Windows 10 Includes Zip and Unzip (Compress) Function


You no longer need to download or install a third party zipping utility as Windows 10 includes Zip and Unzip, just one of the many features that were not included in previous versions of the operating system.

If you received an email attachment that has been compressed or want to download a program or gallery of pictures from the internet, they will most likely be zipped. Usually no problem getting them to your computer but what to do then?

Windows 10 includes Zip and Unzip

You may have questions depending on the location of the file or program, such as:

  • How do I tell if it is a zipped (compressed) file?
  • Where do I find the file I downloaded?
  • How do I unzip the file I got from  a website or as an email attachment?

Legitimate questions, and if you are not familiar with zipping utilities, the steps can be a mite confusing. Let’s look at some ways to handle receiving or downloading zipped files…

Unzip a Folder or File Downloaded from the Internet

First, you can always spot a compressed file as the folder will have a zipper on the front of it.         Windows Zipped Folder

As for location, if you have downloaded a compressed file or folder from the Web, it will automatically be in your Downloads folder – Fortunately, very easy to access in Windows 10. The download could be a program or one large file or a folder containing many pictures or documents, so will refer to all as “file” in the steps below for unzipping them.

For some reason, Microsoft changed the names of some of the Windows folders (to keep us on our toes) so will include what they were called in previous Windows in case that has caused some angst:

  • Click on File Explorer icon on the Taskbar (automatically added as a default icon when the operating system was installed). Previous versions were called Windows Explorer.
  • Scroll up to the Quick Access area and click on the Downloads folder (also auto added on install). Quick Access was formerly called Favorites
  • If you did this immediately after the download, it will be highlighted in the list. Looking later, you can sort by any column by clicking its heading, once for Ascending and again for Descending; (will toggle back and forth with each click).
  • Click once on desired file and note the Ribbon will change to reflect it is a compressed file. (If Ribbon does not display, right click on word “Extract” at top, and click Minimize the Ribbon to remove the checkmark and display it).

Windows 10 includes Zip and Unzip

  • On the Ribbon, click the word Extract which will display an Extract All icon: *

Extract All icon in File Explorer

TIP: You can also right click over the zipped file and choose Extract All. Double-clicking the file will also bring you to this screen.

  • This displays a dialog box so you can choose where you want to save the file once unzipped:

Extract zipped folders dialog box

  • The folder noted will be the Downloads folder so you want to click the Browse… button
  • Select the destination folder to extract to but if a main location like Desktop, you need to select an existing folder there or create a new folder or subfolder:

  • Click the Select Folder button at bottom. The dialog box displays confirming your selection.
  • Click Extract button:

  • That folder will open and your file | folder will be listed. Double click to open and use to your heart’s content!

Looks like a lot of steps but really is not. You will “zip” right through them!

Unzip an Email Attachment

The process is going to be the same once you get to the unzipping part but how you get there will depend on how your email program handles attachments. Here’s how the most popular ones behave:

  • or Click the zipped file icon at the top of the email to immediately download or click Download or Save to OneDrive link to start the process. OneDrive, formerly SkyDrive, is Microsoft’s cloud storage and you get 15GB free. If you chose Download, the folder will display at bottom of screen. Click to Open or Show in Folder. Open will bring you directly to screen with Extract All on Ribbon and you can choose where to save it. Show in Folder takes you to the Download folder.
  • Outlook on Desktop (Office): Zipped icon gives you choices to Preview, Open or several Save options. If you open or double click the file, you get this warning, and if you click Open again, you will arrive at that same Extract All screen.

Opening Mail Attachment dialog box in Outlook

  • GmailPlaces the attachment at the bottom of the email with choice to Download or Save to Drive (Google Drive). If you select the Drive option, you can click Organize (or the Learn More… prompt that displays at the top of the Inbox). You also get 15GB free storage here.

GMail download link

Tip: If you are unzipping photos or videos or documents you want access to from anywhere with internet access, then saving to cloud storage is the way to go, especially since it is free! Besides OneDrive and Google Drive, another popular option is Dropbox, so you can spread the files around if you get close to capacity in any one.

Where Do I Find the Original Zipped Files?

Your downloaded files stay in the Downloads folder unless you delete them, so you can extract them as many times as you want. Very handy if previously extracted files get lost, corrupted or altered.

As Windows 10 includes Zip and Unzip utility, it saves having to download any separate programs – one less thing to do or deal with is always a good thing, I say!

We’ll discuss ways to zip your own content to share with others in another post.

If you want to see other nifty features that are built into Windows 10 such as Virtual Desktops that allow you create multiple desktops, visit this blog:

Do you save most of your unzipped files to your computer drives, the internet or both? Let me know in the Comments below.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.