What does zip/unzip mean?(a tutorial)

Question

I'm looking for a website for a Beginner's step by step instruction for zipping and unzipping files. Once a file is downloaded and it is in a file folder "download", what are the steps for unzipping it?

Thanks, CJ

Answer

This question was answered on July 27, 1999. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

FILE COMPRESSION

While surfing the Internet, you will undoubtedly find text, graphics, audio and video files that you can download Multimedia files in particular, can be very large, which means they can move very slowly across the network Downloading these files in their normal state can sometimes take hours

To make efficient use of space and speed things up, most large files are compressed File compression can cut down the size of files and their download time dramatically How does it work? Compression software uses complex mathematical equations to scan a file for repeating patterns in the data It replaces the data with smaller codes that take up less room For example, one way compression software works is to replace repeating text characters with a code that also notes the locations of those characters in the data With a picture, it would find all of the red pieces, for example, and replace them with a code This greatly reduces the size of the file, making it easy to quickly transmit across a network and cutting downloading time--in some cases, almost in half

To make use of the compressed files you download, you need a compatible decompression program that can read these codes and convert the data back to its original form

Most of the files you encounter on the Web will either be text, graphics, audio, or video files Some may be compressed, others will not The most common compressed files you will encounter on the Web are those with extensions like .zip, .sit and .tar These extensions represent popular compression formats for the PC, Macintosh, and UNIX They may be single files or groups of files that have been bundled together into a single archive An archive file can sometimes contain video or graphics files within it and often contains software programs with related documentation

To decompress a .zip file you need an utility like WinZIP or PKUNZIP, which are readily available on the Internet To unstuff a file with a .sit extension, you need a program called Stuffit Expander, which is a popular program for the Mac Though PKZIP will not decompress files that have been "stuffed," there is a StuffIt Expander version for Windows that does StuffIt Expander can also decompress other formats, including .zip

Files with a .sea or .exe extension are self-extracting files for the Macintosh and Windows, which means they do not require additional software to run You simply click on the file to launch it!

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Author

Posted by Ken of Data Doctors on July 27, 1999