Can Windows' built-in ZIP compression be scripted?


Is the ZIP compression that is built into Windows XP/Vista/2003/2008 able to be scripted at all? What executable would I have to call from a BAT/CMD file? or is it possible to do it with VBScript?

I realize that this is possible using WinZip, 7-Zip and other external applications, but I'm looking for something that requires no external applications to be installed.

This question is tagged with windows vbscript batch-file zip scripting

~ Asked on 2008-08-27 14:06:52

6 Answers


There are VBA methods to zip and unzip using the windows built in compression as well, which should give some insight as to how the system operates. You may be able to build these methods into a scripting language of your choice.

The basic principle is that within windows you can treat a zip file as a directory, and copy into and out of it. So to create a new zip file, you simply make a file with the extension .zip that has the right header for an empty zip file. Then you close it, and tell windows you want to copy files into it as though it were another directory.

Unzipping is easier - just treat it as a directory.

In case the web pages are lost again, here are a few of the relevant code snippets:


Sub NewZip(sPath)
'Create empty Zip File
'Changed by keepITcool Dec-12-2005
    If Len(Dir(sPath)) > 0 Then Kill sPath
    Open sPath For Output As #1
    Print #1, Chr$(80) & Chr$(75) & Chr$(5) & Chr$(6) & String(18, 0)
    Close #1
End Sub

Function bIsBookOpen(ByRef szBookName As String) As Boolean
' Rob Bovey
    On Error Resume Next
    bIsBookOpen = Not (Application.Workbooks(szBookName) Is Nothing)
End Function

Function Split97(sStr As Variant, sdelim As String) As Variant
'Tom Ogilvy
    Split97 = Evaluate("{""" & _
                       Application.Substitute(sStr, sdelim, """,""") & """}")
End Function

Sub Zip_File_Or_Files()
    Dim strDate As String, DefPath As String, sFName As String
    Dim oApp As Object, iCtr As Long, I As Integer
    Dim FName, vArr, FileNameZip

    DefPath = Application.DefaultFilePath
    If Right(DefPath, 1) <> "\" Then
        DefPath = DefPath & "\"
    End If

    strDate = Format(Now, " dd-mmm-yy h-mm-ss")
    FileNameZip = DefPath & "MyFilesZip " & strDate & ".zip"

    'Browse to the file(s), use the Ctrl key to select more files
    FName = Application.GetOpenFilename(filefilter:="Excel Files (*.xl*), *.xl*", _
                    MultiSelect:=True, Title:="Select the files you want to zip")
    If IsArray(FName) = False Then
        'do nothing
        'Create empty Zip File
        NewZip (FileNameZip)
        Set oApp = CreateObject("Shell.Application")
        I = 0
        For iCtr = LBound(FName) To UBound(FName)
            vArr = Split97(FName(iCtr), "\")
            sFName = vArr(UBound(vArr))
            If bIsBookOpen(sFName) Then
                MsgBox "You can't zip a file that is open!" & vbLf & _
                       "Please close it and try again: " & FName(iCtr)
                'Copy the file to the compressed folder
                I = I + 1
                oApp.Namespace(FileNameZip).CopyHere FName(iCtr)

                'Keep script waiting until Compressing is done
                On Error Resume Next
                Do Until oApp.Namespace(FileNameZip).items.Count = I
                    Application.Wait (Now + TimeValue("0:00:01"))
                On Error GoTo 0
            End If
        Next iCtr

        MsgBox "You find the zipfile here: " & FileNameZip
    End If
End Sub


Sub Unzip1()
    Dim FSO As Object
    Dim oApp As Object
    Dim Fname As Variant
    Dim FileNameFolder As Variant
    Dim DefPath As String
    Dim strDate As String

    Fname = Application.GetOpenFilename(filefilter:="Zip Files (*.zip), *.zip", _
    If Fname = False Then
        'Do nothing
        'Root folder for the new folder.
        'You can also use DefPath = "C:\Users\Ron\test\"
        DefPath = Application.DefaultFilePath
        If Right(DefPath, 1) <> "\" Then
            DefPath = DefPath & "\"
        End If

        'Create the folder name
        strDate = Format(Now, " dd-mm-yy h-mm-ss")
        FileNameFolder = DefPath & "MyUnzipFolder " & strDate & "\"

