Disabling Zip or Compressed Folders and Thumbnails in Windows XP, Vista or 7

One of the most annoying "features" in Windows is the "Compressed Folders" feature, where Zip files are displayed as folders. While this may be nice for some, most users accumulate a large number of zip files in a folder, making it unviewable in Windows Explorer. We look at how to get rid of it.
Having zip files treated as folders seems to be an unwanted side-effect of having zip archive functionality built right into the operating system. It is nice being able to open and view zip archives without having to install an external archiver, such as WinRar or 7zip. However, apart for overwhelming Windows Explorer whenever you go into a folder with too many *.zip files, this will also slow down searches, as Windows Search will look through all the zip files whether you want it or not, then it will display the results in an obfuscated way.
Often, disabling zip functionality can easily be accomplished by simply installing either 7zip or WinRar, yet that does not always work with

Turn off zip folders in Windows XP

After turning off zip folders, you should still be able to open zip files, though I strongly recommend using either 7zip (free) or WinRar (payware), as using Windows to open zip files will most likely cause zip folders to return.
To, turn it off, you press WindowsKey + R (or Start -> Run…) then enter regsvr32 /u %windir%\system32\zipfldr.dll To reinstate zip folders, type the same thing but without the /u switch. To disable this behaviour for CAB files, substitute cabview.dll for zipfldr.dll.
A faster, more permanent and easier to fix this and many other problems way is to run XP-antispy.

Turn off zip folders in Windows Vista

The solution here is a bit more complex and it involves modifying the registry. You need to exercise caution and backup it up first. If you are uncomfortable modifying the registry, you might want to run these programs:
From Annoyances: vistaunzip.reg to remove it & vistazip.reg to restore it.
From mydigitallife: vistanozipcab.reg to remove and vistazipcab.reg to restore.
The vistaunzip.reg file contains the following:
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
; Disable ZIP support in Windows Vista
; restart Windows after applying this patch
[-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{E88DCCE0-B7B3-11d1-A9F0-00AA0060FA31}]
[-HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{0CD7A5C0-9F37-11CE-AE65-08002B2E1262}]
To achieve the same result manually, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Registry Editor (regedit.exe).
  2. Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID 
  3. Delete this key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{E88DCCE0-B7B3-11d1-A9F0-00AA0060FA31} 
  4. Delete this key: HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{0CD7A5C0-9F37-11CE-AE65-08002B2E1262} 
  5. Restart Windows (the change won’t take effect until you do).

Turn off zip folders in Windows 7

Here’s a solution proposed by svenn99 in a Microsoft Technet forum:

You will need to edit your registry (delete 2 different keys), so I highly recommend you back up your registry or better yet, make an image of your OS drive (probably C:\). I use Norton Ghost 2003 (only from a NG 2003 boot floppy) and have never had a single problem. Norton Ghost does not have to be installed on your system for this to work (in fact, it will stall due to compatibility issues). First a note regarding the various reg tweaks that are available for download (e.g., "vistaunzip.reg"). These will NOT work – undoubtedly due to ownership/permissions issues.
The following two (2) keys need to be deleted from the registry:
For zip files delete the regkey
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{E88DCCE0-B7B3-11d1-A9F0-00AA0060FA31}
For cab files delete
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{0CD7A5C0-9F37-11CE-AE65-08002B2E1262}
When you try to delete them, you will almost certainly get an "access denied" or "failed" type of message. Before you can delete them, you need to change the permissions/ownership of these two keys. Here is how to do it:
01 – open regedit from the RUN console
02 – navigate to the first key that needs to be deleted (HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{E88DCCE0- B7B3-11d1-A9F0-00AA0060FA31})03 – right click on the key and select "Permissions"
04 – click on "Advanced"
05 – click on the "Ownership" tab
06 – in the "change owner to" section, highlight your username
07 – check the box for "replace owner on subcontainers and objects"
08 – click on "Apply"
09 – Click "OK"
10 – Under "Security" tab, highlight your username and check the box for "Allow Full Control" (located mid-menu in the "Permissions For Administrators" section)
11 – click "Apply" and "OK"
12 – you can now delete the registry key. MAKE SURE YOU ARE ON THE CORRECT KEY!
13 – repeat the process for the 2nd key.
14 – reboot (changes will NOT take effect until you reboot
15 – VOILA! NO MORE ZIP FOLDERS! woohoo!
16 – thanks to the original solvers of this problem, whomever they may be.
*********************************************************************************
I would like the same help that deedvd is seeking. How do I DISABLE the zip folder function? I do NOT want my zip files to appear as "folders". Why anyone in Redmond thought this was a brilliant idea is beyond me. It adds to clutter and makes file browsing a lot less enjoyable. I simply want my zip files to appear as files – with the ".zip" extension. Just like every other file. The responses to deepdvd were probably as frustrating to him as they are to me. Changing the default program for zip files is IRRELEVANT. It only changes whether Windows or some third party app (7Zip, Izarc, etc) OPENS the files. They continue to show up as folders. I tried the unregister script (earlier thread)
"Running regsvr32 /u %windir%\system32\zipfldr.dll should be enough to disable zip functionality. Then just run your 3rd party archite application and let it re-register archive files." and it did not work. I got the same error that deeddvd got "The module "C:\Windows\system32\zipfldr.dll" was loaded but the entry-point DllUnregisterServer was not found.
Make sure that "C:\Windows\system32\zipfldr.dll" is a valid DLL or OCX file and then try again."
I would love to find a resolution to this problem. If anyone out there knows how to DISABLE the zipfolder function, please post the solution. I am thanking you in advance.

