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Solved: What is purpose of "Compressed/Zip' Folder?

Discussion in 'Windows XP' started by sistafatti, Sep 20, 2008.

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  1. sistafatti

    sistafatti Thread Starter

    Feb 18, 2004
    On my profile I entered under experience, "Sometimes smart, Sometimes dumb". This is a "sometimes dumb" question. Exactly what is the purpose of a compressed or zip file? I use a geneology program that automatically compresses data when you save a file so that a large amount of data can be stored on a floppy disk.

    I recently sent some information to an individual via email and that person requested that I use snail mail instead because it took forever to download on their dial up connection. Using "properties" I look at the size of the file at it was 2.25 MB. I thought perhaps compressing the data would not take it so long to download so I placed it in a Windows XP Compressed folder and then looked at the size of that folder and it was 2.19 MB. Not much of a reduction and would probably take just as long for that person to download. Am I doing something wrong?
  2. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

    Mar 23, 2005
    First Name:
    People with dial-up probably won't appreciate any email greater than about 100 KB. :)

    You're not doing anything wrong. Some files are "dense"--can't be compressed much more. Others can be compressed a great deal. For example, any file already compressed by your geneology program cannot be compressed more than a little unless the program has a terrible compression scheme.

    The other use (that I know of) for Zip files is to bundle files together for emailing/uploading/downloading.
  3. Claymore


    May 20, 2005
    It depends on what you are compressing. For example, compressing .jpg images or .mp3 music files will give little or no gain in size reduction. Word processing files (without embedded images) can have significant reduction. Some data files will also compress nicely. Another factor is the degree of compression. Some third-party file compressors allow you to select the degree of compression, subject to the limit of course.
  4. sistafatti

    sistafatti Thread Starter

    Feb 18, 2004
    Thanks Claymore and Terrynet. Both of your response were very enlightening. The file I referenced in my post was a word processing file with imbedded images so the explains the minimal compression.
  5. TheOutcaste


    Aug 7, 2007
    Another use for Zip files is to span files that won't fit on one floppy across several. The file you referenced at 2.19 MB won't fit on one floppy. Windows built in Zip handling won't span disks though; you'll need a 3rd party app for that.
    If you need a zip program, here's a few common ones:
    7-zip (Free - Open Source)
    WinAce (Free Trial)
    WinRar (Free Trial)
    WinZip (Free Trial)

    With WinZip and WinRar (and WinAce I believe), you can also create a self extracting archive, meaning the recipient would not need a zip program to extract the files, they would simply double click on the file with an EXE extension and it would do all the work.

    With a 33.6kbps dial up connection, that 2.19 MB file would take 11-12 minutes to download, assuming the PC wasn't being used for any other internet activity. With low quality phone lines, it could easily take twice as long.


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