 How can I add security (password protection) to my archive?
 I forgot to add a password (or specified the wrong password) to my archive when I created it -- now what?
 How can I hide my password from others when I enter it?
 I don't like how the wizard creates or extracts my files? Can I change these options?
 What do the characters displayed under the Attributes column mean?
 What does the File manager pane allow me to do?
 Does this mean I can only drag and drop with the File Manager pane?
 What are Favorites? How do I add archives to my Favorites?
 What are the buttons on the status bar for?
 I've used PKWARE Authenticity Verification (AV) in version 2.70 of PKZIP for Windows. How do I enable it in version 4.0?
 I created a patch file, and when it finished compressing, PKZIP for Windows told me there were warnings, and that it couldn't delete some files. Is it trying to delete my file sets?
 I'm creating several SFX files and I want to have them always overwrite files when extracting. I set all my options on the PKSFX for Windows - Options dialog, and then clicked the Save As Default button. However, when I click the Load Default button, the overwrite option is still set to prompt. Why?
 How do I create a multiple version patch?
 I just started using the shareware version of PKZIP for Windows 2.70. Can I just install the new 4.0 version?