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How To Extract Zip Files on a Chromebook

zip extractor for chromeChromebook users frustrated by the non-conventional handling of Zip files in Chrome OS now have an alternative solution at hand thanks to a Googler.

We all come across .zip files at some point online. From holiday snaps auto-zipped by Gmail prior to downloading, to a set of random documents grouped for convenience.

Chrome OS has built-in support for opening .zip archives and accessing the contents but it doesn’t (yet) support extraction.

Instead, it treats them like a USB drive or disk partition. While you can copy and paste contents from a mounted zip to another folder, it’s far from being as straightforward as the traditional approach of hitting right-click and electing to ‘extract to new folder’.

Zip Files Are Treated Like Drives in Chrome OS

Zip Files Are Treated Like Drives in Chrome OS

And that’s where Google employee and Drive hacker Mike Procopio’s simple web app comes in.

ZIP Extractor enables files bundled up in .zip files to be properly extracted to your Google Drive account.

Features:

  • Extract zip files from your local hard drive or Google Drive
  • Option to choose which file(s) to extract
  • Quick share link of extracted files through Google Drive
  • Can associate with Gmail to “open with…”

Drawbacks

Now for the drawbacks.

First off, and most disappointingly, this isn’t a Chrome app; it doesn’t run offline and it won’t open in its own window unless you ask it to. It’s simply a link to a website (‘zip-extractor.appspot.com’).

On the flip side it does integrate with Files, the Chrome OS file manager. Zip files stored in Google Drive can ‘Open With…’ the app. You can even set it as the default handler for zip archives – handy!

Screenshot 2014-01-29 at 23.57.52

The Google Drive support is what makes this tool so handy, but it won’t be to everyone’s taste. Indeed, to even use the “app” you have to give it access to your Google Drive, even if you only plan to upload a .zip from your hard drive, because all extracted files are placed in to your cloud storage.

The usefulness offered means that I can overlook its shortcomings for now. Hopefully someone, somehow, sometime will create a “packaged app” version that can work offline.

In the meantime it’s by far the best option for extracting files in the traditional way. Grab it on the Chrome Web Store for gratis.

ZIP Extractor for Google Chrome