How to Archive Files in Windows: Guide to Extracting and Compressing Files

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By Rob Leung

When you download something from the humongous world of the internet, which is quite reasonable given it’s the year 2023, you’ve probably seen ZIP files or other sorts of compression algorithms like RAR or 7Z. It’s also possible that you have no idea how data compression functions, which would explain just why you needs this step by step guide.

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Compressed files, such as ZIP, are unique among the multitude of various types of file formats. They’re not specific to photos, video, music, or any other sort of data.

They are the outcome of big files being compressed into something much more digestible. Contents require less space on the disk when compressed, therefore files may be transferred and received faster. This is such a handy tool for most PC users, that is why we are going to discuss this today.

Why Archive Files?

If you’ve ever tried to organize your computer files, you know how difficult it can be to find what you’re looking for. Even if you’re diligent about labeling and sorting your files, it’s easy for things to get lost in the shuffle. That’s where archiving comes in. Archiving is a way of organizing files so that they’re easy to find and access when you need them.

There are many benefits to archiving files. For one, it helps you keep your files organized. When you archive files, you can store them in a way that makes sense to you. You can also add tags and keywords to files so that they’re easy to find later. You can also use archiving to hide files that you don’t want others to see.

Moreover, compressed files take up less space on storage, making them easier to keep and transfer over email. Before you may edit compressed files, you must first uncompress them.

How to Zip and Compress Files

Although ZIP is not the only sort of compressed file, it is unquestionably the most popular. We could go on all day about ARC, ZIP, ARJ, CAB, RAR, and hundreds of other compression formats, but they all work in the same manner. So, to make this tutorial simple and easy to understand, we will simply focus just on the ZIP end.

A compressed file is a type of archive that comprises one or multiple files which have already been compressed in size. Because these files are smaller, they may be kept without taking up a lot of room and sent over the Internet at quicker rates.

To zip and compress your files, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the file you want to compress.
  2. Right-click on it.
  3. Select the “Add to archive” option.
  4. Select the preferences you want to have.
  5. Click on OK.

Best Methods for Archiving your Files and Folders

There are several methods you can try for archiving your files and folders. Below listed are some of the best ones.

Make Use of a Document Management System

If you don’t already have one, acquire one, it’s a no-brainer. Computer archiving starts with a data management system. Many different companies offer software for digital record keeping. M-Files, Box, and DocSend are among the top options examined by us.

You will not have to handle much of the archiving activities individually if you have a strong software system set up, which will save your business time. These solutions also protect your data from being mishandled and from getting into the hands of unauthorized individuals, whether it’s from internal dangers or foreign powers from attackers.

Create a System for Archiving

You must build a procedure for your company before you can create an archival document management system. Create a handbook that specifies which files should be preserved and how to do so using the tools you’re using. Contract terms, product information, inventory records, client data, and other sorts of information may all have their file systems. To ensure that you cover all of your bases, get a review from your colleagues before adopting this new method. You could also use a program or service for archiving content on your phone, such as iMyFone.

Streamline the Procedure

To ensure that anyone within the workplace can retrieve the archived files, you must integrate the procedure inside your data management system throughout the content lifetime. If the archive file format varies per division, for example, you’ll encounter unneeded roadblocks. Check to see whether there are any significant discrepancies in the archiving procedure between divisions.

Ascertain That the System is Usable by Everyone

Information archiving ought not to be restricted to a few relevant parties. To ensure nothing is ever lost, everybody who generates and distributes information should be able to archive data and files.

Your archival system’s settings should be simple for your staff. It should be well-organized so that anyone can correctly archive and recover information. Much of this should be handled by your system, but based on your company’s priorities or your preference, you may need to take additional actions.

Activity of Auditing

Any data management technology solution you pick should keep track of activities seamlessly, whether it’s detecting who submitted which documents and when, or who viewed archived documents and made modifications. Keep track of this activity to ensure that your organization is appropriately utilizing the platform and that the right people are accessing and uploading data.

Examine and Make Necessary Changes

Evaluate the archiving operation in your electronic document system frequently, possibly bi-monthly, to see how well it is benefiting your company. Is archiving files a time-consuming process? Is it possible for others to quickly locate and get their hands on these documents? Are unauthorized individuals gaining access to the information that should only be accessed by specific people?

Determine whether any adjustments to your process are required, and then implement them. Review the procedure regularly.

How to Extract Files After They Are Archived

After you have successfully compressed a file or folder, such as a “.zip” file, you have archived a file. Archiving is simply the process of compressing one or more files into a single, smaller file. When you want to use the files again, you must extract them from the archive. Here are the steps to extract files from a compressed archive:

  1. Locate the file or folder you want to extract.
  2. Right-click on the file or folder.
  3. Click on the Extract option.
  4. Select the destination you want your extracted files to be in.
  5. Click on Extract all.

What Are the Different Types of Data Compression?

There are numerous techniques and applications currently available that enable the average person to condense data, though some are more appropriate for specific uses. It’s easier to comprehend data compression in context by dividing it into two categories; namely lossy compression and lossless compression.

Lossy Compression

Lossy compression shrinks files by deleting information that isn’t needed. When a complete replication of the original is not demanded, this sort of compression is most typically used on picture, film, and audio recordings.

An Mp3 format clip, for instance, does not retain all of the acoustic features from the recorded version. MP3 lossy compression, on the other hand, removes noises that individuals cannot perceive. The outcome is a reduced file with low user effect because the ordinary human ear just wouldn’t perceive the change.

“Does this form of compression have any drawbacks?” you might wonder. The more lossy compression is used to condense data, the more evident the content loss grows. Furthermore, lossy compression doesn’t perform well with items that require all of the information. For instance, compressing a Docx or a spreadsheet file would result in an inoperable output.

Lossless Compression

Lossless compression minimizes the size of data without losing any data. Conversely, this approach reduces the total file size by reducing repetitions within the content. It is conceivable to completely rebuild the entire data using lossless compression.

For instance, one of the most prevalent lossless compression formats (ZIP) is frequently used for Windows application files since it keeps all of the sample signals. When you uncompress a file, you get an exe file that would otherwise be unusable with lossy compression.

PNG for pictures, FLAC for sounds, and ZIP for files are all typical lossless formats. Lossless video codecs are uncommon because the original data would cover up a lot of room in the disk.

The limitations of Data Compression

It’s crucial to keep in mind that compression isn’t limitless. Although compressing an item into a ZIP can minimize its size, it is inconceivable to shrink it any further and lower its size to zero.

It’s also crucial to grasp the bond between the different types of data compression. These are some of the key points you must know:

It is possible to convert lossless files to lossy files.

It is feasible to convert one lossless format to another lossless format.

It’s difficult to convert lossy files to lossless files because lossy formats discard data that can’t be recovered.

It is not possible to convert one lossy format to another.

Overall, compression saves you a lot of disk space which can fill so easily if you are working for a corporate or any company handling huge data sets.