Cleanup WinZip Junk Files

WinZip is a leading data computer utility used to compress and decompress (extract) files.

It can also be used to backup, encrypt, share and email your archives securely. This shareware utility from Nico Mak Computing stores a lot of data and results into the accumulation of precious disk space if you happen to use it regularly. If you’re wondering what eats up your disk space and would like to clean up WinZip junk files, hold your breath and continue reading this article.


What are Self-Extracting (SFX) Archives? What are their Benefits?

A Self-Extracting Archive or SelfExtracting Zip is a file similar to any .exe file with an ability to extract all of its contents and run the predetermined launcher file, usually a setup program.

SFX file is commonly used by installers for various purposes, some of which are given as under:

  • Reduces Installer Size: A setup program packed with a self-extracting archive takes lesser storage space when compared to a standalone setup bootstrapper. Self-extracting archive compresses the file contents with powerful compressing mechanisms/ algorithms.
  • Single Installer: Most installers come with a range of files including Executable (.exe) files, Dynamic Link Library (.dll) files, INI files and so on which play an important role during the installation process. A self-extracting file packs all these files into a single archive making it easier for the user to install the program.
  • Skips File Extract Location Prompt: A self-extracting archive is capable of detecting the temporary directory on the user’s machine and extracting all the files automatically. It therefore does not need any user intervention during this process.
  • Easily Distributable: A self-extractable archive is easily distributable on USB flash drives, DVD/ CDROM drives as well as over the Web.
  • Portable: When configured properly, it can be even used to make the application portable, which means that there will be no need on the part of the user to install the program and it can be launched directly from a single file stored on a USB stick or any other removable storage media.
  • Supports Encryption: A self-extracting file supports storing of sensitive information with 128 and 256 AES encryption algorithms.
  • Easier for Inexperienced Users: Inexperienced users can easily extract the file contents without much effort and hassle.
  • Secure & Free of Corruption: Files stored within a self-extracting archive are secure and cannot be missed, unlike in the case of a folder. In other words, the file cannot be corrupted unless the storage drive is physically damaged.


Where does WinZip temporarily extract self-extracting archive contents? How do I change the default location?

The user’s computer settings determine the default folder to be used during the file extraction. As a general rule, when files other than self-extracting archives are opened, WinZip names the default folder which can be easily renamed by the user. When the user leaves the default folder unaltered, or chooses a custom folder and clicks on the Extract button, all the files are extracted to the selected folder.

You might want to figure out the temporary directory of your PC and change it. Follow the instructions given below:

  1. Right-click This PC icon.
  2. Select Properties from the context menu.
  3. Click Advanced system settings in the new window.
  4. You have another dialog on your screen named System Properties.
  5. Click the Advanced tab and then Environment Variables.
  6. In the subsequent dialogue that opens, check the values of TEMP and TMP items under the User Variables section.
  7. To change any of the temporary locations, simply select an item (such as TEMP or TMP) and then click the Edit button.
  8. You will get the Edit User Variable dialog box prompting Variable Name and Variable Value fields.
  9. Enter the appropriate location in the Variable Value text box or click Browse directory button, and choose the new path.
  10. After finishing up, click OK thrice and then reboot your PC for the changes to take effect.


Deleting WinZip Extracted Temporary Files

You must close all running programs, including WinZip, during the deletion process. Some files cannot be deleted or altered while they are in use. Here is an effective way to free up disk space and recover several GBs.

  1. Press Windows Key + R.
  2. Type %Temp% in the dialog box that opens and then press Enter.
  3. You will get the File Explorer window on the screen.
  4. Press Ctrl + A to select all the folders and files.
  5. Press Delete key of your keyboard.
  6. In the confirmation box, click Yes to send all selected files to the Recycle Bin where you can review and delete them at a later point in time.


Deleting WinZip MRUs

MRU stands for Most Recently Used. WinZip stores MRUs to provide quick access to the user’s favorites and recent files. All this data is stored in the System Registry, a complex database accessed by Windows and installed applications time to time on a periodic basis. You might want to reach out to the corresponding Registry key and delete the MRU entry.

  1. Exit WinZip.
  2. Press Windows Key + R.
  3. Type RegEdit and click OK.
  4. Reach out to the following subkey:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER | SOFTWARE | Nico Mak Computing | WinZip
  5. Right-click the MRU subkey and select Delete.
  6. A confirmation box will pop up on the screen. Click Yes to confirm the deletion.
  7. Exit the Registry.