How to Zip and Unzip Files and Folders (in Windows XP)

by Chris Hoffman ; Updated February 10, 2017

Windows XP includes build in support for creating and extracting zip files. Zip files are a standard archive format that can contain one or more files and folders. Zip files can be smaller than the original files and folders and are a single file, so they’re often used for emailing and transporting files. You can create a new zip file from Windows Explorer or add more files and folders to an existing zip file. You can also unzip individual files and folders from a zip file, or extract the entire zip file’s contents into a directory on your computer.


Click “Start,” select “My Computer” and navigate to the files and folders on your computer you want to zip.

Select the files and folders by clicking and dragging in the Windows Explorer window. Select additional files or folders by pressing and holding the “Ctrl” key as you click each additional file.

Right-click the selected files and folders, point to “Send To” and click “Compressed (Zipped) Folder.”

Double-click the .zip file that appears in the current folder to open it.

Add additional files and folders to the zip file by dragging and dropping them to the zip file’s window.


Double-click a .zip file to open it in Windows Explorer.

Unzip individual files and folders by dragging and dropping them from the zip file’s window onto your computer or click the “File” menu and select “Extract All” to unzip all the files.

Click “Next” in the Extract All dialog

Click the “Browse” button and browse to a folder for the unzipped files. By default, Windows creates a new directory with the name of the zip file in the same directory as the zip file.

Click “Next” and click “Finish” to unzip the files and view the extracted files in a Windows Explorer window.

About the Author

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around tech geek who writes for "PC World," MakeUseOf, and How-To Geek. He's been using Windows since Windows 3.1 was released in 1992.