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How Do I Work with Archives?

Universal Explorer offers a very full range of Archive tools giving you the ability to create, edit, view, convert, and search compressed files.  You can even create a self-extracting Window's executable file (*.exe) from an Archive.

The basic utilities used when working with Archives are reached via the Archive menu commands:
Manager: Allows you to open archives, create new ones, edit existing ones and gives access to other features.
Converter: Used to convert an existing archive into another compressed format.
Find Files: Allows you to search for specific files within any compressed file on your system.
Search Text: Allows you to search for instances of specific text contained in files within a compressed file anywhere on your system.
Quick Zip: will lanuch Quick Zip window to zip selected files of file manager list and store in the default archive directory.

Archive Manager | Add File dialog | Making .Exe file | UUEncode | Archive Converter | Archive Find Files/Search Text | Quick Zip

Archive Manager

Archive Manager can be used to open existing archives, create or edit existing ones and provides access to most other archive features.  The following menu commands are available:

New Archive - Used to create new archives. Once clicked, the Open/Save file dialog box will appear allowing you to choose the directory and file name for the new archive. After that, the Open/Save file dialog box will reappear allowing you to select the base files or folders to add to the new archive. You may edit this list in the Add File dialog that will appear after this and is better described under the Add File section.
Open Archive - Displays the Open/Save file dialog so you may locate the archive you wish to open. Once selected, all the files within the archive will be displayed in the main Archive Manager window.  You may use the Preview menu to select large or small icons, list view or details view.
Convert Archive - Will launch the Convert Archive dialog allowing you to convert an archive into a different compressed format such as bh, cab, gz, jar, lzh, tar and zip.
UUEncode - Allows you to UUEncode or XXEncode archives. This is used when your Email client does not offer such conversions automatically on attachments (most later version Email clients do). See below for details.
Filter Archive - Allows you to view only specified file types that may be in the archive. Nothing will be changed within the original archive unless you Save or Save As after setting a filter.
Close - Will close Archive Manger

Add - Will launch the Open/Save file dialog box allowing you to add additional files/folders to the open archive via the Add Files dialog box as described in that section below.
Delete - Will delete selected files from the archive.
Extract - Allows you to actually extract all compressed files into a designated drive/directory.
View - You may use the View option to launch any selected file within an archive into the associated application.
Select All - Will select all files within the archive.
Select None - Will unselected any and all selected files.
Invert Selection - Will reverse the current selected/unselected choices.
Make .exe - Will create a self-extracting Window's Executable (*.exe) file from the open archive. The .exe file will be created in the same directory where the open archive resides.  See the Making .Exe files section below for more details.
Check integrity - Will extract the archive into RAM and check the integrity of each file and display the results in an Output window.
Refresh - Will refresh the file list view.

Preview - Checked by default, this will launch every selected file within an open archive into its associated UE Viewing/Editing window.
Blank Directories - Toggle to show or not to show empty directories that may exist within the open archive.
Elasped Time - Will display the elasped time on any action such as extracting, compressing or converting archives.
Last Output - Will display the Output window with the contents of the last output you performed.
Large, Small, List, Details - Controls how the list of files in an open archive are displayed.

Many of the above options are available via a right-click menu when you are in the main Archive Manager screen.

Add Files - Creating New or Editing Archives

The Add File dialog box appears after the Open/Save file dialog box when ever you create a new archive or wish to edit an existing one.  If you choose a file or folder in the Open/Save file dialog box, that file or files (including directory structure) will appear in the Add File display area. You can add additional files or folders by using the Add Folders and/or the Add Files buttons to use the basic procedure to add additional items which will also appear in the file list display area.

CREATING A NEW ARCHIVE: Use the File - New Archive menu item in Archive Manager. This will launch the above allowing you to select the files you desire to include into the new archive. You may remove undesired files by selecting them and using either the Remove Selected or Remove All options in the right-click menu.

Once you have all the desired files included, you may select your other options and create the new archive.

Deflate - This will compress the files into their smallest file size according to your selection under the Compression area.
Store - This will simply store all the files into an archive without compressing them.

Add (and Replace) Files - This will Add new files to archive or Replace existing files.
Move Files - This will actually Move the selected files from their current location into the archive.

Stored Dirs:
None - Regardless of where the files come from (Drive/Directory) - no file path data will be stored in the archive. Therefore, all files will be extracted in a single user defined directory when extracted.
Absolute - Will store absolute file paths for the compressed files. This could cause a problem if such paths include Drives that do not exist on another machine which the archive is extracted to.
AbsoluteNoDrv - This will store multiple directory file paths but not Drive letters. It can be used to create multiple new diretories on the user defined drive when extracted.
Relative - This will only store directory/folder path that are relative to each other such as subdirectories. This is useful for creating archive when the subdirectory data is necessary such as an archive of a website where all the graphics are contained in a /images subdirectory under the root directory that contains the HTML files. The files in the root directly will not contain any directory/path information - only the subdirectories under the root will contain this data.
RelativeStoreStart - Same as above except even the files in the root directory will contain the root directory name.

Date Attribute:
FileDate - This will maintain the original date of each file in the archive.
SystemDate - This will change the file date of every file in the archive to the current system date of your system.
MaxFileDate - This will use the latest (the newest file date) as the date for all files in the archive.


