How to zip (compress) files and folders on Windows 11, 10

Windows 11 has an easy tool to compress files into a zip container, and here's how.

Windows 11 zip files
  • To zip (compress) files and folders on Windows 11, open the location of the files on File Explorer, select and right-click the contents, and select the “Compress to ZIP file” option to create the zip.
  • Another way to zip files is on File Explorer, choose the “Compressed (zipped) Folder” option from the New menu and then drag and drop files inside the zipped file.

Windows 11 (and 10) has a “zip” feature built into File Explorer to compress files rather than a standalone application, and in this guide, you will learn how to use it to zip files to compress them quickly or gather a bunch of files to send them other the internet. In addition to the File Explorer zip feature, you can also compress files using PowerShell commands. 

However, these file compression features are very limited to what other applications may offer. For instance, you can’t control the compression ratio, add password protection, or choose the encryption method.

This guide will teach you the steps to create a zip file to compress content on Windows 11 or 10.

Zip files on Windows 11 from File Explorer

To zip files and folders on Windows 11 (or 10), use these steps:

  1. Open File Explorer on Windows 11.

  2. Browse to the folder with the files to include in the zip (compressed) file.

  3. Select the files (and folders).

  4. Right-click the selection and select the “Compress to ZIP” file option.

    Create zip file from context menu

  5. Confirm a name for the zip file and press Enter.

Once you complete the steps, the compressed zipped file will be created on Windows 11. (You can also refer to these instructions on Windows 10.)

You can add any type of file, including documents, pictures, music, executables, and other already “.zip” compressed files. If the file has already been compressed, the size will not change inside the new zipped file.

Although File Explorer may look a little different on Windows 11, the instructions will also work on Windows 10.

Create zip before adding files

Alternatively, you can always first create the zip file and then drag and drop the files into the container to compress them. Here’s how:

  1. Open File Explorer.

  2. Click the New menu and select the “Compressed (zipped) Folder” option.

    Create zip file in File Explorer

  3. Confirm a name for the zip file and press Enter.

After completing the steps, you can drag and drop files inside the zipped file. Or you can copy the files, open the zip file, and paste the contents.

Zip files on Windows 11 from PowerShell

To compress files into a zip file with PowerShell commands, 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 zip files with PowerShell and press Enter:

    Compress-Archive -Path C:\SOURCE\PATH\TO\YOUR\FILES\* -CompressionLevel Optimal -DestinationPath C:\DESTINATION\PATH\ZIPPEDFILE.zip

    PowerShell zip files on Windows 11

    In the command change the source and destination with your specific paths. The wildcard “*” tells the command to compress all the contents of the source folder.

  4. (Optional) Type the following command to compress more files and press Enter:

    Compress-Archive -Path C:\SOURCE\PATH\TO\YOUR\FILES -Update -DestinationPath C:\DESTINATION\PATH\ZIPPEDFILE.zip

    In the command change the source and destination with your specific paths.

Once you complete the steps, the files will compress and a zipped file will be created in the location you specified.