How to Compress Computer Files

by Contributor

It is often necessary to compress computer files in order to create back-ups or facilitate easy transfer of them via email. It is a very easy process to compress computer files although there are minor variations depending on the operating system being used.

Select the file, folder or group of files that need to be compressed. Most compression software will compress selected files together to create a zip folder even if they have not been collected into a single folder or "archive."

Right-click on the highlighted group if using Windows XP or later versions. Select "Send To Compressed (zipped) Folder," and the .zip file will appear on the desktop.

Control click the highlighted group if using Mac OSX. Select the "Create Archive of 'File Name'" option from the options that appear, and the .zip file will shortly appear.

Download a zip utility if using an older version of Windows. Many are available, including some freeware.

Install the zip software.

Select files to be compressed and right-click on them. Select the quick link to the zip utility, and follow any prompts that may appear.

Move the zip folder to the desired location, such as an email attachment or onto a back-up disk, after it has been created. The original files will still be on the computer and completely unaltered because software to compress computer files creates and compresses copies of the original data.