How to Extract ZIP Files in Chromebook

Last Updated: September 29, 2016

Google’s Chrome OS might work great as a operating system designed for work and plug and play environment but the platform lacks a few important features. If you are a Chromebook user, you must have noticed that the OS does not feature an option to extract ZIP files. Actually, there is a way to extract or unzip ZIP files in Chrome OS but it’s not as simple as the “Extract All” button that we’ve come to expect from different desktop platforms.

Along with a native way, there are other ways as well to extract compressed files in Chrome OS. So, without any further ado, here’s how to extract ZIP files in Chrome OS:

Using the Files App

As we mentioned, there’s no option to right-click on a ZIP file and extract its contents to a new folder in Chrome OS. However, there’s another way to get the extracted files in a Chromebook. Here’s how it goes:

1. When you open a ZIP folder or file in Chrome OS, it opens up as if it’s mounted. Basically, the Files app opens up a ZIP file like an external drive, thus it opens up in an individual tab in the left pane of the Files app. Since the file is mounted, its contents are shown in extracted form.

Chrome OS ZIP file mount

2. Once the ZIP file is mounted, create a new folder, where you’d like the contents of the ZIP file to be saved.

Chrome OS new folder

3. Once done, copy the contents from the mounted ZIP file and paste it in the new folder you just created.

Chrome OS extract ZIP files

That’s it! While you have to do things manually here, it’s a pretty easy process. However, this method works only for .ZIP and .RAR files. If you want to extract files in other compressed formats like 7Z, TAR, RPM, ISO, PAX, CPIO, CAB, AR, DEB etc., you can try out the free Chrome app “Wicked Good Unarchiver“, which lets you mount all ZIP file formats in the Files app on Chrome OS. Once the app mounts these files, you can then use the aforementioned steps to easily extract them into another folder.

Using Zip Extractor or ZipShare

If you don’t like the native method in Chrome OS to extract ZIP files, you can use an app to get it done for you. While are numerous apps for Windows & Mac that unzip files, the Chrome OS web store is pretty lacking on this front. The only app worth a mention is ZIP Extractor, which isn’t even an app per se.

The ZIP Extractor app takes you to a web tool, that lets you add files from your Chromebook or Google Drive and extracts these files to Google Drive, so that you can access them with ease on your Chromebook. You will first have to authorize the app through your Google account to get the decompressed files on your Google Drive.

ZIP Extractor

You must be wondering that if it takes you to a web tool, why not use any other tool from the web? Well, that’s because the app integrates itself in to Chrome OS. The ZIPs stored in Google Drive will have ZIP Extractor as an option in the “Open” menu. You can also set ZIP Extractor as the default app to handle ZIP files. Having said that, the ZIP Extractor web tool can be a bit unreliable at times, as in our testing, it did fail when we uploaded a big ZIP file. If you want a more reliable web tool, you can also check out ZIPShare, which lets you upload ZIP files up to 500 MB in its free version. For even bigger ZIP file support, you can get its monthly subscription starting at $9.95/month.

ZIP Extractor Web

How to ZIP files in Chrome OS

Well, you can use the aforementioned ways to extract ZIP files in Chrome OS. However, if you have been wanting to compress files in Chrome OS, you can just right click on a file or folder and hit the “Zip Selection” option. Then, the file or folder will be compressed in a few minutes. Pretty easy, right?

Chrome OS Zip Selection

SEE ALSO: 22 Chromebook Shortcuts To Use Chrome OS Like a Pro

Easily extract files on your Chromebook

Chrome OS aims at making things simple for users and it has kind of succeeded at that. While we love things simple, we also want all the options, especially when it comes to a desktop platform. Chrome OS does let you extract ZIP files but it’s not the most user friendly method. Sure, it’s not that daunting, but we are used to a better implementation on Windows & Mac. We certainly hope Google improves things in the future. Till then, you can use the ways listed above to extract ZIP files on a Chromebook.

Featured Image Courtesy: Flickr


Rupesh is an avid mobile geek and a movie lover. He loves to keep a tab on new gadgets and loves watching movies. Now a high time tech blogger here, along with a daytime engineering student. You might soon find him blogging about movies too!