I have a batch file that outputs a text file. I thought it would be nice if I could zip it up too.

This will be used in an uncontrolled environment, so I can't make assumptions about the presence of third-party software products such as 7-Zip, etc. This needs to use Windows' now-built-in capability to zip files.

  • 1
    can you utilize Powershell or WSH scripting? that might be the only way to use Windows' builtin zip handling from the commandline. otherwise, as Molly points out, you need a 3rd-party tool. Commented Feb 19, 2010 at 19:59
  • 2
    so you send someone a batch file and you can not send him some tiny statically linked gzip.exe?
    – akira
    Commented Feb 19, 2010 at 22:16
  • The OP's question is an excellent one (@quackquixote 's strange accusation notwithstanding). Since Windows does provide this as a single click under SendTo, there ought to be a command usable in a BAT file. So it's a good question even if the answer is No and one has to (ridiculously) resort to using a third-party tool that may or may not be equivalent.
    – Jon Coombs
    Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 0:33
  • This is link by Tomas has a well written script to zip contents of a folder. To make it work just copy the script into a batch file and execute it by specifying the folder to be zipped(source). No need to mention destination directory as it is defaulted in the script to Desktop ("%USERPROFILE%\Desktop")
    – Abhijeet
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 2:46
  • 4
    The simpliest would be, in a cmd prompt : powershell.exe Compress-Archive file-to-zip.txt zippedfile.zip (it works with folder too) Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 8:33

13 Answers 13


Here is an all batch file solution (a variation of my other answer) that will zip a file named c:\ue_english.txt and put it in C:\someArchive.zip:

set FILETOZIP=c:\ue_english.txt

set TEMPDIR=C:\temp738
rmdir %TEMPDIR%
mkdir %TEMPDIR%

echo Set objArgs = WScript.Arguments > _zipIt.vbs
echo InputFolder = objArgs(0) >> _zipIt.vbs
echo ZipFile = objArgs(1) >> _zipIt.vbs
echo CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject").CreateTextFile(ZipFile, True).Write "PK" ^& Chr(5) ^& Chr(6) ^& String(18, vbNullChar) >> _zipIt.vbs
echo Set objShell = CreateObject("Shell.Application") >> _zipIt.vbs
echo Set source = objShell.NameSpace(InputFolder).Items >> _zipIt.vbs
echo objShell.NameSpace(ZipFile).CopyHere(source) >> _zipIt.vbs
echo wScript.Sleep 2000 >> _zipIt.vbs

CScript  _zipIt.vbs  %TEMPDIR%  C:\someArchive.zip


Write access is required to the parent of the folder stored in TEMPDIR. As this is often not the case for the root of drive C TEMPDIR may have to be changed.

Write access is also required for the folder the .bat script is in (as it generates a file there).

Also, please note that the file extension for the compressed file must be .zip. Attempts to use another extension may result in a script error. Instead, generate the .zip file and rename it.

  • 3
    @quack I was holding out in the hope of some obscure command that I didn't know about. I can see how you might find that a difficult requirement if one doesn't exist, didn't mean to put anybody out.
    – Aaron Bush
    Commented Mar 2, 2010 at 13:56
  • @PeterMortensen: It may or may not be interesting to see how much this is simplified with Powershell. Here is a 5 line example, but there also exists a write-zip cmdlet that can be downloaded from the Pscx. Commented Nov 29, 2011 at 13:54
  • I used the zip.exe and cywin1.dll (3mb) to satisfy the ZIP and usage is one line... from the zip itself of using some batch code. I know can use a php bancompile'd with argv and pass a file to it. Sounds cool. "A zip from windows command line" is an old science fiction movie, right?
    – m3nda
    Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 6:59
  • Why do we have to use a temp folder TEMPDIR? I think your intention is to wrap the file FILETOZIP by a folder right?
    – Nam G VU
    Commented Oct 15, 2014 at 2:11
  • @Peter Mortensen, I know this is an old thread, and this is almost what I'm looking for. Is there an option to compress one big file into smaller chunks?
    – JohnG
    Commented May 18, 2016 at 16:21

Windows 10 build 17063 or later is bundled with tar.exe which is capable of working with ZIP files from the command line.

tar.exe -xf archive.zip

Or to create a ZIP archive:

tar.exe -a -cf Test.zip Test
  • 9
    Only correct with the -a option when creating. Otherwise it assumes a plain tar archive.
    – Keilaron
    Commented Jul 17, 2020 at 4:41
  • 2
    wow .. this works but is not documented anywhere as far as I can see
    – kofifus
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 5:57
  • 5
    switches are documented here: freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi?query=bsdtar&sektion=1 .. -a stands for "auto-compress" where the format is deduced from the extention
    – kofifus
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 6:06

