Archived files are commonly used for downloads and other purposes, many PC users encounter the need to unzip or decompress an archive file. Windows XP and
Vista come with a native capability to handle ZIP files but not some of the other archive formats. In any event, I find the Windows function to be quite slow compared to some other methods. The free program 7-Zip is quite efficient and is faster. I was reminded of this the other day when I downloaded an updated version of the WordPress blogging software that I use. The ZIP file is only around 850 kB but it contains quite a few small files and sub-folders. The Windows function is very slow in a case like this. I made the mistake of opening the downloaded file with the native accessory and it took a very long time to unzip all the files. I could have gone out for a cup of coffee. I then tried using 7-Zip instead and the job was done in a snap.
Skipping the Windows function and using something like 7-Zip is very easy. After installation, the right-click context menu will have entries for using the new program. Some people even go so far as to disable the Windows archiving function entirely. Personally, I prefer to keep it as an option but sometimes the Windows function might interfere with another archiving program. If you wish, here’s how you disable the Windows ZIP function. Open the Run line by pressing Windows Key+ R or go to Start-Run and enter:
regsvr32 /u %windir%\system32\zipfldr.dll
Click “OK” and restart the computer. This command unregisters the DLL file used for the Windows ZIP function. It doesn’t always work, however, and to really disable the function you may need to rename the DLL file zipfldr.dll that is involved to something like zipfldr.dll.bak. Windows will complain and make warnings but it is safe enough as long as you don’t run amok in the System32 directory. You can always change the name back. In any event, always make a restore point first.If you decide that you want the Windows ZIP function back, re-register the DLL from the Run line with the command:
Click “OK” and restart the computer. Personally, I have never gotten conflicts between the Windows program and 7-Zip. I also leave the ZIP file association with the Windows function. That makes it the default but I can always use 7-Zip whenever I want from the right-click context menu.