Using Windows to Extract the Contents of a ZIP File

Windows XP and Windows Vista both include the capability to extract the contents of ZIP files. Extracting the contents allows you to have access to the files contained in the ZIP file.

Many files downloaded from the internet are compressed into ZIP files to make the download faster. You may also receive emails with ZIP file attachments.

The screenshots below are from Vista. Differences when using XP are noted.
Extracting the Contents of a ZIP File

To extract the files from a ZIP file, browse to the ZIP file using My Computer. Right-click on the ZIP file and select Extract All... from the pop-up menu. In this example, I've selected the RC214.ZIP file.

In Windows XP, an Extraction Wizard will open. Click the Next button to start the wizard.

By default, Windows selects a folder named after the ZIP file as the extraction destination folder. This may or may not be what you want.

If you know the folder you want to use, you can type it in or you can click the Browse... button to find a specific folder.


In Figure 1.3, I've typed in the folder I want (the C:\RC214 folder). However, for the purpose of this example, I've also clicked the Browse... button.


Use the window that comes up to browse to the folder you want. In this case, I want my folder to be in the root directory of the C: drive.

With the C: drive selected (highlighted), I can create a new folder by clicking the Make New Folder button. The new folder is created in the selected folder (in this case, the C:\ folder). Type in the name for the folder and click the OK button.


Now that you have your extraction folder selected and entered, you can extract the files by clicking the Extract button. If you want to have the extraction folder automatically opened after the extraction is complete, check the Show extracted files when complete option.

In Windows XP, you'll need to click the Next button in the wizard. On the following screen, you'll be given the option of having the extracted files shown when the wizard finishes. Click the Finish button to extract the files and close the wizard.

Here you can see the contents of the RC214.ZIP file have been extracted to the C:\RC214 folder

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