Since Windows Explorer (since at least Windows XP) has some basic support for ZIP files, it seems like there should be a command-line equivalent, but I can't seem to find any sign of one.

Does Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8, 2003, 2008, 2013) ship with a built-in command-line zip tool, or do I need to stick with third-party tools?

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    I'm not entirely sure why this question is closed. This comes up frequently in the form of "How do I compress my logs?", which is definitely "Operations, maintenance, and monitoring". The question could be rephrased to be narrower, I suppose, but the solutions are general. – alficles Jul 5 '12 at 20:20
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    Not sure why this is closed as its the first hit on google for "windows 2008 zip" – AlSki Nov 27 '12 at 8:46
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    ^I feel the same way (clearly), especially considering the accepted answer. – Electrons_Ahoy Feb 25 '13 at 19:33
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    On Windows 7 you can also use compact – jyz May 13 '13 at 14:52
  • Windows built-in compress/decompress utils - stackoverflow.com/questions/28043589/… – npocmaka Jan 25 '15 at 15:32

It's not built into Windows, but it's in the Resource Kit Tools as COMPRESS,

C:\>compress /?


COMPRESS [-R] [-D] [-S] [ -Z | -ZX ] Source Destination
COMPRESS -R [-D] [-S] [ -Z | -ZX ] Source [Destination]

Compresses one or more files.

Parameter List:
-R Rename compressed files.

-D Update compressed files only if out of date.

-S Suppress copyright information.

-ZX LZX compression. This is default compression.

-Z MS-ZIP compression.

Source Source file specification. Wildcards may be

Destination Destination file | path specification.
Destination may be a directory. If Source is
multiple files and -r is not specified,
Destination must be a directory.


COMPRESS temp.txt compressed.txt
COMPRESS -R *.exe *.dll compressed_dir
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    Wrong link! Correct links is: microsoft.com/downloads/… – Lars Fastrup Aug 26 '09 at 10:07
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    Can this be used on windows server 2008, too? – Max Dec 8 '09 at 15:43
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    This is a far cry from a usable ZIP client. You cannot compress folders and there appears to be no way to add compressed files to an existing archive. Avoid. – roufamatic Jun 21 '10 at 18:21
  • Anyone else get "The compressed (Zipped) folder is invalid or corrupted" when you double-click the file compressed with this method? – Luke Sampson Jul 1 '11 at 6:15
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    Compress isn't actually a ZIP client. It creates those files that you used to find on MS-DOS and Windows 3.11/95 installation disks. e.g. WINSOCK.DL_ expands to WINSOCK.DLL. You can unpack the files using expand. – Bryan Jul 1 '11 at 15:55

Not that I'm aware of. As far as third party tools goes, 7zip has a pretty nice command line interface and the binary can be distributed with your app in the app's directory, so you don't have to rely on it being installed ahead of time.

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  • I'm a big fan of 7Zip, but the current issue is on a machine that I don't have install rights on, and there isn't a 3rd party zip widget installed. Thanks, though. – Electrons_Ahoy Jul 10 '09 at 21:50
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    Like I said, you don't have to install it. Copy the binary to a folder somewhere and run it from there. – Chris Jul 10 '09 at 22:54
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    Well, you and I don't consider that installing. The IT manager in question does, though, if you know what I mean. :) – Electrons_Ahoy Jul 11 '09 at 18:53
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    Ha, so run the 7zip binary from a remote network share :) – Brent Pabst Feb 25 '13 at 19:50

Powershell does. See:

Compress Files with Windows PowerShell then package a Windows Vista Sidebar Gadget

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  • Sweet! I figured there must also be a powershell solution. – Electrons_Ahoy Jul 11 '09 at 18:53
  • This is not a command, but a series of scripts. It works though. – cowlinator Apr 27 '19 at 0:25
  • This url is now broken. – cowlinator Apr 21 at 20:49

.Net 4.5 has this functionality built in, and it can be leveraged by PowerShell. You'll need to be on Server 2012, Windows 8, or have .Net 4.5 installed manually.

$Compression = [System.IO.Compression.CompressionLevel]::Optimal
$IncludeBaseDirectory = $false

$Source = "C:\Path\To\Source"
$Destination = "C:\CoolPowerShellZipFile.zip"

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Another solution found on superuser site use windows native com object in .bat file:

Can you zip a file from the command prompt using ONLY Windows' built-in capability to zip files?

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There is a single, simple PowerShell command for this. (PowerShell v5.0+)

To zip:

Compress-Archive -LiteralPath 'C:\mypath\testfile.txt' -DestinationPath "C:\mypath\Test.zip"

To unzip:

Expand-Archive -LiteralPath "C:\mypath\Test.Zip" -DestinationPath "C:\mypath" -Force


Special thanks to @Ramhound

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