Windows XP and ZIP Files

The Windows operating system has made a lot of advances in the last ten years — that admission a shocker coming from me, eh?! However, Microsoft has not been the innovator; rather it is the third-party companies that develop enhancements that have been the driving force behind the improvements.

For example, Norton Utilities was (and probably still is) the best system-repairing software utility around. Microsoft, seeing that, incorporated into its chkdsk utility (you know, the disk checking utility that starts running after Windows crashes and then insults you by claiming that you failed to shut down Windows properly) either a licensed version or a pretty fair emulation of an early version of Norton Disk Doctor.

Microsoft XP does the same thing with ZIP files, incorporating directly into the operating system a method of accessing the popular compression system developed by PKWare. XP goes one step further and treats ZIP files like any other folder. Great for novice users.

The problem is that, once you have have begun to gain both experience and a large number of ZIP files, it becomes a nuisance for two reasons: (1) searching through files with XP’s built-in Search function takes much longer because now searches automatically include all the files compressed within your ZIP files; and (2) viewing a directory with a large number of ZIP files can take a VERY long time to display as XP runs through each of those ZIP files before displaying the top directory. It becomes even worse when you have anti-virus software running!

I decided that I didn’t want XP to treat ZIP files like folders anymore. Here’s the method I used to turn it off:

Click Start, then Run. Type regsvr32 /u %windir%system32zipfldr.dll at the prompt and click OK. Reboot.

Want it back? Do the same thing; just leave out the “/u” in the command above and XP’s handling of ZIP files will be restored.

2 Responses to “Windows XP and ZIP Files”

  1. Christophe

    MUCH faster, now ! Just one precision for XP: No need to reboot after unregistering the DLL. Just close all Explorer windows. Then when you open Explorer again, no ZIP on the left, and huge ZIP directories display much faster.


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