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Archive or bundle together files.

Zip files can be used for a lot different things. Archiving, File compression, encryption, and more.

Think of the way a folder works in Windows. You drop contents into a folder to organize your files, and then you can transport that folder to any location on your computer, and the files inside of it go with it. Zip files work in a similar way, except the contents inside the “folder” (zip file) are compressed to reduce storage use.

What if you have a folder that contains 20 files, and need to email it to someone? Well, you can’t email a folder to someone, so you’d have to email the 20 individual files. That’s where zip files become really useful, because you can “zip up” those 20 files into a single zip archive, and then email it. Along with the convenience of having all those files in a single zip archive, they’ll also be compressed to reduce storage and make transmitting them across the internet that much easier.

If you only want to compress files for archiving or compressing to send in an email, then no additional software is needed, Windows can do it with it's built in tools.

However if you want to encrypt your zip files or split your zip files, you are going to need something a little more powerful. 7-Zip is the answer, it's small, powerful and open source (free).

Click here for the 7-Zip's download page.

In this example, we are going to compress some pictues into a zip file.
Firstly right click anywhere on the desktop (but not on an icon).

From the menu that appears, select 'New'.
Now select 'Compress (zipped) folder'.

Your zip file, although empty has now been created, just give it a name.

As we are going to be compressing pictures, we've simply named this zip file 'Pictures'.

Now open the zip file by double clicking on it and move it to the right side of the screen, as pictured below.

Next open windows explorer and navigate to the files to be placed in the zip file. In this example our files are in the pictues folder.
Now select all the files at the same time or 1 at a time and copy and paste them into the zip folder on the right.

If the files are large it may take a little while, if they are small it will probably be instant.
Repeat steps until you have all your files inside the zip file.

Close once you're done.

And that's it, you can make as many of these fzip files as you like, for what ever purpose you wish.