File Compression Formats and Programs
The two most popular flavors of compressed files are .ZIP and .SIT files.
- Zip Files
- WinZip is the program used to decompress these files, and is also used to compress multiple files of a given format into a Zip file and is the most widely used file compression format for the PC. Click on the banner to the left to go directly to the WINZIP site and get an evaluation copy of the program so that the Zip files you download can be decompressed and the contents can be used.
- SIT Files
- Stuffit and Stuffit deluxe are used primarily on the Macintosh platform but has been ported over to the Windows and Linux operating systems. Aladdin Systems' multi-platform freeware Expander products allow you to decompress, decode, convert and access the most popular compression archive formats, including StuffIt® (.sit), Zip (zip), UUencode (.uu), MacBinary (bin), BinHex (.hqx), and more! For a complete listing of the file formats supported by Stuffit Expander click here. Click the Aladdin Systems logo ABOVE to go to the download page.
- Other Compression Files
- ARJ files are another popular archive format. ARJ files are manipulated by the ARJ program from Robert Jung, 2606 Village Road West, Norwood, Massachusetts 02062.
- LZH files are manipulated by the LHA program from Haruyasu Yoshizaki. LHA won the October 1991 PC Magazine Editor's Choice award as the best data compression utility.
- ARC is an older format. ARC files can be manipulated by several programs, including the original ARC, ARCE (also known as ARC-E), PKXARC, and PKUNPAK. Since almost all new archives are created in other formats and there is no single widely available program to manipulate ARC files.
- The CAB format is used by Microsoft and some other vendors to distribute software. WinZip does not need external programs to view or extract the contents of CAB files.
- TAR, Z, GZ, TAZ, and TGZ files are often found on Unix-based Internet sites. The relationship between these file types is less straight forward than the aforementioned file formats. The important thing to remember is that WinZip handles all these formats the same way as Zip files, so you don't need to know the details. Here is more information on these formats: TAR stands for "Tape ARchive". This is an old file format and does not provide compression; it is used only to group files. Z files are compressed with the gzip program. GZ files are gzip files. Z and GZ files cannot contain multiple files. TAZ and TGZ files are TAR files compressed in "Z" or "GZ" format.
- Other File Compression Schemes....
- Sometimes software is compressed into a SELF-EXTRACTING Archive file (.exe on PC). They can be a file with the decompression scheme built into the file, so all one has to do is 'double click' it for decompression to begin, or it will spawn an install routine. If this is the case, you do not need to proceed any further ..... just double-click and run!
Expanding Compressed Files...
For this particular illustration of how to save and decompress files from the 'net, we are using Embroidery Designs, located in the Other Products Section of the BMTMicro Catalog.
Now to make the file usable..
From the screen above we can see that the file downloaded successfully into the Embroidery Designs\Babies folder. We cannot directly use this file in our Embroidery Machine because this file contains multiple embroidery designs compressed into a Winzip file. The next task is to "Un-Zip" them. At this point you should have a copy of Winzip or Stuff-it Expander loaded on your machine. If you do not, go to the top of this page, click on the WINZIP logo for PC users and the Alladin Systems Logo for MAC users, and select the link for the decompression software you prefer and install it. After that is done, double click the Winzip file to spawn Winzip (shown on the right), or drag the zip file to the Stuffit Expander window, (shown below). Either will work. You get the same result, decompression of your files.
If you use Winzip, the program will start up, and will show you what the zip file contains. Below, you see that Babies.zip contains six different designs in PES format. The next thing to do is Extract the needed files or all the files into the Babies folder for use.
Hit the Extract button, well.... to Extract the design files from the WinZip file.
At this point, some people choose to target the floppy disk drive to store the designs on. Again, I do not recommend this because of a high probability of file corruption. When you click the extract button, the Extract Window will pop up, seen below. This is where you tell the Winzip program where to extract the files to. In the Folders/drives: area of the window, select the sub-folder you created and hit the extract button. That is it. When you look in the folder you will see the original Winzip file and the extracted design / application files. You can choose to delete or move the Winzip file, but if it were me, I would hang on to it for a bit until you are certain that the design .application files are actually usable and you machine can understand them.
That is all there is to it. Now go to your folder and start the install program or use the files in another program, whichever is applicable.