Here’s another solution, courtesy of 7forums:

TO DISABLE:
1. Open the Start Menu, and type regedit in the search line and press Enter.
2. If prompted by UAC, then click on Yes.
3. To Disable ZIP Compressed Folders –
A) In regedit, go to the location below.
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{E88DCCE0-B7B3-11d1-A9F0-00AA0060FA31}
B) In the left pane, right click on {E88DCCE0-B7B3-11d1-A9F0-00AA0060FA31} and click on Permissions.
C) Go to step 5.
4. To Disable CAB Folders –
A) In regedit, go to the location below.
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{0CD7A5C0-9F37-11CE-AE65-08002B2E1262}
B) In the left pane, right click on {0CD7A5C0-9F37-11CE-AE65-08002B2E1262} and click on Permissions.
5. Click on the Advanced button.
6. Click on the Owner tab, then select your user account and click on OK. (See screenshot below)
NOTE: Your user account must be an administrator account.
7. Select your user acount again (step 6), then check the Allow box for Full Control and click on OK. (See screenshot below)
8. In the left pane of regedit, right click on {0CD7A5C0-9F37-11CE-AE65-08002B2E1262} and click on Delete. (See screenshot below step 4A)
9. Click on Yes.
10. If open, close and reopen the Windows Explorer window. You will now not see the contents of your ZIP and CAB files in the Windows Explorer folder view.
TO (RE)ENABLE:
1. To Enable ZIP Compressed Folders –
From 7forums:  Restore_Zip_Files.zip to restore zipfolders and Restore_Cab_Files.zip to restore cab view.
A) Click on the Download button below to download the
Restore_Zip_Files.zip file below.
B) Go to step 3.
2. To Enable CAB Folders –
A) Click on the Download button below to download the
Restore_Cab_Files.zip file below.
3. Click on Save, and save the .zip file to the desktop.
4. Open the .zip file and extract the .reg file to the desktop.
5. Right click the .reg file (On Desktop) and click on Merge.
6. Click on Run, Yes, Yes, and OK when prompted.
7. Open the Start Menu, and type regedit in the search line and press Enter.
8. If prompted by UAC, then click on Yes.
9. To Enable ZIP Compressed Folders –
A) In regedit, go to the location below.
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{E88DCCE0-B7B3-11d1-A9F0-00AA0060FA31}
B) In the left pane, right click on {E88DCCE0-B7B3-11d1-A9F0-00AA0060FA31} and click on Permissions. ()
C) Go to step 11.
10. To Enable CAB Folders –
A) In regedit, go to the location below.
HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\CLSID\{0CD7A5C0-9F37-11CE-AE65-08002B2E1262}
B) In the left pane, right click on {0CD7A5C0-9F37-11CE-AE65-08002B2E1262} and click on Permissions. (See screenshot above)
11. Click on the Advanced button.
12. Click on the Owner tab, then click on the Other users and groups button.
13. Type NT SERVICE\TrustedInstaller in the white box, and click on OK.
14. Select TrustedInstaller, and click on OK.
15. Click on OK.
16. If open, close and reopen the Windows Explorer window. You will now see the contents of your ZIP and CAB files display again in the Windows Explorer folder view.

Other annoyances

While researching our main topic, we came across a few other solutions for similar annoyances and we decided to share them with you.

IPv6

This next version of the protocol that makes the Internet work has yet to be widely deployed. If you manage to turn it off, you will surely manage to turn it back on when you will need it. Until then, save resources for a greener planet!
Go to Network Connections folder (click on Start button, then right click on Network, select Properties, then click on “Manager network connections” on Tasks pane).You should see various LAN, wireless, Bluetooth, high speed Internet, and other network connections available on the Vista computer with the network adapter description. Right click on the network connection that you want to disable the IPv6 interface and select “Properties”.
Click “Continue” on User Access Control permission request prompt.
Clear the check box next to the Internet Protocol version 6 (TCP/IPv6) component in the list under “This connection uses the following items” box.
Click OK when done.
To re-enable IPv6, tick back the check box.