The Super fast, Fast, Normal and Extra settings control the amount of time it takes to compress all the files into an archive (and somewhat how long it will take to extract them). This setting also controls the amount of compression put on each file.  The faster the speed - the less compression.


If desired, you may password protect your archive so that it may not be extracted without the proper password.


When in the Archive Manager, you may delete files directly as described previously. However, if you wish to add files or folders to the open archive, you would use the Action - Add menu item which would launch the Open/Save dialog box and then the Add File dialog as described above.

Any files/folders you add to the Add File dialog will be added to the open archive and the entire archive will be recreated using the other settings as described above.

Making .Exe files

This great utility will take the open archive and create a self-extracting Windows Executable (.exe) file. This file can be distributed and extracted on any other Windows computer even if such machines do not have any type of Zip/Unzip utility program.

To use this utility you must have an existing archive open in Archive Manager. You can activate this feature through the Action - Make .Exe menu item or the right-click menu while in Archive Manager.

By default, the .exe file will have the same root file name as the archive file and be saved into the same directory. Once created, the archived files can be extracted simply by executing the created *.exe file.  

Using UUEncode

UUEncode/XXEncode can be used if you intend to send archives via the Internet as Email attachments and your Email program does not provide automatic encoding of attachments. Most later versions of all popular Email programs do automatically encode (either MIME or Base64) attachments so it would not be necessary to use the Archive Manager UUEncode feature.

To encode an archive, first you must select the desired archive by using the "!" button next to the Read File input line. You may also choose the Write File path if the default path is not the desired path.

Encode Method:  This feature supports both the UUencode and XXencode methods. UUencode is selected by default.

Please Note: Encoding may not be done properly if filename contains spaces. For example encoding "New uezip file.zip" will produce "New uezip file.xxe" or "New uezip file.uue". However you may have a problem decoding. But encoding of "New_uezip_file.zip" or "NewUeZipfile.zip" works fine. You may change the desired Write File name to meet the above requirements in the Write File input line.

Max kbytes per file: Used to specify the maximum file size of the encoded file. If the encoded size exceeds Max KBytesPerFile, subsequent volume(s) are created each time the volume reaches the size of KBytesPerVolume. If KByesPerVolume equals 0 (default) then the encoded file is not split into multiple volumes.

Write decode table to file-header: If checked, decode table will be inserted to the file header. This table contains a series of ASCII characteristics generated during encoding process. (It is an optional setting. Nothing happens if this setting is unchecked.)

Decoding an UUencoded or XXencoded file: If using Universal Explorer, you single click on a *.uue or *.xxe file in File Manager, the Archive window will auto-launch and display the message "Decode archinve to temp folder and open it." Clicking yes will decode the file and display files in the Archive Manager window. At that point you may use any of the Archive Manager features on the decoded files.

Archive Converter

The Archive Converter can be reached through the Main Archive - Converter menu item or the File - Convert Archive menu item in Archive Manager.  In essence, this utility will convert an archive of one type into another. For instance, it allows you to convert a .zip archive into a .tar archive.

In Archive File - If you have an archive open in Archive Manager and select the Convert Archive options - the open archive will automatically be selected as the In Archive File - or the file to be converted. You may use the "!" button to launch the Open/Save dialog box to choose any other archive file on your system.

Out Archive File - This is where you designate the path and file name for the new converted file. Again, you may use the "!" button to select this path/name.

Out Archive Type - This selects the file type for the newly converted file. The Out Archive File extension will be automatically matched to the file type selected.

Out Archive Method - The default is Create New which will create a new file while leaving the original file intact. The Add files option is used to add the files of an existing archive into an already existing archive of a different type.

Date Attribute - Dictates what File date will be applied to the files when they are converted.

Integrity Check - Will double check each file after the conversion to insure there was no corruption.

Archive Find Files / Search Text

Unlike the basic Windows Find Files or Search Text (also available as enhanced UE Special Tools) - the Archive versions actually perform their searches on files contained within compressed archives. You can activate these special searches via the Main Archive menu.  Please see the Special Tools section on Find Files and Search Text for the basic uses of these dialogs. They are pretty intuitive and easy to use as shown below:


Archive Find Files:  Used to find specific files (based on file type or name) that may exist in compressed archives. The screen shot below is set to find all Text (*.txt) files that may exist within .Zip files on the C: drive. The recurse subfolders option will look into all subfolders on C drive as well.  The Recurse nested archives will look inside compressed archives that may exist inside of other archives.

Archive Search Text: Used to find instances of specific text strings that may exist within files contained in a archive. The screen shot below indicates a Text Search for the word "Install" that may exist in any type of file in any type of archive on the C: drive. The additional filtering options  of Recurse Subfolders, Find First Entry Only, and Case Sensitive are available via the Options tab.

Quick Zip

It allows to zip selected files of file manager list and store the zip file in the default archive directory.

To activate this function, select the desired files in the middle pane of file manager and then click "Archive - Quick Zip" menu or press shortcut CTRL+Q. Now in Quick Zip window, enter a zip file name or click "!" button to get a random file name by number or date/time. Enter default archive folder in next "Save in Folder" box. Finally, click OK button.

Please note that: this Quick Zip window supports only .ZIP file format and will store relative file path in zip file. If you need more features, use regular Archive Manager.