File Compression Basics
|PC compression methods|
"Zipped" files are one of the most common types of compressed files. These files have a ".ZIP" suffix at the end of the filename. There are a number of Windows based program utilities that will compress and expand zipped files. Three of the most common are PKZIP, a product of PKWARE Inc., and Winzip, which is published by Nico Mak Computing Inc., and our favorite The Unzip Wizard from PC Shareware, Inc..
|How file compression works|
File compression is like a kind of computer shorthand. When you attempt to compress a file, the compression software that is being used looks for a series of repeating characters or bits in the file. The software then replaces these blocks of repeated characters with symbols or shorter words or phrases, which are called "tokens."
For example, it takes less space for a computer file to be structured:
"10101000110101[insert 73 zeroes here]11011010010"
When you apply a decompression program to a compressed file, the software reads the file and replaces the tokens with the original data, inflating the file back to its original size.