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When I download a program and it's a collection of zipped files...


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#1 Old_Feller

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 05:18 PM

I have tried and cannot find an answer to this.

 

In the past, I simply avoided anything that was zipped. But a few months ago I really needed a certain  Program that had downloaded as a zipped folder (archive). I clicked it and it opened about 10 separate files. I fiddled with it and couldn't figure out what I was supposed to do. I've read for hours and there is a lot of information that amounts to, "you can archive compressed files and send them somewhere and then decompress them and life is glorious". Unfortunately it all seems to be for people that already understand what has to happen to make a collection of files become a Program that performs a useful task.

 

Most Program downloads are directed through a short series of user-choices, ending with a new Program with the key in the ignition. But not these. These come as a pile of parts, and if you want to drive home you have to install the engine - after assembling and installing a backwards-threaded nitrousized Insanity-Face injector adapter, with instructions that look like they came from the Nag Hammadi library. (Sorry, I waited until I am frustrated to ask for help)

 

Maybe it won't even help me. All I know is that right now it seems far from intuitive to know what I need to do. I can right click the Downloaded Folder and open a dropdown with about 15 choices. I am supposed to make a choice from 15 different functions, while I have no clue what task needs to happen. I can't find any information that is relevant.

 

Separately, I would love a step-by-step tutorial on how to use 7-zip and winzip. But regardless of which zip tool I use;

 

I need a plain-language explanation of what the downloaded package is and what manipulations need to happen to transform the collection of files into a "Program"; meaning something that sits on my desktop that I can initiate a "run command" and cause it to begin doing whatever it is supposed to do. And why are programs sent as a Folder with multiple Files that are all zipped up? Is it just cheaper or easier than building a program that walks through the usual end-user routine like a guided tour; i.e. "what do you want to do? [save]  or  [run]" ? Obviously, if an end-user downloads a Program, he/she wants the compressed, zipped Folder to end up as a working Program, so why all the choices? Why not just make it semi-automatic? I mean, why wouldn't a zip program simply detect, quickly investigate, and pop up a simple request for user preference, like, "Say Fool, that Folder that just landed in your Downloads is an archived Program, surly you want me to set it up? [Yes]  [No]  [I didn't download anything]  [No. Please discontinue semi-automatic install and stop calling me Shirley]

 

I understand that the zip program is a tool that needs to perform a set of operations. But that's about all I understand. If any of you kind, helpful souls can help me understand what steps happen, in order, I would appreciate it. 

 

Frustrated.



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#2 mikey11

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 06:08 PM

didnt read the entire post, but it sounds like you need to download and install 7-zip to you computer,

 

after that, when you want to open a downloaded zip file you right click once on the file, then select extract files using 7-zip



#3 hamluis

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 06:19 PM

Your confusion sounds like you have not enabled the system to display file extensions for all files.  If you downloaded a program...the only file extension that you want is the file with the .exe extension.

 

Double-click on the .exe file...and that should run the program that was zipped.

 

If there is a setup.exe in the extracted files...that's the one to run.  If not, there should only be one (possibly two) .exe files and you should double-click on the one which looks most likely to run the program (similar in name to the program).

 

Louis


Edited by hamluis, 02 September 2017 - 06:21 PM.


#4 Old_Feller

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 10:15 AM

Thank you Louis. Your comment is very helpful. It's not the education about the process that I was hoping for, but it's good enough. I was angry and frustrated and shouldn't have even posted. The information I want IS somewhere on the web. I'm just having trouble finding it.

 

Again, thanks much.

Don



#5 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 06:23 PM

If you are running Win 8.1 or 10 if you open Windows (File in 10) Explorer and go to 'View' then 'Options' you will find the option to 'Hide known file extensions'. The default for this is 'Hide'. Uncheck this box and you will see that your photos are know 'photo.jpg' and you letters 'letter.doc(x)'. Similarly, as Hamluis said, your install files are now 'Installer.exe'.

 

Two clicks on the .EXE file will start the program running.

 

Perhaaps the main reason that people produce ZIP files is that it means only one file to download. Once you have the ZIP file you have all the files. Then all you need to do is to unzip it - and 7-zip is only one of a number of options - then go to the folder which it has unzipped into and either 'Run' or double click on the EXE file.

 

Chris Cosgrove



#6 Old_Feller

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Posted 03 September 2017 - 10:29 PM

Thanks Chris.

 

I had conjured a rough idea about what the zip tool had to do and was way wrong (I've finally realized). I thought the zipped Folder must be pieces of the program that had to be   Reassembled   and "set up" in some fashion. I saw a few other zip tools. Tried winzip. Next I will try 7-zip. I'm still not sure I completely grasp everything. Most programs I've ever downloaded didn't have extra files, at least not that I was aware of. Why would I need anything other than the .exe file?

 

Are you saying that when I download a program, it is unzipped out-of-sight, into an option box;  [Run]  [Save] - and I just never realized what was happening?

