A ZIP file is a great way to bundle up a bunch of files and also compressing them to make them smaller. They’re usually sent by companies who bundle media files and PDFs together, and also banks like to send ZIP files that contain financial reports, investment portfolios, and so on.

Unzipping a ZIP file is pretty easy and straightforward. In fact, with more recent builds of Windows, you wouldn’t even need a third-party extraction software like you did back in the day. All you need to do is open the ZIP file and extract the contents to its destination folder and you’re done.

However, there are times when you might encounter an issue when you’re trying to extract a file. If you ever run into the error that says, “Windows Cannot Complete the Extraction”, here are several ways to fix them.

Why Does This Message Occur?

When you get the “Windows Cannot Complete the Extraction” error message, the reason is usually because the ZIP file is in a protected area. Alternatively, another possible reason is that the downloaded ZIP file is corrupt and that’s why it cannot be opened. Below are several methods you can try to get around the problem.

Method 1 – Restart Your Computer

More often than not, a lot of computer related problems can be solved with a restart.

  1. Click the Start menu
  2. Click the power button
  3. Click Restart

Method 2 – Move The File To A Different Location

If restarting your computer doesn’t work, then the next thing you can do is try moving the ZIP file to a different location. Like we said, the reason why you encounter the issue is due to the file being in a protected location, so moving it to a different drive or a different folder could help solve the issue.

Method 3 – Redownload The File

There could have been an issue when you downloaded the file. Maybe something happened during the download and the end result is the file getting corrupted, which could also affect whether or not it can be extracted.

Method 4 – Download A Third-Party Extractor

There are times when you attempt to extract a ZIP file but for some reason, you encounter the “Windows Cannot Complete The Extraction” error when you use the default extractor built into Windows.

In this case, you might want to try downloading a third-party extraction tool like 7-Zip which is free to use. Using it is very simple – just download the tool and open your ZIP file with 7-Zip and you’re good to go.

Method 5 – Renaming The File

Sometimes your downloaded files might have names that are simply too long, which in turn could cause some issues when you’re trying to extract it. You can always try giving the ZIP file a new name by right-clicking on it and select “Rename” and giving it a shorter name to see if this does away with the problem.

Method 6 – Run SFC And CHKDSK

Microsoft actually has a couple of built-in tools designed to check your system files and computer drives for any corruption or errors, and it can fix them too. If the above methods don’t work, then maybe it might be time to run these diagnostic tools to check.

  1. Press Start and search for “Command Prompt”
  2. Right-click and select “Run as administrator”
  3. Type “sfc /scannow” (or “sfc /scannow /offbootdir=c:\ /offwindir=c : \windows” if that doesn’t work)
  4. Wait for the verification to complete
  5. Restart your computer
  6. Press Start and search for “Command Prompt” again
  7. Right-click and select “Run as administrator”
  8. Type “CHKDSK /f /r”
  9. Type “Y” when prompted and hit Enter

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