How to Fix Default Zip File Behavior

Recently, one of my friends asked me this question via email.

A few years ago, I received a .rar file via email.   I was unfamiliar with this filetype and after I researched it on the Internet, I found 7zip and used it to open the archive.

Some time after that I uninstalled 7zip but somehow messed up my zip file association.   Now whenever I try to create a .zip file, I get the attached message.   I click Yes, and the system will create the .zip archive, but the message still shows up each time.   The file association shows that “Compressed (zipped) Folders” is associated to .zip files, so I don’t know what the issue is.


Text of the error message: (Windows XP)
For Compressed (zipped) Folders to handle ZIP files correctly, the application associated with them must be Compressed (zipped) Folders. Currently this is not the case.

Do you want to designate Compressed (zipped) Folders as the application for handling ZIP files?

This problem wasn’t unfamiliar to me. I had similar problems back in the days of Windows ME. However, I couldn’t remember the solution. I did vaguely recall that someone had developed a tiny freeware utility that helped fix most ZIP issues.

I did a quick web search and learned that the zipfldr.dll file wasn’t registered properly. A couple of simple commands finally fixed my friend’s problem.

Enable or Disable Compressed Folders in Windows XP

If you are running Vista or Win7, go to the end of this article.

You can enable ZIP handling by Windows Compressed Folders if you have a problem using it. You can also disable it if you’d rather use a different archive manager like 7Zip.

  • Click your Start button
  • Select Run
  • Paste one of the two following commands into the Run box
  • Press the Enter Key
  • Reboot

This command will enable the use of Compressed Folders
regsvr32 %windir%\system32\zipfldr.dll

This command will disable the use of Compressed Folders
regsvr32 /u %windir%\system32\zipfldr.dll


In my friend’s case, he told me that he had to run both commands. He disabled then enabled to get the Compressed Folders working again.

You may also want to make sure that the ZIP filetype is associated with Compressed Folders. Here’s how to do that if you don’t already know.

First, open My Computerby selecting it in your Start menu or by double clicking it on your Desktop.

Next, choose the Tools menu.


Then choose Folder Options.


Finally, use the File Types tab and scroll down until you see the entry for ZIP. As shown below, it should be associated with Compressed Folders. If it’s not, you can typically hit the Change button below and choose Compressed Folders from the list of programs that will be displayed. You must also place a check mark next to the   Always use …box before you press OK on the Change dialog.


An Easier Way to Take Control of Compressed Folders

By the way, I finally did find the little utility that gives you control over the default ZIP behavior. I had it stashed away on one of my hard drives. It’s called the Windows-XP-ZIP-Support-Control, and it looks like this.


Isn’t that sweet? As far as I know, it does everything I talked about above by simply clicking buttons. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone developed something like this for Vista or Win7?

Enable or Disable Compressed Folders in Windows Vista and Windows 7

I recommend a visit for instructions on disabling or repairing the default ZIP integration in Windows Vista or Windows 7.

Have a Zippy Day!

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Clif Sipe

Promoting Freeware and Free information since 2004. Owner of with over 2000 pages of freebies. Please subscribe to my Google Feed or follow me on Twitter @clifnotes.