Issues related to compressed files such as .zip, .rar, etc. when viewed in Windows Explorer in Windows 7/8


Frequently user's of software must deal with compresed archives of files, typically with extensions like .zip, ,.rar, .7p, etc.

Windows 7 introduced a new feature that can cause errors when dealing with compressed archives of files, typically with extensions like .zip, ,.rar, .7p, etc.

The new feature allows the contents of compressed archives (such as .zip) to be viewed in Windows Explorer in the same way a folder's contents can be viewed,
without the user having to extract anything.

In Windows Explorer, the archive can be selected in the left hand pane and the contents of the archive will be viewable in the right-hand pane, just like a folder's contents.

User-added image

Problems can occur when attempting to access these files without first extracting the contents to an actual folder.
Errors typically include a program not being able to find or access a necessary file.


The errors occur because the files are only viewable when the archive is selected or in Windows Explorer but not extracted.
As a general rule, the contents of files found in an archive should first be extracted to a folder before any action is performed such as running a setup.exe to install a program.


UPDATED: September 27, 2018
Extract the contents of an archive file before performing any action on files within the archive.
This can be accomplished in Windows by right-clicking on the file and selecting "Extract".  Or, use a 3rd party program such as WinZip, WinRar or 7zip to extract files into a new, empty folder.