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So as far as I know, I should be able to access files inside zip-files by simply pointing explorer to them (as in, use them as virtual folders), for example c:\test.zip\test.txt if my test.zip contains the file test.txt.

This, however, does not work for me. Instead, I get a "The system cannot find the path specified" popup. This is somewhat weird since explorer seems to recognize the test.txt file within the archive since after adding the backslash after the zip-file, it "proposes" the file test.txt within the archive.

I've also heard that I should be able to use the files via URIs in C# applications, but in there I get a TargetInvocationException saying pretty much the same, cannot find the path specified.

So have I simply misunderstood the whole concept, am I doing something wrong or is my system just acting up?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

AFAIK, the ability to see the files inside a zip-archive are a feature of 'Explorer.exe' and not of the 'Windows File Subsystem';

So when you Open the c:\test.zip\test.txt form inside Explorer, it actually extracts the file and places it in a temp folder, and then Open 's it from that location.

In order to access the file from any other program (including your own) you first need to extract the file.

Edit: For access from C# see http://stackoverflow.com/questions/507751/extracting-files-from-a-zip-archive-programmatically-using-c-and-system-io-packa

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Doh, I was hoping I could just keep all the files inside the zip-file and not need to extract them, but it did actually sound slightly too good to be true :) –  bobblez Apr 20 '11 at 13:30
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