Indexing service

The indexing service scours your hard drive indexing your files, which makes searching much faster. However, indexing itself, even though it is supposed to take place only when the computer is not in use, often starts when you are actually using the computer, slowing you down unnecessarily. Here’s how’ to turn it off in XP:
Turn off indexing on particular hard disk drive
Open up “My Computer”. Or open “Windows Explorer” and then expand Computer tree.
Right click on the hard drive to disable indexing (i.e (C:) drive letter).
Select Properties on the contextual menu.
Click on General tab if it’s not already selected.
Untick (unselect) the check box for Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching option.
Click OK, and wait for the index removal process to complete, which may take a few minutes.
Repeat the steps for other hard drives if applicable.
Disable the Indexing Service in Windows XP
Open “Control Panel”, select “Administrator Tools”, and open Services applet. Alternatively, type services.msc in the Rn text box from Start menu, and then hit Enter.
Scroll down and locate Indexing Service service, and then double click on it.
Click on Stop button to immediately stop the indexing service if the service status shows “Running.
Under the “Startup Type”, select Disabled to permanently disable the indexing service so that it won’t run again.
Click OK.
The method for Vista is similar:
Click on Start button, then select Control Panel -> System and Maintenance -> Administrative Tools, and double click on Services applet. Alternatively, simply type “Services” (without quotes) in Start Search box.
If User Account Control asks for permission, click Continue.
Locate an service named Windows Search. Right click on Windows Search, and then select Properties on contextual menu.
Click on Stop button to stop the indexing service immediately.
On the Startup Type dropdown box, select Disabled.
Click on OK button.
Alternatively, you may selectively disable indexing on certain drives:

Thumbnails

Thumbnails make exploring your files friendlier and easier. However, in a folder with many images or videos, it will slow down and possibly crash your computer. The thumbnails are stored in a file called thumbs_*.db, but even this file may be unwanted for some people, as it may be seen as an unacceptable privacy risk. Windows XP stores the cache in the same directory (folder) as the images, where Windows 7 hides it in C:\Users\User-Name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Explorer. In Windows 7, thumbnails cache can be enabled or disabled with a reg file courtesy of 7forums, or by using the Policy Editor:
1. Open the Local Group Policy Editor.
2. In the left pane, click on the arrow to expand User Configuration, Administrative Templates, Windows Components, and on Windows Explorer.
3. In the right pane of Windows Explorer, right click on Turn off caching of thumbnail pictures and click on Edit.
4. To Enable Thumbnail Caching –
A) Select (dot) Not Configured or Disabled.
B) Go to step 6.
5. To Disable Thumbnail Caching –
A) Select (dot) Enabled.
6. Click on OK.
7. Close the Local Group Policy Editor.
8. Log off and log on, or restart the computer to apply.
To disable thumbnail previews in Vista, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Start button, then on All Programs, follow by Accessories.
  2. Run Windows Explorer.
  3. In Windows Explorer window, click on Organize button on the menu/shortcut bar.
  4. In the pull down menu, click on Folder and Search Options.
  5. Folder Options dialog window will appear. Click on View tab.
  6. Under the Files and Folders tree heading, check (tick) the checkbox next to Always show icons, never thumbnails option.
  7. Click the OK button.

Finally, to disable the previews in Windows 7, you have a few alternatives:
1. Open Folder Options.
2. Click on the View tab. ()
3. To Turn Off Thumbnails –
A) Check Always show icons, never thumbnails, then click on OK. ()
4. To Turn On Thumbnails –
A) Uncheck Always show icons, never thumbnails, then click on OK. ()
Secondly, you may be able to achieve the same result through the "Visual Settings", which, unfortunately, does not always work. A third and easier way would be to run the following registry modifications, courtesy of 7forum, to disable or enable thumbnail previews. Finally, you may also disable the thumbnails through the Policy Editor, which will disable them for all users:
1. Open the Local Group Policy Editor.
2. In the left pane, click on the arrow to expand User Configuration, Administrative Templates, then click on Start Menu and Taskbar.
3. In the right pane, right click on Turn off the display of thumbnails and only display icons and click on Edit.
4. To Enable Thumbnails –
A) Select (dot) Not Configured or Disabled.
B) Go to step 6.
5. To Disable Thumbnails –
A) Select (dot) Enabled.
6. Click on OK.
7. Close the Local Group Policy Editor.

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