I recently lost the default file association for Zip files in Windows Vista (I think it happened when I uninstalled WinAce, but I can't be completely sure). How can I restore this association back to the Windows default?


7 Answers 7


Try this article from MSDN: How to restore the native Zip file integration in Windows. You only have to do this from an elevated (run as administrator) command prompt:

cmd /c assoc .zip=CompressedFolder
  • 2
    That link refers another article (windowsxp.mvps.org/zipfldr.htm) which says you may need to do the regsvr32 step from my answer first and use this association if that does not suffice.
    – nik
    Sep 4, 2009 at 7:42
  • This works in Windows 7, but doesn't seem to restore the icon
    – Casebash
    Apr 8, 2010 at 23:34
  • 4
    It restored the icon for me in Windows 7, but what was not mentioned for me is that you need to run cmd as Administrator.
    – Curyous
    Mar 24, 2011 at 21:50

The first post is the long way to perform this three step process... Here is a simple and easy way to change the file association back to Windows Explorer:

  1. Locate the file

  2. Right click the file

  3. Click properties

  4. Locate the "open with" button and click it

  5. Browse to the windows explorer to "c:\windows\explorer" and highlight the explorer file

  6. Check use as default-apply-ok

  • It doesn't get any simpler than this, worked for me!
    – Sonata
    Oct 29, 2015 at 17:25

This works for me in Windows 7:

  1. Remove

  2. cmd /c assoc .zip=CompressedFolder

End Result:


  • 1
    Worked for me as well in windows 10. Running step 2 by itself did not work. Feb 10, 2016 at 19:25
  • Can also confirm that it worked in Windows 10. I previously had PeaZip installed, but uninstalling it didn't restore default .zip file association. This worked like a charm.
    – LoneWolffe
    May 25, 2016 at 16:10

I had the same problem and this worked for me:

  • Click the Windows Orb (Start) > All Programs > Accessories and right-click Command Prompt, then "Run as Administrator".
  • Type assoc .zip=CompressedFolder and press Enter.
  • You may have to restart the computer.

The best way is to try using the Open With... context menu to set Explorer to be the default file handler.

However, if that does not work you can try the following to force Explorer to handle ZIP file. (Source for this info)

Make a .reg file with the following:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

"Content Type"="application/x-zip-compressed"






@="Compressed (zipped) Folder"






@="[FindFolder(\"%l\", %I)]"







@="Compressed (zipped) Folder Menu"



Then, in an admin command prompt type:

regsvr32 zipfldr.dll

One other suggestion I have seen is to simply go into the Default Programs editor in Control Panel and removing the association you currently have. However, this was for XP and I'm not sure that it will work for Vista. However, you may want to try this before playing around the registry.

  • Oh my -- surely there's an easier way. I already tried removing the past associations (or rather, adding some back and then removing them, since there was nothing of value there once I got to looking.)
    – Brian
    Sep 4, 2009 at 5:28

Try binding the Windows Compressed Folders Module directly,

start regsvr32 zipfldr.dll

Or, you could just install 7-zip which is free and much more powerful.


The quickest way is to get any .zip file and right click on it, go down to "Open with" and choose "Choose Default Program" or "other" then on this box, you should see "Windows Explorer" or whatever you used to use listed.

Click the button "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file" at the bottom and then double click on the program you want to use.

This should then open up ZIP files in a new default program.

If this method does not work, I can give you the manual instructions for reassigning .zip with Explorer, but this is by far the quickest.

  • No dice. Already tried to manually associate Zip files with explorer.exe, and the that sort of worked, but it didn't restore the "Extract All" context menu, or the general "treat zip files like folders" functionality.
    – Brian
    Sep 4, 2009 at 5:25

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