It is possible to zip files without installation of any additional software (I have tested it). The solution is:

Run this in a command-line window to create a ZIP file named C:\someArchive.zip containing all files in folder C:\test3:

CScript  zip.vbs  C:\test3  C:\someArchive.zip

Where file zip.vbs contains:

' Get command-line arguments.
Set objArgs = WScript.Arguments
Set FS = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
InputFolder = FS.GetAbsolutePathName(objArgs(0))
ZipFile = FS.GetAbsolutePathName(objArgs(1))

' Create an empty ZIP file.
CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject").CreateTextFile(ZipFile, True).Write "PK" & Chr(5) & Chr(6) & String(18, vbNullChar)

Set objShell = CreateObject("Shell.Application")

Set source = objShell.NameSpace(InputFolder).Items


' Required to let the ZIP command execute
' If this script randomly fails or the ZIP file is not complete,
' just increase to more than 2 seconds
wScript.Sleep 2000

I haven't tested it for paths and file names containing spaces. It may work if quotes are put around the command line parameters.

How it works: the built-in zip functionality in Windows (Windows XP and later?) is exposed through COM interfaces from the Windows shell, explorer.exe - that is the "Shell.Application" part. This COM interface can be used from a VBScript script because such a script can access COM components. To make the script fully self-contained it creates an empty ZIP file to get started (one could also create an empty ZIP file and copy it to the target system along with the VBScript script).

VBScript has been installed by default in every desktop release of Microsoft Windows since Windows 98.

CScript.exe is part of Windows Script Host. Windows Script Host is distributed and installed by default on Windows 98 and later versions of Windows. It is also installed if Internet Explorer 5 (or a later version) is installed.

  • 1
    +1 Good solution that will "Just Run", but I choose BAT for several other reasons not listed. So I would prefer a BAT solution.
    – Aaron Bush
    Commented Feb 22, 2010 at 13:30
  • 4
    @Aaron Bush: this script and Beaner's both provide a command that zips a file on the commandline, using windows builtin functions, as requested. you can add that command to a batchfile like any other. Commented Feb 22, 2010 at 23:24
  • Note that the paths passed in have to be absolute, not relative. I had to also use the techniques in the answer here: stackoverflow.com/q/1645843/99640 Commented Jun 27, 2012 at 21:08
  • Paths have to be absolute and it seems to randomly fail :(
    – adamkonrad
    Commented Feb 13, 2014 at 20:33
  • This should be selected as the answer. Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 17:48

If you are open to using PowerShell, zip capabilities are available in .NET 2.0 (PowerShell is .NET). Here's an a example (source) credit to Mike Hodnick:

# out-zip.ps1
# Usage:
#    To zip up some files:
#       ls c:\source\*.txt | out-zip c:\target\archive.zip $_
#    To zip up a folder:
#       gi c:\source | out-zip c:\target\archive.zip $_

$path = $args[0]
$files = $input

if (-not $path.EndsWith('.zip')) {$path += '.zip'} 

if (-not (test-path $path)) { 
  set-content $path ("PK" + [char]5 + [char]6 + ("$([char]0)" * 18)) 

$ZipFile = (new-object -com shell.application).NameSpace($path) 
$files | foreach {$zipfile.CopyHere($_.fullname)}
  • This is basically the same thing as the CScript code in other answers. No .NET features are used (and .NET doesn't have ZIP support anyway). I suspect this might also be sensitive to the timing issue. Commented Feb 25, 2014 at 8:14
  • 3
    The .NET System.IO.Compression.ZipFile class was added in version 4.5 . Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 8:00

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

To zip:

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

To unzip:

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


Special thanks to @Ramhound.

  • Please do not post the same answer to multiple questions. If the same information really answers both questions, then one question (usually the newer one) should be closed as a duplicate of the other. You can indicate this by voting to close it as a duplicate or, if you don't have enough reputation for that, raise a flag to indicate that it's a duplicate. Otherwise tailor your answer to this question and don't just paste the same answer in multiple places.
    – DavidPostill
    Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 21:49
  • Who is "@Ramhound"? Can you provide a link? Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 11:36
  • They are a stack exchange user, somewhere. I don't have a link.
    – cowlinator
    Commented Jun 10, 2020 at 0:07

You can eliminate the risk of timing out during compression by polling for existence of the compression dialog window. This method also handles the user cancelling out of the compression window.


' Wait for compression window to open
set scriptShell = CreateObject("Wscript.Shell")
Do While scriptShell.AppActivate("Compressing...") = FALSE   
   WScript.Sleep 500 ' Arbitrary polling delay

' Wait for compression to complete before exiting script
Do While scriptShell.AppActivate("Compressing...") = TRUE   
   WScript.Sleep 500 ' Arbitrary polling delay
  • 1
    +1. Those code monkey-style ".Sleep(whatever)" make me sick. Commented Jun 25, 2013 at 14:30
  • 2
    If I am running a vbs with the above logic for waiting, how will this be handled if being launched via a scheduled task (where no user is physically logged in.)
    – Wes
    Commented Jun 27, 2013 at 22:05

If you are able to install the Resource Kit Tools, you will find a command line tool called COMPRESS that can create compressed archive files like zip.

