How to unzip files on Windows 11, 10

If you have a zip file, you can use these two methods to extract the files on Windows.

Windows 11 unzip files
Windows 11 unzip files
  • To unzip files on Windows 11, open zipped folder on File Explorer, click “Extract all,” select the destination, and click “Extract.”
  • You can also select a file from the zipped file and then copy and paste it or drag it out to the new location to extract a single file.
  • Alternatively, you can open PowerShell (admin) and run the “Expand-Archive -LiteralPath PATH\TO\ZIP -DestinationPath PATH\TO\DESTINATION” command to extract files from the zipped folder.

On Windows 11, you can quickly extract the contents of a zipped folder using File Explorer or PowerShell commands without the need to resource to third-party applications, and in this guide, you will learn how.

Zip is a container format to compress information to make files smaller to save space on the hard drive. In addition, the container makes it easier to transfer files over the internet, which is why you typically find a “.zip” file when downloading applications, files, and other contents from the internet.

This guide will teach you the easy steps to unzip files on Windows 11 (or 10).

Unzip files on Windows 11

On Windows 11 and 10, you can extract files from a zip container in two ways. You can extract all or a selection of files, and the instructions below will show you how.

Extract all files from File Explorer

To unzip all the files from a zipped folder on Windows 11 (or 10), use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer on Windows 11.

  2. Browse to the folder with the “zipped” file.

  3. Right-click the file and select the Extract All option.

    File Explorer extract all option

  4. (Optional) Click the Browse button and select the folder to extract the zipped files.

  5. Click the Extract button.

    Extract zip option

Once you complete the steps, the files will unzip to the selected folder on Windows 11.

Extract a single file from File Explorer

To unzip one file from a zipped file, use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer.

  2. Browse to the folder with the “zipped” file.

  3. Double-click the zipped file to open it.

  4. Select the file(s) (“Ctrl + A” keyboard shortcut).

  5. Right-click the selection and choose the Copy option.

    File Explorer extract one file from zip

  6. Browse to the location to extract the zipped files.

  7. Right-click inside the folder and choose the Paste option.

After you complete the steps, a copy of the files will be extracted to the specified folder on Windows 11 or 10.

Unzip files on Windows 11 from PowerShell

To extract a zipped folder with commands from PowerShell on Windows 11 (or 10), use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for PowerShell, right-click the top result, and select the Run as administrator option.

  3. Type the following command to unzip files with PowerShell and press Enter:

    Expand-Archive -LiteralPath PATH\TO\ZIP -DestinationPath PATH\TO\DESTINATION

    This example extracts the zipped files to the “Downloads” folder:

    Expand-Archive -LiteralPath C:\Users\m__la\Downloads\ -DestinationPath C:\Users\m__la\Downloads

    PowerShell extract zip file

Once you complete the steps, the files will be extracted from the zip container to the specified folder.

In addition to “.zip” files, you may find other compression containers like “.tar.gz,” commonly found in Linux and macOS. If this is the case, you can also extract their contents using native commands on Windows 11.


Does Windows 11 have a zip program?

Windows 11 doesn’t have a dedicated zip program. Instead, it has a feature in File Explorer that allows you to zip and unzip files.

Why is there no Extract option on Windows 11?

The option to extract files from a zip is only available on File Explorer when selecting the compressed file or when viewing the contents inside the zip.

Why can’t I extract a zip file?

If you can’t extract the files inside the zip, it’s likely that the file is corrupted or didn’t download correctly. You can fix this by re-downloading the compressed file. If you received the file by email, you might want to request the person to re-create and re-send the file to you.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].