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How to choose where to extract an archive on Windows 10

Archive files, or zipped, or RAR files are compressed files which have to be extracted before they can be viewed or used. An archive will generally be much smaller than its extracted version which is often the point of compressing it in the first place. By default, when you extract an archive, it extracts to the same folder that the compressed file is in however, most utilities will let you choose where to extract an archive to. Here’s how you can do it with 7zip.

Choose where to extract archive

This will work with most archiving utilities. The option to extract an archive to a different location may be accessed differently but it will be there. With 7zip, when you install the app, it adds options to the context menu making it easy to extract or compress items.

Right-click a zipped folder and from the context menu, select 7-Zip. Select ‘Extract files…’ from the sub-menu.

You will see a window with an ‘Extract to’ field. Click the browse/select path button next to the field and choose where you want to extract the file to. When you click OK, the archive file will be extracted to a folder in the location you selected. This location can be in a different drive altogether if you want.

Other archiving utilities

7zip isn’t the only popular archiving utility for Windows 10. There are quite a few others and most will have an option to compress or extract folders from the context menu. That’s the first place you should look. The context menu will likely have a quick extraction option whereby the archive is extracted to the same folder that the archived file is in. Make sure you don’t select that option. Instead, look for any option that allows you to change how a file is extracted.

In the event there is no context menu option for changing how a file is extracted, you should open the archiving utility’s interface. There, you can select a ZIP or RAR file, and then choose where you want extract it.

Extracting a file to different location has no negative effects. The file will extract just as reliably if you were to extract it to the same location. The benefit is that if you’ve saved the archive to a folder/location that’s cleaned periodically e.g., the Downloads folder, you won’t lose the extracted files as well. Additionally, if your drive is low on space, extracting files to a different drive will make sure the extraction process isn’t interrupted by low disk space problems.

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