I was wondering if there is a possibility to add .zip file to the explorer preview pane (Windows 7 64 Bit). For example if a folder contains a .zip file i would like to see the content of the .zip file in the explorer preview pane.

I know how to add file types in the registry to be previewed as plain text as you can see in the image below. I have added a xml files to be previewed in the explorer pane a plain text.

enter image description here

But what about a .zip file. It would be nice if in the explorer preview pane i could see what files are inside the .zip file. I use 7-Zip to open my .zip files.

zip preview pane registry .zip file


4 Answers 4


You need a Preview Handler for ZIP files, and 7-Zip doesn't provide one. I don't know of any such handler except the one available via the View Data Your Way With Our Managed Preview Handler Framework article on MSDN.

Try it out; it was written for Vista (and Outlook 2007) but should work equally well on Windows 7:

The code download for this article includes a framework that makes it a snap to implement your own preview handlers, and it provides several sample previewers (including previewers for PDF, XML, ZIP, MSI, BIN, CSV, XPS, and XAML files).

  • Have you tried to install this preview handlers on windows 7 ?
    – Devid
    Feb 8, 2013 at 22:12
  • No, I haven't. Maybe you'd care to do the honours and report back whether it works for you? :)
    – Karan
    Feb 8, 2013 at 22:14
  • Ok will try it out
    – Devid
    Feb 8, 2013 at 22:21
  • I got also this: previewhandlers.codeplex.com
    – Devid
    Feb 8, 2013 at 22:39
  • Good find, although it seems the code used there is from the same article I linked to above (CodePlex is an MS site too).
    – Karan
    Feb 8, 2013 at 22:48

Windows Explorer in Windows 7 treats .zip files almost the same way it treats folders. You can select the .zip file in the folder tree in the left sidebar to see the contents of the .zip file:

See inside zip files

  • Good to know, but that is not the Windows Explorer Preview Pane. If i open a file containing a .zip file in it i would like to see what is inside on the preview pane of the explorer. For example if you have WinZip when you click on the zip file you will see a preview on the left (preview pane). I was wondering if something like that is also possible for 7-Zip. Is there a way i can add this in the registry just as i have done for .xml , .ini and .log files.
    – Devid
    Feb 8, 2013 at 16:28
  • I often find that one's question is not the same as the problem one wants to solve. I perceived your problem to be, "How do I see the contents of a .zip file in Windows Explorer without extracting the contents?" and I tried to solve that problem as easily as possible. Feb 8, 2013 at 16:34
  • Sorry i actually meant a .zip preview inside a file.
    – Devid
    Feb 8, 2013 at 16:47
  • When you say "a file containing a .zip file", do you mean a .zip file with another .zip file inside? Feb 8, 2013 at 16:49
  • No, i mean like a folder.
    – Devid
    Feb 8, 2013 at 19:19

I think PowerArchiver 2018 has what you're looking for.

It shows the file contents on the left and the image or doc text on the right.


For those hitting this from Google, the new (as of October 2018) location for the january 2007 MSDN magazine containing the article "View Data Your Way With Our Managed Preview Handler Framework" is now http://download.microsoft.com/download/3/A/7/3A7FA450-1F33-41F7-9E6D-3AA95B5A6AEA/MSDNMagazineJanuary2007en-us.chm, taken from https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-gb/magazine/mt668395

Also /q from above;

"Note: 2008 and older issues are only available as .chm files. On most versions of windows you must first save these files to your local machine, and then unblock the file in order to read it. To unblock a file, right click on it, and select properties, and then select the ‘unblock’ button. The content will then be available to read."

Within the .chm, the link to the actual .exe file still works, and is available here;


This is a simple "unpacker" and when run with Admin privileges it asks where to unpack the files to, to which I chose C:\temp.

Attempting to run the .msi installer inside the extracted folder, I hit the error "Rejected by Digital Signature Policy":

enter image description here

...and have had to give up as I'm in a managed environment.

I tried this on Windows 10, build 1803, x64 and hope it helps.

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