Oct 192009

When you’re using an “external” tool for handling ZIP archive file (and the likes), it can be really annoying when you double-click on such a file in Windows Explorer (or other file browsers) and Windows treats the file as a compressed folder and doesn’t start the external application even though file associations are correctly set.

Some tuning tools like XP-Antispy are able to disable the functionality of compressed folders, however it didn’t work for me on Vista the last time I tried.
After a while of research I found the solution how to edit the registry, so that double-clicking associated files will truly be opened with the external application:

Deleting the following two registry keys and restarting Windows will disable compressed folders (or “Komprimierte Ordner” as they are called in the German Windows):



I found the solution here, where you will find .reg files for automated removal (and adding the keys back to the registry).

After you reboot, compressed folders should be turned off.

Update 04/14/2010:

As pointed out by Mark, the above instructions don’t fully work in Windows 7 due to some permission restrictions. Here are the additional steps you need to do in Windows 7 (credit goes to James):

  • Right-click “Permissions” on the two keys mentioned above when browsing the registry editor
  • Click “Advanced”, tab “Ownership” and select your username (which needs to be an administrator)
  • Check “Replace owner on subcontainers and objects” and click “OK”
  • Back in the permissions, select your username (or “Add…” it if it’s missing) and grant “Full Control”

Now you can delete the key(s) after you have performed those steps (for each key).

Update 05/20/2010:

One user reported his screen went black (on his laptop) after applying the .reg files (under Vista). I don’t know whether there’s a direct connection or whether it was just coincidence, but he let me know that after a (manual) reboot, everything was fine again – including compressed folders being disabled.

  3 Responses to “Disable compressed folders in Windows Vista and Windows 7”

  1. Thanks for mentioning this on your blog, Harald. I’ve just spent a while searching for a solution to the zip-file problem I have with Outlook and Word, and your information and reference were the best things I came across.

    I even contacted WinZip’s Support team about it, but they didn’t have any suggestions, so I had to carry on scouring the Net instead. Thanks very much.


  2. Thanks, Mark, for pointing this out.
    It seems there are additional tricks about permissions necessary when using Windows 7.
    I updated the blog post with those instructions.

  3. hi,
    Any ideas?
    Under Windows 7 I’m having trouble deleting the registry keys that should disable compressed folders. It worked in Vista. In my current version of W7 pro a number of the subkeys are protected by the system. [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{E88DCCE0-B7B3-11d1-A9F0-00AA0060FA31}\ShellFolder]: the dword can be deleted, the key not. [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{E88DCCE0-B7B3-11d1-A9F0-00AA0060FA31}\ProgID]:no changes allowed. [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{E88DCCE0-B7B3-11d1-A9F0-00AA0060FA31}\InProcServer32] contents can be deleted, not key.
    [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{E88DCCE0-B7B3-11d1-A9F0-00AA0060FA31}\Implemented Categories: no changes allowed. A similar thing happens in [HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{0CD7A5C0-9F37-11CE-AE65-08002B2E1262}].

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