Vista’s not so Zippy

As part of my migration to Vista, I decided to to archive a lot of my files as Zips on the original PC and unzip them on the new machine. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of files. Yes, I could put these on one of my servers, but most of them are source files and have you ever tried running a compilation over a 100M network? Maybe when I upgrade my house to gigabit. For now, I keep these files local to the machine that I normally use for working. And from 2008 that will be a quad-core running Vista.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I try to unzip the first of my packages. Uncompressed, this one would only be 200Mb, compressed it was a mere 122k, yet Vista was reporting that it would take 10 hours to extract the files!

That’s right, 10 hours. Even 10 minutes would be too long. Something like this should take seconds.

It seems that Vista has a problem with Zip files. Especially those containing folders. There is much speculation about the cause, and many theories about how to solve it. Turn off UAC (wrong). Turn of preservation of zone information (wrong). Use a FAT32 partition for zips (wrong). Disable your anti-virus (wrong). Apply the Vista performance update (wrong). Disable the Receive Window auto-tuning (wrong). Disable the Remote Differential Compression (wrong). Change your network card’s Duplex setting (wrong). And many more ideas along these lines.

Whatever the real underlying cause of Vista’s poor unzipping performance, the practical solution is not to use it. I don’t have a license for WinZip on Vista, so I decided to try the free 7zip. Now, a simple right-click on a Zip file is all it takes to extract whatever I want, in seconds.

Eventually, Microsoft will get around to fixing this problem. For me, it’s no longer a problem.

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