Files that contain the ZIP extension are associated with multiple programs and applications and various file types. The programs and applications can include any group of files which have been merged together and compressed to reduce file size for backup, storage, and file restoration if necessary. ZIP files contain data and information related to the program that created them.
ZIP files are a compressed file archive which is created using any type of compression utility program and is commonly used with the Windows operating system. The file can contain a single file or several files saved under more than one directory which can be opened and extracted using a ZIP utility program.
Although ZIP files are commonly used with Windows, you can open and access ZIP files using other operating systems as well. The file extension ZIP was created in the late 1980s in an effort to store a large volume of data on storage devices that did not offer much storage space. Today ZIP files are still used to save disk space and as a convenient way to backup and store large volumes of data in addition to transmitting the data over the Internet.
How to Open ZIP Files
Since ZIP files can be created with a number of compression utility programs, double click on the file to see if it will automatically open in a default program you have installed on your PC. ZIP files can consist of different file types in a compressed format, so you may already have a program which will open them.
If you use Windows, ZIP files can be opened using WinRAR, Microsoft Windows Zip Utility, or 7-Zip, which are commonly used compression utility programs for Windows. Other programs that will open ZIP files in Windows include Smith Micro Stuffit Deluxe 2010, WinZip, and PeaZip.
For Mac OS X, you can open ZIP files using Apple Archive Utility, which typically comes preinstalled on a Mac PC or Dare to be Creative Archiver. You can also use Smith Micro Stuffit Deluxe 2011, Corel WinZip for Mac, or the Unarchiver, which is an open source compression utility program available for download in the Mac App Store.
If you use the Linux operating system, you can open ZIP files with p7zip, which is an open source compression utility available as a free download on the SourceForge website. Other programs that will open ZIP files using Linux include Unzip and Funzip, which are also free compression utility programs.