 

Thank you for taking the time;

Don



#7 britechguy

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 10:38 AM

Don,

 

           There are quite a few executable files that are, in actuality, self-extracting ZIP files that do all the extracting and triggering of (usually) setup.exe behind the scenes.  Virtually any complex installed program (now referred to as a desktop app in Windows 10) will have a collection of dynamic link libraries (.dll files) and other stuff with them.  If you want to see such, after you unzip it, for a program that's the electronic workshop, spare parts, and man-hours manual for Rolls-Royce (which you can promptly delete after viewing if you so desire) then download Seraph/Arnage IETIS.

 

            Most programs that do not need to be installed, and are most often referred to as "portable," can run strictly using their .exe file alone or can run that file and find the necessary dll files in its own starting folder.  The portable form of Speccy (see:  https://www.piriform.com/speccy/builds) does that.

 

            The majority of the programs you run have their executable files as the "master juggler" of a whole bunch of other libraries that they tap into as needed to do the job you're asking them to do.  Only fairly simple programs are completely contained within a single .exe [executable] file.


Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1809, Build 17763 

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#8 Just_One_Question

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 03:08 PM

Ever since I found it in Windows XP (In My Computer>Local Disk C>Windows), I have always been wondering whether Notepad is a self-contained executable program. If it is, it's the perfect example of one.:)



#9 Old_Feller

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 08:52 PM

Thank  you britechguy Brian; that was most helpful. Now I'm starting to comprehend.

 

That's an interesting point Just_One_Question. I found some code for a little program with the instructions to just copy and paste it into Notepad and then save it with a .vbs extension. So I did it and was amazed that it created a program, with a desktop icon, that finds and displays the Windows Activation Key.

 

I mean, I knew it was supposed to do that. I was just surprized and thrilled when it worked.



#10 RolandJS

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 09:46 PM

Some, but certainly not all, zipped files contain programs or utilities that merely have to be extracted into, or, copied into, a subdirectory.  Then, within that subdirectory that now contains a jumble of files (and sometimes folders).  Within that jumble, will be one file that is an EXE that when clicked starts the 3-ring dog and pony show.  That jumble o' files is what is called a portable program or a portable utility, meaning, that it does not need any Windows folders, files, or registry entires in order to do its thing.  The only thing that EXE might need is a shortcut that you create and put said shortcut anywhere you want.


Edited by RolandJS, 04 September 2017 - 09:47 PM.

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#11 Old_Feller

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 02:20 PM

Roland: another good piece of demystification!

 

Operating System, registry, directories, sub-directories, folders, files/extensions.
 
Applications, Programs, Utilities (both non-portable and portable).... and a portable .exe - once extracted if it doesn't include self-extraction - can run without windows. I guess we still need windows to see it on the monitor, right?

 
How do we define the difference between programs and utilities; 
 
Between registries, subregistries and folders

 

​Thanks!

Don



#12 britechguy

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Posted 05 September 2017 - 03:06 PM

All Applications and Utilities are Programs, which is the broadest possible term for something that makes a computer perform a task.  I will leave it at that, as it really doesn't make sense for the end user to know or care about compiled versus interpreted code.

 

Applications are programs that an end user uses to manipulate or create something.  Good examples are word processors (or any part of an office suite), text editors (e.g., Notepad), picture editors (e.g. Paint, PhotoShop, GIMP, etc.).

 

Utilities are generally used to manipulate the computer in some way and/or get information about aspects of the computer.  Speccy and Belarc Advisor are utilities to get system configuration information.  Disk defragmenters, memory checking (e.g. memtest86), cleanup programs (e.g. CCleaner and Disk Cleanup), are utilities that do what is stated and also give you some information regarding what they've done and the state of things when they're done.  You might get a log file, if desired, but very often you do not.

 

Getting into the registry is way more depth than I want to delve into now.  It is not essential that an end user know about or understand the Windows System Registry.  Someone else may wish to jump in on that one.  The best short description I can give is it is a master table that points to the location of installed programs, shared system libraries (which are programs, too), and the various keys that get used as a way to permanently store specific settings that control the behavior of the programs themselves or the operating system (like remembering all the things you select when you go through Settings).

 

A folder and a directory are the same thing.  A subfolder or subdirectory is a folder contained within another folder.  You're used to this, probably, under the Documents folder where you create folders to contain the various things you create.  Each of those folders contained within the Documents folder is a subfolder of Documents.  Often folks do the same thing under Pictures where they organize their photos in folders by date or some other organizing principle of your choice.

 

Libraries tends to get used in two different ways:

         1) Collections of operating system programs that can be (and are) called by all sorts of application programs to get information from the operating system and/or read or write information from storage.

 

         2) Collections of user data by type.  The most common examples are Documents, Pictures, Music, Video.  Some would argue that things like "Desktop" are libraries, but I consider them Folders that are special enough to get dedicated icons, but not a library as such.


Edited by britechguy, 05 September 2017 - 03:17 PM.
Added bits on folders/libraries

Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1809, Build 17763 

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.  Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.

       ~ Mark Twain

 

 

 

              

 


#13 Old_Feller

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 07:05 PM

Very good. Thanks!

 

Don






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