        'Make the normal folder in DefPath
        MkDir FileNameFolder

        'Extract the files into the newly created folder
        Set oApp = CreateObject("Shell.Application")

        oApp.Namespace(FileNameFolder).CopyHere oApp.Namespace(Fname).items

        'If you want to extract only one file you can use this:
        'oApp.Namespace(FileNameFolder).CopyHere _

        MsgBox "You find the files here: " & FileNameFolder

        On Error Resume Next
        Set FSO = CreateObject("scripting.filesystemobject")
        FSO.deletefolder Environ("Temp") & "\Temporary Directory*", True
    End If
End Sub

~ Answered on 2008-08-27 15:38:14


Yes, this can be scripted with VBScript. For example the following code can create a zip from a directory:

Dim fso, winShell, MyTarget, MySource, file
Set fso = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
Set winShell = createObject("shell.application")

MyTarget = Wscript.Arguments.Item(0)
MySource = Wscript.Arguments.Item(1)

Wscript.Echo "Adding " & MySource & " to " & MyTarget

'create a new clean zip archive
Set file = fso.CreateTextFile(MyTarget, True)
file.write("PK" & chr(5) & chr(6) & string(18,chr(0)))

winShell.NameSpace(MyTarget).CopyHere winShell.NameSpace(MySource).Items

do until winShell.namespace(MyTarget).items.count = winShell.namespace(MySource).items.count
    wscript.sleep 1000 

Set winShell = Nothing
Set fso = Nothing

You may also find helpful as it includes a full Unzip/Zip implementation in VBScript.

If you do a size check every 500 ms rather than a item count it works better for large files. Win 7 writes the file instantly although it's not finished compressing:

set fso=createobject("scripting.filesystemobject")
Set h=fso.getFile(DestZip)
    wscript.sleep 500
    max = h.size
loop while h.size > max 

Works great for huge amounts of log files.

~ Answered on 2008-09-24 00:46:44


Just for clarity: GZip is not an MS-only algorithm as suggested by Guy Starbuck in his comment from August. The GZipStream in System.IO.Compression uses the Deflate algorithm, just the same as the zlib library, and many other zip tools. That class is fully interoperable with unix utilities like gzip.

The GZipStream class is not scriptable from the commandline or VBScript, to produce ZIP files, so it alone would not be an answer the original poster's request.

The free DotNetZip library does read and produce zip files, and can be scripted from VBScript or Powershell. It also includes command-line tools to produce and read/extract zip files.

Here's some code for VBScript:

dim filename 
filename = "C:\temp\"

WScript.echo("Instantiating a ZipFile object...")
dim zip 
set zip = CreateObject("Ionic.Zip.ZipFile")

WScript.echo("using AES256 encryption...")
zip.Encryption = 3

WScript.echo("setting the password...")
zip.Password = "Very.Secret.Password!"

WScript.echo("adding a selection of files...")

WScript.echo("setting the save name...")
zip.Name = filename




Here's some code for Powershell:


$directoryToZip = "c:\\temp";
$zipfile =  new-object Ionic.Zip.ZipFile;
$e= $zipfile.AddEntry("Readme.txt", "This is a zipfile created from within powershell.")
$e= $zipfile.AddDirectory($directoryToZip, "home")

In a .bat or .cmd file, you can use the zipit.exe or unzip.exe tools. Eg:

zipit  -s "This is string content for an entry"  Readme.txt  src 

~ Answered on 2009-01-04 04:36:59


Here'a my attempt to summarize built-in capabilities windows for compression and uncompression - How can I compress (/ zip ) and uncompress (/ unzip ) files and folders with batch file without using any external tools?

with a few given solutions that should work on almost every windows machine.

As regards to the shell.application and WSH I preferred the jscript as it allows a hybrid batch/jscript file (with .bat extension) that not require temp files.I've put unzip and zip capabilities in one file plus a few more features.

~ Answered on 2015-01-22 12:31:25


There are both zip and unzip executables (as well as a boat load of other useful applications) in the UnxUtils package available on SourceForge ( Copy them to a location in your PATH, such as 'c:\windows', and you will be able to include them in your scripts.

This is not the perfect solution (or the one you asked for) but a decent work-a-round.

~ Answered on 2008-08-27 14:58:23


to create a compressed archive you can use the utility MAKECAB.EXE

~ Answered on 2013-02-26 13:59:58

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