Switching XP’s Built-In ZIP Support To Open Source

For many computer-illiterate people this greatly helps, as XP makes it look like ZIP files are just normal folders. But for us, we know better, and XP’s support isn’t fully built in. When searching for files, XP (very slowly) searches ZIP archives also, and results from archives come up incorrect and generate errors when deletion is attempted. I’ll give you a quick guide on how to remove this ZIP support, and if you want, replace it with 7-Zip.

So, removing this support is quite easy. Ensure you are logged into an administrator account, and open up a command line. Type this:

regsvr32 /u %windir%\system32\zipfldr.dll

This unregisters our little DLL file which gives the ZIP support (hence the /u). So just tap Enter, and a dialog box should appear, telling you it was unregistered successfully. If it says that it was unsuccessful, you probably either already unregistered it or you are not logged in as an admininstrator.

And there you go! No more support. Try it by double-clicking on a ZIP archive somewhere on your HD.

Now, I for one love the built-in feature that this added; I just hated the bugs it implemented! So here’s what you can do to retain that great feature, but instead using an open-source piece of software, 7-Zip:

  1. Of course, if you haven’t already, download 7-Zip, and install it.
  2. Open up any ol’ folder, and go to Tools>Folder Options.7-Zip 1
  3. Go to the File Types tab, and select which archive type you’d like to have built in. I’ll use ZIP for this example (I’ve already installed it, as you can see in the association list). Click the Change button.7-Zip 2
  4. You’ll be presented with an Open With dialog. Click the Browse button and go to the directory where you installed 7-Zip to. Select the file ‘7ZFM.exe’ and click OK.
    7-Zip 3
  5. Ensure that ‘Always use the selected program to open this kind of file’ is checked, and click OK. You can repeat this with other filetypes, to get built-in support for those too. For example, you could enable support for .GZ, .BZ2, .TAR, and .ZIP files to all be opened on a double click.

If you want to see an example of what it looks like, here’s a screenshot of what happened after double-clicking a .tgz archive (after setting up 7ZFM for .tgz files, of course):

7-Zip 4

Have fun using your new built-in interface for all 7-Zip supported archives!

Did you find this article useful? Please leave a comment to let me know. Don’t worry, you don’t need to register for a simple comment.


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Welcome to the blog of a WordPress developer, documenter, tester, and plugin-writer. Find all things WordPress here, and more.

Dagrio D'Ampessi

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