How can I open a .zip file in Windows Vista?
Question by Shawn /

I use Windows Vista. What is the best way to open a file with the extension .zip?

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Answers (8)
  • RayInLV

    My sister’s machine kept prompting her to purchase WinZip because it’s 90 day demo had expired.   She did not want to pay, so she just did not bother.  When she told me she was going to get an i-product machine because they did not have problems, I had to help her.

    I told her the PC she had purchased probably had a demo winzip installed.  All she had to do was uninstall it and then just using windows functionality she could open view and extract .zip files.

    She said the program did not offer that option, I said use Control Panel/Programs  and features.   

    After uninstall Windows functionality in handling .zip files was restored.

  • mc

    Thank you for the info. Another advanced tool of extracting zip files is here

  • Me :)

    Simply install 7zip or WinRar, if this is not working then it’s best to insert your Vista cd and fix the eror (remember that this is usually not working with legal version). If it doesn’t work you shold probably buy windows 7 :)

  • Nik

    Winzip and 7Zip is yor way.
    after istall right click on the file and extract.

  • Tina


    as Mike mentioned, Windows has an inbuilt tool called WinZip to open and extract .zip archive files.

    However, I give a thumbs up for 7-Zip. It can manage many more archive file types than WinZip.

    Let us know if you were able to open your .zip file with the help provided above. Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    Hi You can try 7Zip
    after istall right click on the file and extract.

    Or universal extractor

    Zip or unzip a file

    1. Find a zip file.
    2. Right click the file and choose “Open With”. If a sub-menu appears, please click “Choose Default Program…”
    3. Click “Browse…” button. Browse to “C:Windows” folder.
    4. Find the file “explorer.exe” (it sometimes will show as “explorer”) and click “Open”.
    5. Make “Always use the selected program to open this kind of file” selected and click “OK”.

    Click Start, type regedit.exe and press Enter.
    Navigate to the following branch:

    Delete the sub-key named “UserChoice”

    Close Regedit.exe

    If that does not help, get the .zip file association fix from above link:

    How to Open a .Zip File Without Winzip

  • Anonymous

    You should be able to open and extract .zip files directly from within Vista. However, there is an issue that can cause this feature not to function properly. The issue is that Vista does not associate .ZIP files to a program such as WinZip, 7Zip etc, it associated them to Shell Functionality. So when you install an Archiving package such as WinZip and then uninstall it. Vista does not put back the original OS shell association.

    Although associating your .ZIP to C:WindowsExplorer.exe will partially fix the issue, you will still have limited functionality no right-click extract ect, or right-click in outlook etc.

    The following web site has a .Reg file that will fix the issue completely I have tested it and it worked fine for me.

    [Warning “Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious, system-wide problems that may require you to re-install Windows to correct them. Microsoft or writer of this KB cannot guarantee that any problems resulting from the use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use this tool/Information at your own risk.”]

    To Install the Fix
    Simply click on Zip as the association problem and download the .Reg file, hen double-click on it to install the registry entries.