How to Archive Folders on Windows or Mac: Clear Up Storage Space

Archiving (zipping) folders will create a new, smaller folder and free up storage space! Zipping a folder means compressing it into a .zip file. No info is lost, and it can be unzipped at any time. In Windows and macOS, you can right-click and zip a folder. This minHour guide will show you how to archive folders on Windows or Mac using the built-in operating system tools.


Navigate to the folder you want to archive.

Open File Explorer by clicking the folder icon on your Taskbar. Or, press . This method will cover how to compress the folder into a ZIP file.

Right-click the folder.

This will open the folder’s options menu.

Select Send to.

Then click . This will create a new zipped folder in the same file location as the original folder.

  • If you have a specific location you want to keep zipped files in, you can now move your ZIP file there. This might be a different folder or drive on your computer, or a portable storage drive.
  • To unzip a zipped folder, right-click the folder and choose Extract All.


Navigate to the folder you want to archive.

Open Finder by clicking the Finder icon (a smiling blue and white face). Then, go to the folder you want to compress.

Right-click the folder.

This will open the folder options pop-up menu.

Click Compress.

This will compress the folder into a new ZIP file called “”.

  • Rename the file to something that describes the contents. For example, “”.
  • Double-click on the .zip file to expand and unzip it.
  • You can also synchronize folders if you’re looking for a way to access a folder from multiple computers.


  • Archiving folders allows you to keep your ongoing and your completed work separate. Using the archive function will also speed up your search results because there is much less data to sift through.
  • Save even more disc space by being selective about the files and folders you keep.
  • Use the compress or zip function for all files except those with MP3, GIF, JPEG or other compressed file formats. Those kinds of files are already compressed, you won’t be able to reduce them further.


  • Archiving and compressing does not equal backup. Always back up your work on a removable disc, flash drive or store it in the cloud. If your computer crashes, your archived folders will not be protected.

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