Windows XP has built-in ZIP support to unzip or uncompressing ZIP archives or files, and also to allow users to compress or zip files and folders as a zip package or Compressed Folder. Beside, in Windows Explorer folder tree, the Compressed Folder which is actually a zip file is treated as directory and displayed as a folder too, thus the folder tree contains both sub-folder and the compressed zip files, albeit with different icon.

Users who do not want to see any compressed or zipped files as folders in folder tree as like in older 1990s era Windows operating system, or those who wish to use their favorite third-party compression utility such as WinZIP or WinRAR but want to ensure that there is no interference or conflict, it’s possible to turn off and disable built-in ZIP support or Compressed Folder feature in Windows XP.

To disable and turn off Compressed Folder feature and built-in ZIP support in Windows XP, open a Command Prompt window by typing Cmd into Run command box in Start Menu, follow by “Enter” key, and then type the following command and hit “Enter” key in the Command Prompt window shell:

regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll

But running command above, which is already been described in tip to disable ZIP support in Windows XP and Me, is not all of the story. The zipped files no longer listed as folders in Windows Explorer folder tree when expanded, but sometimes the change and settings gets reverted and everything backs to ZIP support DLL enabled again, especially when users double click on any .ZIP file. To avoid this problem, and ensure that ZIP and Compressed Folder support is totally and permanently disabled in XP, continue with the steps below after running unregistration command above.

  1. Run Registry Editor (RegEdit.exe in Run command), and search for Zipfldr.dll in the registry. Delete all instances of Zipfldr.dll found. There should be only one instance of it after unregistering.
  2. Reboot the computer system to unload the DLL from memory, in case it still persists.
  3. Delete or rename Zipfldr.dll file from \Windows\System32\DLLCache\ folder.
  4. Delete or rename Zipfldr.dll file from \Windows\System32\ folder. When prompted by WFP (Windows File Protection) saying that system stability may be affected, answer “No” or click “OK” on the dialog window pop up.
  5. Install your favorite ZIP program or other file archiver and compressor that support ZIP compression format such as WinZIP, 7-Zip (free), WinRAR and PowerArchiver, and ensure that .ZIP extension is associated with the program.