Microsoft (R) File Compression Utility  Version 5.00.2134.1
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corp. 1990-1999.  All rights reserved.

Compresses one or more files.

COMPRESS [-r] [-d] [-z] Source Destination
COMPRESS -r [-d] [-z] Source [Destination]

  -r            Rename compressed files.
  -d            Update compressed files only if out of date.
  -zx           LZX compression.
  -z            MS-ZIP compression.
  -zq[n]        Quantum compression and optional level
                (in range 1-7, default is 4).
  Source        Source file specification.  Wildcards may be used.
  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.
  • 4
    +1 Doesn't really solve things, but still good to know about.
    – Aaron Bush
    Commented Feb 22, 2010 at 13:28
'Keep script waiting until compression is done
Do Until objShell.NameSpace( ZipFile ).Items.Count = objShell.NameSpace( InputFolder ).Items.Count
    WScript.Sleep 200
  • exactly what i was looking for.. but it does give me an error "missing on empty Zip file"
    – Sonic Soul
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 21:25
  • For some reason this never increments, if I print objShell.NameSpace( ZipFile ).Items.Count inside the loop, it's always 0 even though the zip file is created and it has the expected contents inside... Commented Apr 27, 2015 at 20:20

If on Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 you'll have PowerShell and .NET 4.5, so you can do this:

zip.ps1 (usage: -directory <directory to zip up> -name <zip name>):

param (

Add-Type -Assembly System.IO.Compression.FileSystem
[System.IO.Compression.ZipFile]::CreateFromDirectory($directory, $name, [System.IO.Compression.CompressionLevel]::Optimal, $false)

zip.bat (if you need a helper to call PowerShell for you, the directory is first argument and the ZIP name second):

@Echo Off
powershell -ExecutionPolicy ByPass -Command "& '%~dpn0.ps1' -directory '%1' -name '%2'"

Multiple files / directories with simplified code.

cscript zip.vbs target.zip sourceFile1 sourceDir2 ... sourceObjN

zip.vbs file

Set objArgs = WScript.Arguments
ZipFile = objArgs(0)

' Create empty ZIP file and open for adding
CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject").CreateTextFile(ZipFile, True).Write "PK" & Chr(5) & Chr(6) & String(18, vbNullChar)
Set zip = CreateObject("Shell.Application").NameSpace(ZipFile)

' Add all files/directories to the .zip file
For i = 1 To objArgs.count-1
  WScript.Sleep 10000 'REQUIRED!! (Depending on file/dir size)

This is a mutation of the accepted answer. I do a ton of automation tasks on up to thousands of files at a time, so I can't just sleep for 2 seconds and not care about it. I gleaned the workaround here, which is also similar to Jiří Kočara's answer here.

This will cause the destination folder to be pinged every 200 ms, which is approximately as fast as Microsoft says to check for file system updates.

Set parameters = WScript.Arguments
Set FS = CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject")
SourceDir = FS.GetAbsolutePathName(parameters(0))
ZipFile = FS.GetAbsolutePathName(parameters(1))
CreateObject("Scripting.FileSystemObject").CreateTextFile(ZipFile, True).Write "PK" & Chr(5) & Chr(6) & String(18, vbNullChar)
Set shell = CreateObject("Shell.Application")
Set source_objects = shell.NameSpace(SourceDir).Items
Set ZipDest = shell.NameSpace(ZipFile)
Do While Count = ZipDest.Items().Count
    wScript.Sleep 200

Here's my attempt to summarize built-in capabilities in 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 one as it allows a hybrid batch/JScript file (with .bat extension) that does not require temporary files. I've put unzip and zip capabilities in one file plus a few more features.


The Windows command line now provides the COMPACT command which, as far as I can tell, is native to Windows. That should meet the requirements requested unless I missed something.

  • 11
    compact existed since XP and is a tool to manage NTFS compression Commented May 31, 2013 at 20:06
  • @user228211 your answer is excellent fit for this question "use windows built-in zip capability". It should be one of the top answers due to simplicity and direct match to questions. Not sure why people are downvoting????
    – LMSingh
    Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 22:31
  • @LMSingh - it's downvoted because a zip file is a container. It's an archive file format that holds one or more files or directories that may have been compressed. The COMPACT command does not create a zip archive. It's a utility to set or alter the compression of files on the NTFS partition itself.
    – Tony
    Commented Apr 7 at 20:35

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