Workaround for the Extremely Slow Unzip Feature in Vista

Vista has an inherent compression/decompression utility that lets you unzip/zip files from/to an archive. Windows XP too has a similar utility – however the one in Vista really takes a long time to uncompress files from archives. Selecting the “Extract All”/“Extract Files” in the contextual properties menu of an archive shows an unnaturally long ‘time remaining’ – in the order of hours – for files only a few MB in size. At times, the decompression rate of the zipped files can become as low as a couple of bytes/second.

Besides this, there are also a few other errors in the decompression utility. For instance, it sometimes reports that certain files/folders could not be written/replaced, or sometimes empty folders might be created, and so on. Although, Microsoft has not released any hotfix/update for this issue yet, an update that will take care of the compression/decompression issues is expected to be out quite soon.

Meanwhile, here is a list of workarounds to resolve the extremely slow decompression / unzipping of archives in Vista.

Unblocking ZIP Files

In Vista, all zip archives downloaded using the Microsoft Internet Explorer are blocked for security purposes. If you want to unzip the downloaded files, then you have to first unblock them with the following steps:

  1. Right-click on the zip file, and select Properties.
  2. In the General tab, towards the bottom, click on the Unblock button.
  3. Press OK.

Disabling Protection/monitoring Programs

Although most of the time, this is not the real cause for your decompression utility to slow down, user have reported that turning off a resident program that is constantly monitoring the processes that are running speeds up decompression. These programs include antivirus suites, and spyware/malware detection programs. One example is Windows Live OneCare. If it is installed in your PC, try uninstalling it first and then unzipping the file you are having a problem with.

Using Third-Party Archiving Software

All third-party file archiving softwares work fine in Vista – it is only the inbuilt compression/decompression utility that has problems. Hence, it is a good idea to get yourself a good archiving software that is compatible with Vista and is fast. Some utilities you can consider are 7-Zip, WinRAR, and PowerArchiver.

PS: Winrar is my Favorite!

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