Zips & Rars and What To Do With 'Em

Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Love The Archived File

History:

ZIP files were invented in 1173 A.D. by Elldwin of Gomphe, as a means of transporting higher volumes of thistleberry victuals from one burgage to another. Now, I have no way of knowing if that's true or not (it probably is), but I do know with absolute certainty that I can get you opening Zip files with ease by the end of this article.

What are Zip and RAR Files?

These files are essentially gift-wrapped folders full of files - a means of transferring multiple files at once. Think of it as a box full of cookies, biscuits, and/or scones. You wouldn't hand individual cookies, biscuits, and/or scones to your friend, and the same goes with digital files. Your computer should have a digital box-cutter to open up these files - you just need to find it!

How do I open a Zip or Rar file?

On a Mac:

Go to your Downloads folder and double-click the file. That's it. A new folder will open in your downloads folder. Do with it what you like.

On a PC:

Go to your Downloads folder and right-click the file. Click Extract All. Aaand that's it.

Don't see Extract All? Rename the file to BoxOfCookies.zip (so it seems more sweet and not scary). Now right-click the file again, and you'll see Extract All. 2. Double click the file. A new window containing all the files will open. Highlight all of the files, and drag them to your desktop, or to a new folder. They are now extracted!

On a Mobile Device:
We advise that you not try to open a zip file on a mobile device. There are multiple free apps in the iTunes and Google Play stores that could conceivably unzip your download for you, but we recommend just doing it on a laptop or desktop device.

Not working? See here.

Now What?

Depending on what kinds of files are contained in your Zip folder, there are several things you may be able to do.

Video files should be playable through Quicktime or Windows Media Player. If you want to send these to a mobile device, you need to sync them through iTunes or Windows Explorer.
Learn how to sync to an Apple product
Learn how to sync to an Android device

For eBook files, you can either sync these files to your mobile device, or read them on your computer. Check out this article to see what kinds of files can go where.

How to send .MOBI and PDF files to Kindle

How to use iBooks to send EPUB files to your iPad/iPhone

How to open PDF Files

Software files (.exe and .dmg, etc.) and plug-ins may have specific installation needs. Make sure to read any instruction files that are attached to your product. If you need help installing, contact the seller.

Troubleshooting

Unable to unzip:

If your computer is a bit more... "mature" than the newest, hippest machines, you might not have a means of unzipping or un-raring files. We recommend downloading Zipeg to help you join the modern era.

Download Zipeg now (free!)

Error Messages

You may see a message from your computer that the zip file is empty, or you have to enter a password, or there may be missing files. In this case, your internet connection likely was interrupted while downloading the file and you need to re-download it. Go to your email receipt from Gumroad, click the download link, and try again.

Gumroad Receipts
Downloading Help

You may also need to rename the file. If the filename is too long, or it contains non-alphanumeric characters such as $, %, &, *, #, @, !, [, }, etc. then you should click the name of the file and change it to something simple (like "file.zip") or silly (like "butt.zip"). Now try to unzip it again. If these issues continue, try using a different program to un-archive the file, like Zipeg.

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