How to Open Zip Files on Vista

by Michael Dance

In the past, you needed a special program, such as WinZip, to open \"zipped\" (compressed) folders. But with Windows Vista, the function comes built-in for most types of compressed files.

Step 1

Double-click on the zip folder with the zipped file inside. A window should pop up with the file or files inside.

Step 2

Click \"Extract All Files\" in the top options bar. The extraction wizard will pop up.

Step 3

Select where you want the files to be extracted to. By default, Vista will extract them to a folder that has the same name as the zip folder, in the same location. If a folder by that name does not exist, Vista will create one.

Step 4

Click \"Extract.\"

Your files will be uncompressed.


  • If a Vista window doesn't pop up when you double-click on the zip folder, you may need to change zip file associations to point to Vista's basic extraction function. To do this, right-click on the zip folder, click \"Open With\" and then click \"Choose Default Program... .\" Click \"Browse,\" navigate to C:\\Windows\\explorer.exe and click \"Open.\"
  • Other types of compressed files exist, the most common being .rar files. If the Vista unzip doesn't work with these files, try a program called WinRAR (see Resources for the download link).

About the Author

Michael Dance is a freelance writer and the owner of As a film critic for he has been quoted by and in national ad campaigns. He graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 2007 and currently lives in Washington D.C.

More Articles