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XP Unzip like WinZip right-click?

While we're on the topic of worst-ideas-in-history: Microsoft's integration of a zip tool.

Good idea: Integrate Zip so you don't have to stare at the WinZip nag screen each time you open a zip

Bad idea: Bury the trivially easy task of unzipping a file beneath THREE DAMN DIALOG BOXES in a WIZARD!
http://consumer.installshield.com/kb.asp?id=Q108326

Not only that, but if you click "Next" on the second box while it is unzipping it will try and unzip it again -- giving you a "Do you want to overwrite" dialog.

What a case of crappy engineering. In any case -- is there a way to get the WinZip style context-menu driven unzip:
http://www.winzip.com/graphics/contextmenu.gif

... obviously without purchasing or using WinZip? My office is weird when it comes to installing 3rd party software.

ZipperHead
Monday, June 07, 2004

Huh? I just installed XP Pro on a new machine in the office and it treats zip files like they are just another folder, except they have a zipper on the icon. It's great.

Miles Archer
Monday, June 07, 2004

I'm with Miles - zip files work just like folders for me on WinXP Pro.

Ankur
Monday, June 07, 2004

God I hate zip folders; it's on my long list of annoying features that I turn off in Windows XP as soon as I install it.

The problem: you have a large directory of zip files categorized into subdirectories.  Now try and find those subdirectories intermixed with all those zip-files-as-folders.

Almost Anonymous
Monday, June 07, 2004

Just sort by "type"...I must be missing something.

Mike Treit
Monday, June 07, 2004

How do you do that with the left-hand folder tree exactly?

Almost Anonymous
Monday, June 07, 2004

What about modifying the .zip file type to add a custom shell menu item, which would invoke a command line tool such as info-zip's free UnZip or the like? 

Perhaps your sysadmins wouldn't notice it since it's just a dos exe sitting on your hard drive, as opposed to an app that has been properly "installed" :)

If you really absolutely cannot put anything on your PC from a third party vendor, and you have some extra time to kill, then you could resort to writing an executable wrapper around c:\windows\system32\zipfldr.dll which implements the Zip Folder functionality.  Haven't played with it myself, but I'd imagine it has some sort of function for actually unzipping the file... 

There are also free libraries for zip compression in various programming languages (.NET and Java for sure, but probably others too) which you could wrap into an exe - that would count as use of third party software, but again, the sysadmins might not notice :)

Joe
Monday, June 07, 2004

Fair point on the folder tree - I didn't know it did that.

I guess one answer is to use the cmd prompt :)

(I'm a cmd.exe afficionado, as masochistic as that is, so I hardly ever use Explorer.)

Mike Treit
Monday, June 07, 2004

Hi,

I've played with the zipfldr.dll wich is a COM in-process component. It's actually a shell extension but it doesn't expose any end-user functionality to zip/unzip archives.

It doesn't seem to expose any other functions.

Too bad we can't use is in our programs.

Maxime Labelle
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

> Huh? I just installed XP Pro on a new machine in the office and it treats zip files like they are just another folder, except they have a zipper on the icon. It's great. <

It's the worst thing MS could do: Over-transparency, because the semantics were changed. Zips are treated as folders, including searching and *deletion* from the search dialog. Zips are no longer a save lock-away archive under XP, they are now a normal storage. I've learned it the hard way by losing some data from some backup zips (fortunately beeing burned on CD just an hour before).

Holger
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Well, WinRAR from http://www.rarlab.com/ simply rocks.

Jimbo
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

UltimateZip (http://www.ultimatezip.com/ ) has a good right-click menu, without nag screen IIRC (though there is a nag screen, less annoying than WinZip's, when you start the application itself).

vrt3
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

"so you don't have to stare at the WinZip nag screen..."

I have a great solution: SPEND THE $30 TO REGISTER IT CHEAPSKATE!
:-)

Duncan Smart
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

I completely disagree, Holger.

The shell extension that treats ZIPs as normal folders did not change the semantics. ZIP files are simply compressed storage. In NT 4 and Win 2000, NTFS compressed files and folders showed up with blue text in Explorer, and worked like non-compressed files and folders. They've simply extended that metaphor to ZIP files.

Ankur
Tuesday, June 08, 2004

I think you have to manually enable the distinct color for compressed files, though?

Chris Nahr
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Ankur,

you describe exactly the thing I criticised: Zip is a well established tool since old DOS times, used as an opaque and transportable archive format. The NT compression, OTOH, is a transparent and system-bound storage, and implemented as such up from the beginning.

MS did something between both to the zip format: It is now a transparent storage, but still transportable. Due to the transparency, one important property of the transportability is lost if you are not careful: verifyability (eg by MD5 checksums), because the archive can be modified at any time you do any actions in the file system. The old, well established archive semantics are broken.

It has at least a smell of embrace & extend (& extinguish), IMO.

Holger
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

I aggree with Holger. Zip files have been used to backup and transfer files for ages. You only updated Zip files after careful consideration. Making them appear like part of the file system will lead to increased accidental modification / deletion of important archives.

Zipper
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Well, we'll disagree here.  My main use for Zip files has always been compression, not verification.  Back when hard drive space was valuable, I would archive old data files in Zip files to save space. For as long as I've had WinZip, I used its feature to let me launch files directly from the Zip archive (like Word files) - WinXP now lets me do this without using WinZip. XP has extended the Zip metaphor for exactly the way I use Zip files.  It's good stuff.

In fact, it's been better than NTFS compression. I've had to change computers several times in the last few years, and keeping old data in Zip files means I don't have to keep remembering to turn on folder compression every time I move the data to my new computer.

Ankur
Wednesday, June 09, 2004

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