What is a zip file?

    What is a zip file?

    Any file you see ending with a ".ZIP" extension means that the file was compressed. It will not be readable until you run another program over it to convert the file back into a ".TXT" file or an .EXE file or whatever other extension it might have.

    By compressing a file, time is saved downloading it (thus costing you less money) and it takes up less memory on our servers (meaning more files can be uploaded). In other words, it benefits everybody. Before you use a compressed file, you need to do one of two things: First, IF you are on America Online, set your AOL program to automatically decompress a file when you log off. To do this, click on the word "Settings" at the top of your screen. Then click on the word "Preferences," then a button titled "Download." You should now see an option to automatically decompress ZIP files when you sign off. To use this feature, be sure to blacken or put a mark in the box. Now, the next time you download and after you log offline, the file will be converted to a text file that you can read or a program file that you can run. This will work with all the surname archives and many older programs. Be aware that, when the file is unzipped, it is copied and put in a newly-created directory folder. You must use the new copy that will probably have a .TXT extension in the file name and not the old, original zipped copy.

    Once you have decompressed or converted the file, you should have no trouble reading it. Remember that it will most likely be a plain text file and you may need to read your word processor's manual for instructions on how to load in a "text" file (sometimes referrred to as an ASCII text file). The file you download could also be a program file (.EXE) or a GEDCOM file (.ged). Whatever it will turn out to be, after you have decompressed or unzipped a file, do not use the file that ends with the extension of .ZIP anymore, but look for a new file in the new directory which was written.

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