How do I zip or compress files in Windows?

1. Zipping files with Windows 10

Zipping files is an easy way to compress them for storage or sharing. On Windows 10, you can use native tools to zip files and also customize their compression level. This article will guide you through how to do just that.

a. Compress files using File Explorer
The easiest way to zip files on Windows 10 is by using File Explorer.

i. Open the folder that contains your files.
ii. Select the files that you want to zip by holding `Ctrl` and left-clicking on each one.
iii. Right-click on one of the selected files and click “Send to” then “Compressed (zipped) folder”.

A new zip file will appear in the same folder with the same name as the first file that you selected, but with a “.zip” extension.

b. Compress files using the command line
You can also use the command line to create a zip file.

i. Open the command prompt by typing `cmd` into the search bar.
ii. Change directory to the folder that contains your files by using the `cd` command.
iii. To zip individual files, type the following command, replacing `filename` with the name of the file:

“`zip filename“`

To zip multiple files, type the following command, replacing `filename1`, `filename2`, etc. with the names of the files you want to compress:

“`zip filename1 filename2 filename3“`

iv. When creating a zip file, you can add a password for additional security. To do so, use the `-p` switch followed by the password that you want to encrypt the file with. For example:

“`zip -p password filename1 filename2 filename3“`

v. You can also add arguments to specify the compression level. The following options are available:

• `-m`: used to set the compression method. It supports five methods: Deflate, BZip2, LZMA, PPMd, and WavPack.
• `-X`: used to set the compression level. It supports levels 0 to 9, where 0 is no compression and 9 is maximum compression.
• `-mm`: used to set the memory level. It supports two values, low (16 MB) and high (256 MB).

For example, to zip files with medium compression (level 6) and high memory (256 MB), you should use the command below:

“`zip -X 6 -m -mm=high filename1 filename2 filename3“`

c. Compress files using third-party tools
In addition to the native Windows tools, you can also use third-party software to zip files. Popular file compression utilities like 7-Zip and WinZip offer additional features like encryption, splitting files into multiple archives and more.

i. Download and install the software of your choice.
ii. Open the program and locate the folder that contains the files that you want to compress.
iii. Select the files and click the “Add” button.
iv. Set the name of the archive, the compression method and level, and any other options that you need.
v. Click “OK” to create the archive.

2. Compressing files larger than 4GB
By default, the NTFS file system used by Windows 10 is limited to files with a maximum size of 4GB. If you try to compress files larger than 4GB, Windows will not allow you to create the archive.

You can, however, compress files larger than 4GB by changing the file system you’re using from NTFS to ReFS. ReFS is more efficient and supports larger file sizes. To do this, you’ll need to use Disk Management.

i. Press the Windows key + R to open the Run window.
ii. Type `diskmgmt.msc` and press Enter to open Disk Management.
iii. In the Disk Management window, right-click on the disk you want to convert, and select “Convert to ReFS”.
iv. Confirm the conversion.

Once the disk has been converted to ReFS, you can create archives larger than 4GB by using the steps described above.

3. Compressing large numbers of files
When working with large numbers of files and folders, you may find that it takes too long to compress them all separately. In this case, you can use WinRAR to compress multiple folders into one single archive.

i. Download and install WinRAR.
ii. Launch WinRAR and go to the folder containing the files and folders you want to compress.
iii. Select all the items you want to compress by pressing `Ctrl` + A.
iv. Right-click on one of the items and select “Add to archive”.
v. Type in the name of the archive and click the “Add” button.
vi. Select the drop-down next to “Compression method” and choose the one that best fits your needs.
vii. Change the “Split to volumes” option if you want to create archives of a certain size (e.g. 100MB).
viii. Click “OK” to start compressing.

Note that this method will not let you customize the compression level. However, it is much faster than compressing files and folders separately.

4. Compressing files for email
If you need to attach files to an email, you should always try to zip them before sending. When sending emails, there is a size limit for attachments and compressing your files can help you stay within the limit.

To compress files for email, follow the steps described in the previous sections. However, make sure to select a compression method that is compatible with the recipient’s email client. Generally speaking, your best bet is ZIP since it’s natively supported by most email clients.