Using a management program such as Winzip of Zipmagic to deal with compressed files and folders may affect the relevant menus on your PC
Q I’ve had my Windows 7 computer for a couple of years. Sometimes I use this to follow the guides published in your Step by step section. Generally I get on fine with these but at some point I have found it impossible to complete the ones where you tell us to download ZIP files.
I can download the ZIP files easily enough but when I right-click to choose Extract All (as you instruct) I just can’t find that option. I’m sure it used to be there but it doesn’t seem to matter which ZIP file I right-click, the Extract All option seems to be unavailable (it’s not greyed out or anything – it’s just not there). What am I doing wrong?
A We don’t think you are doing anything wrong. The Extract All option can indeed disappear from Windows’ context (right-click) menu. There are a few reasons this may have happened, though a common cause is installing a dedicated ZIP-management program, such as Winzip or Zipmagic. We have covered both these products in the Step by step section in the past, so you might have installed one or both at some point.
Read more: Step by step guides
The trouble is that when these programs are uninstalled they may not restore the necessary file associates that allow Windows to be the default ZIP-management tool (the operating system can open and create ZIP files without help from additional programs). And, crucially, in this instance they may not place the Extract All option back on to Windows’ context menus. Fortunately, both these issues are readily fixed.
First, launch Windows Explorer (hold down the Windows key and tap E) and use it to find a ZIP file that you have downloaded. Right-click the file, click ‘Open with’ and elect ‘Choose default program’. In the ‘Open with dialogue box’ menu, click to select Windows Explorer from the Recommended Programs, ensure that the ‘Always use the selected program to open this kind of file’ box is ticked and click OK. Now return to Windows Explorer and right-click the ZIP file to see if the Extract All option is returned.
If it isn’t there, Microsoft suggests a couple of alternative solutions. The first involves a backdoor Registry tweak, so you should back up the Registry first – see Microsoft’s guide to doing this. Now click Start followed by run, type cmd into the Open box and press Enter. Then, at the command prompt, type regsvr32 /u /s zipfldr.dll and press Enter.
Now type regsvr32 /i /s zipfldr.dll and press Enter. Keep the Command window open for now, return to Windows Explorer and right-click on a ZIP file to see if Extract All has returned to the context menu. If not, return to the Command window, type sfc /scannow, press Enter and sit back for a while. Windows will now scan its system files to fix any faults it finds, which should correct the problem if all else has failed.
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