In Computing, what is Zipping?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2019
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Just about everyone who has used email or worked with various types of electronic documents has heard of zipping. Essentially, zipping is the act of creating what is known as a zip file. Zipping creates a means of placing a number of different files into one folder, and then compressing the folder into a size that is smaller than the individual files that are included. Zip files are very helpful when it comes to managing space on the hard drive of a computer, as well as being much easier to use when sending documents by email.

One of the great things about zipping is that the process does not have to be permanent. Folders and files can be decompressed or unzipped with the same ease that is required to compress or zip the files in the first place. The same software that is used for the zipping process also provides the unzipping protocols as well. When decompressing files, the software requires only a couple of actions on the part of the user. There is no need to have the system reconfigure the original file format, as the software will automatically restore the original settings while extracting files from the zipped folder.


Zipping has become a popular way of archiving older documents that are not needed on a regular basis. The zipped files are stored on a CDR, or archived on a common server. This frees up space on the individual hard drive that can be devoted to files and software that are accessed on a regular basis. Since the retrieval of zipped files takes very little time, zipping is a daily occurrence in just about every business that requires data entry as part of the business model.

Zipping also is ideal for sending large files through email. This can be especially helpful when the recipient may be using a slower connection process, such as at a hotel. While zipping does nothing to increase the speed of a dial-up connection, it does create a smaller amount of data for the connection to process and deliver. There is a certain amount of security involved with zipping as well. First, the recipient will need to have zipping software in order to extract the zipped files. Second, it is possible to encrypt the files with a passcode during the process of zipping. This will prevent anyone without access to the passcode from being able to open and read the documents.


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