How To Compress and ZIP Files on Your Windows 11 Operating System


Compressing files on your Windows 11 operating system allows you to reduce file sizes so they take up less storage space. It also makes transferring files faster and more convenient. The most common compression format on Windows is the ZIP file format.

When you compress files into a ZIP file, it bundles multiple files and folders into one archive file while reducing the overall size. You can then easily share or transfer that one ZIP file instead of many separate files.

Compressing files can save storage space and bandwidth for both personal and business use cases. In this guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about compressing files on Windows 11 using built-in tools.

Advantages of Compressing Files

Here are some of the main benefits of compressing your files:

  • Save disk space – Compressing reduces file sizes so you can store more files using less disk space. This helps avoid needing to buy additional storage.
  • Faster file transfers – Smaller compressed files transfer faster across networks and the internet. This saves bandwidth and time when sharing files.
  • Better organization – You can compress multiple related files into one easy-to-manage archive. This helps keep things organized.
  • More security – Encrypted ZIP files keep your data more secure if files need to be shared digitally.
  • Backups require less space – Compressed backup files take up less drive space. This enables more versions to be kept.

How to Compress Files on Windows 11

Windows 11 includes built-in compression tools for creating and managing ZIP files. Here are the steps to compress files:

1. Select Files to Compress

Open File Explorer and browse to the files you want to compress. You can select one file, multiple files, one folder, or multiple folders.

2. Right-click > Send to > Compressed (zipped) folder

This will create a new ZIP archive containing your selected files.

3. Rename ZIP File (Optional)

The ZIP file will be automatically named after the first file or folder you selected. You can right-click it and choose Rename to change the name if desired.

And that’s all there is to it! The files are now compressed and bundled together in the new ZIP archive.

Tips for Effective File Compression

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of file and folder compression on Windows:

  • Analyze what’s taking up excess space on your drives and target large files or file types for compression. Videos, photos, and audio files are good candidates.
  • Avoid compressing files like JPEGs and MP3s that use their own compression schemes already. Double compression will not reduce their size.
  • When archiving data for long-term storage, use a lossless compression scheme instead of lossy compression that removes data.
  • Split very large ZIP files across multiple smaller archives if needed for easier transfer or reliability.
  • Encrypt sensitive ZIP archives to add an extra layer of security when transferring or storing archived data.

Alternative Compression Tools

Windows 11 provides basic ZIP file functionality for compression. But if you need more advanced capabilities, consider using third-party compression software:

  • 7-Zip – Open source tool providing high compression ratios. Supports many formats.
  • WinRAR – Powerful compression and archiving solution with encryption options.
  • PeaZip – Free compression app focused on security and privacy.
  • Bandizip – Lightweight and easy to use application for fast compression.

These tools give you more control over compression levels, multiple file formats, backups, encryption, and other options compared to the built-in Windows tools.


Compressing your files into ZIP archives on Windows 11 saves space while making data easier to organize, transfer, and backup. Make sure to compress less essential data first and analyze storage usage to identify problem areas.

Use the built-in Send To > Compressed (Zipped) Folder menu option to easily create ZIP file archives. And consider third-party tools like 7-Zip or WinRAR if you need more advanced functionality.

Compressing your files effectively helps avoid unnecessary costs for additional storage as data volumes increase over time. And you’ll get faster transfer speeds when sharing files across devices or over the internet.