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Whenever I download something, I find myself frequently opening the zip and executing the contents without unzipping first. Is this bad? Could/Will this harm my computer or the files in question?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

No it's not bad and will cause no damage. But some programs might depend on other files (DLLs, perhaps) in the archive, and those programs will not execute (or may execute and report a weird error).

Pretty much you're safe to try it and see; if it doesn't work, extract the archive and try again.

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No, this will not harm the files nor the computer. What happens when you do this is that the executable file you run is automatically extracted to a temporary folder and run from there.

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If it works, then the only harm is the accumulation of unused files in your temporary directory.

As long as you remember to clean these out once in a blue moon, everything is fine.

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