Quick Tip: Disabling Windows XP's Zipped Folders feature

Windows XP includes a feature that allows you to create ZIP files and extract content from them. Here's how you disable the Zip folder extensions in case they conflict with a third-party Zip program.

ZIP has long been the compression standard for PCs, stretching back to the dinosaur years of BBSs and PC XTs. For that entire time, you've usually needed a third-party utility such as PKZip or WinZip to create ZIP files and extract files from them. When Microsoft shipped Windows XP, it included a built-in extension to Explorer that allows you to create and extract files without any other program.

The problem is that the built-in Zip utility isn't as powerful or as flexible as utilities such as WinZip. Sometimes when you install WinZip or other utilities, XP's extensions conflict with them, causing slowdowns or other problems. Fortunately, you can disable this troublesome feature.

Zapping Zips

The extension that gives Windows XP the ability to compress files and folders is Zipfldr.dll. Beyond compressing and decompressing files, it does little else. You can't control the amount of compression that Zipfldr.dll uses, nor can you do things like create spanned files or password-protect your Zip files.

Disabling Zipfldr.dll isn't that big of a task. You don't even have to go into the registry to do so. Start by opening a command prompt on your Windows XP workstation. When the command prompt appears, type regsvr32 /u c:\windows\system32\zipfldr.dll and press [Enter]. Your system32 folder may be located in the c:\winnt folder or somewhere else, so you'll need to know the path to Zipfldr.dll before entering the command. You should see a Regsvr32 dialog box appear that says DllUnregisterServer in c:\windows\system32\zipfldr.dll succeeded, indicating that the command worked.

If you want to re-enable XP's built-in Zip feature, you'll have to reregister Zipfldr.dll. To do so, type regsvr32  c:\windows\system32\zipfldr.dll and press [Enter]. This time, you'll see a Regsvr32 dialog box that says DllRegisterServer in c:\windows\system32\zipfldr.dll succeeded.

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