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File Extension ZIP

What is a Zipped File?

Files that are compressed using the Zip compression can have the ZIP file extension. The main purpose of the file extension .zip is to provide the user with a conventional compression method; wherein every file contained within the archive is compressed separately. In a simpler aspect, the file extension ZIP is a lossless data compression and archival format. The files with the .zip file extension can contain a single or several files that have been compressed - reduced in file size, or stored using the original file size.

Phil Katz originally planned the file extension ZIP solely for the use of the PKZIP program. Currently, there are several archiving utilities that can modify, create or open files with the .zip file extension, including: WinZip, KGB Archiver, PicoZip, Info-ZIP, WinRAR, IZArc, BOMArchiveHelper, 7-Zip, PeaZip, TUGZip, AlZip, Zip Genius and the Universal Extractor. Due the popularity of the ZIP file extension, Microsoft has also included a built-in support for ZIP files in the later versions of their operating system. Aside from being an archive format, the files with the .zip file extension can also support password-based encryption systems and the spreading of archives across several removal media.

Through the separate compression procedures for each file of the file extension ZIP, it allows individual files to be retrieved without going through other data. There is also a ZIP specification stating that files can be stored either using a wide range of compression algorithms or uncompressed. However, the algorithm usually used for the function of the ZIP file extension is the Katz's DEFLATE algorithm. This kind of algorithm is a lossless data compression algorithm that makes use of the combination of the Huffman coding and the LZ77 algorithm.

In detail, the contents of the files with the .zip file extension are usually files and directories that are stored in an arbitrary order. There is a central directory that can be used to indicate the location of a file. These portions of the files with the .zip file extension are usually located at the end of each file. Additionally, the files and directories of each file with the .zip file extension are represented by file entries.


Phil Katz

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