If you have a lot of files, perhaps with a complicated folder structure, and wish to transfer them between computers, it can be quite inconvenient to manually try and copy each file over, and then manually try and recreate the same folder structure. Not only would such a process be time consuming, it would also be error-prone: you are highly like to make a mistake, such as accidentally missing out one or more files, creating the incorrect folder-structure, etc.
The most widely used solution to this problem is ZIP files. Basically the idea of a ZIP file, is that the ZIP file acts as container for storing other files and folders. The original file and folder names, as well as the original folder structure is all stored within the ZIP file.
Here is how the process works:
A couple of other important features of ZIP files that are worth mentioning are compression and password protection. Compression means that a ZIP file can often end-up being smaller than the sum total of all the individual files and folders it contains - this is of course helpful in terms of saving storage space, network bandwidth, and reducing download times. Password protection allows the creator of a ZIP to lock the file with a password, so that it can only be unpacked if the recipient enters the correct password.
You should therefore hopefully be able to see that ZIP files thus provide an easy, simple, and reliable method for transferring large amounts of files between computers, especially on the internet. It should therefore be no surprise that many downloadable products, such as software and eBooks, included many items listed in this directory, are delivered as ZIP files.
For more detailed and specific information on how to unpack ZIP files, please see these articles:
eBooks & Software Downloads
Open ZIP Files on Macintosh
Open ZIP Files on Windows
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