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Apple II Csa2 FAQs: Uploading & Downloading, Part 21/25

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 - Part7 - Part8 - Part9 - Part10 - Part11 - Part12 - Part13 - Part14 - Part15 - Part16 - Part17 - Part18 - Part19 - Part20 - Part21 - Part22 - Part23 - Part24 - Part25 )
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Archive-name: apple2/faq/part21
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 2009/12/01

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
The comp.sys.apple2 Usenet newsgroup Apple II FAQs originate from
the II Computing Apple II site, 1997-2010. 

Csa2 FAQs file ref: Csa2T2TCOM.txt  rev141 December 2009

Telecom-2: Downloading & Uploading

 001- What's the easiest way to download files from Apple II sites?
 002- Some of my downloads are bad; what's wrong?
 003- Are there download files I should process on the PC (or Mac)?
 004- How do I upload files?
 005- What kinds of files should I upload to which sites?
 006- How can I read & send email and newsgroup msgs with my A2?
 007- With a fast modem, how can the IIe connect to the internet?
 008- I'm running the Lynx web browser. Where do I put the URL?
 009- How do I download an .SHK file through Lynx?
 010- Can I send and receive FAXes using my Apple II?
 011- What is a "Binary II" header?
 012- Should I add a Binary II header to files I upload?
 013- How can I use my Apple II on the internet?
 014- Why do I get bad .zip downloads? Is there a solution?

From: Rubywand

001- What is the easiest way to download files from Apple II sites?

     Modern PC internet browsers like netscape and Internet Explorer have spoiled much of the challenge of connecting to sites on the net. For example, entering

in IE's "Address" box gets you to Ground's IIgs games folder ready to download with just a mouse click.

Downloading via a Browser

     Some major Apple II sites are FTP sites-- places you get to via an ftp:// URL. FTP connections tend have a pretty raw look-- instead of colorful backgrounds, pictures, fancy buttons, etc., what you see is mainly text showing folder and file names. You may get folder icons and, perhaps, some simple icon next to each file name.

     Today, many Apple II sites are web sites with pages you get to via an http:// URL. Often, web download sites will offer a relatively fancy display listing titles with descriptions and, by each title, a button to click to do the download. Other web sites may do without html pages and not be much fancier than an FTP site.

     Whether FTP or HTTP, you usually just click a button or file name to start the download process. An exception might be when the file is a Text file you wish to download; for Text file downloads you may need to right-click or SHIFT-click on the item to get some sort of 'Save file' dialogue.

     If the file is some binary type (like .shk, .dsk, .zip, etc.), just clicking on the download link or button should bring up a Save dialogue-- like an alert asking if you wish to Save the file-- or take you immediately to a Save window.

     When regular (left) clicking gets you to a Save dialogue or window, it indicates that the download page's server knows that the item is not Text or that your browser is one which defaults to binary mode when the filetype is not recognized. Either way, the odds favor getting a good download.

     Many Apple II sites are on servers which have no difficulty recognizing PC filetypes like .zip and .bin but do not recognize popular Apple II filetype designations such as .shk, .sdk, and .dsk If a regular click on a download link or button for a shk, or other binary file results in a dump of garbage text to your screen, it means your browser thinks it is supposed to download some kind of Text file.

     Right-clicking or SHIFT-clicking should allow you to avoid the garbage and get a Save dialogue and download the file. However, since the browser thinks it's Text, the resulting file will probably have the linefeed character code ($0A) added after every $0D in the file which is not followed by an $0A. So, almost certainly, the download will be corrupted.

     One try at a workaround if you are on an http:// site is to try the place's ftp:// URL if it has one. If that doesn't help, contacting the FTP site via an FTP program will almost certainly work.

     If you are using an older browser, going to a newer version of IE or Netscape could get the job done. 

     If you have not defined the particular Apple II filetype in Windows and/or your browser, that may help. (See Geoff Weiss's page which talks about making web browsers aware of Apple II file types for ftp connections at .)

     If the item is available from another place, you may find that going there for your download solves the problem.

     Another pretty good alternative is to go ahead and download the .shk, etc. file and use a PC utility named "Uncook" to try producing a copy with the corruption removed.

     Uncook was 'discovered' by GS Ed (manager of the ACN Florida archive); and tests indicate that it usually succeeds when the file is corrupted. If the file is not corrupted, Uncook may produce a messed up copy! Fortunately, it is pretty easy to tell when the latter occurs.

     If the result of Uncook is a file just 2-4 or so bytes smaller, the original is probably good and the Uncook is bad. If the new (Uncooked) file is known to be the correct size (like it's a 143,360-byte .dsk file) or if it is many bytes smaller, or if the site is known to deliver corrupted files, then the Uncooked file is probably good. And, if there is any doubt, you can always try using both files-- e.g. the .sdk file which gets you a "bad data" error during unshrinking is the bad one. is available from GS WorldView's "Download Help" page at . To get Uncook, click on "Download" near the bottom of the page.

Downloading via an FTP Program

     A slightly different approach is to use a good FTP program (often called an "FTP client"), such as WS_FTP or Cute FTP. It is easier to download (or upload) multiple files, speed is usually a bit better, and, since you can force binary mode, direct FTP is not much bothered with file type recognition.

     To connect to an FTP site you can run a dial-up program to establish contact with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and start your FTP program. If you are on the net under Netscape, 'Explorer, etc., then you are already connected to your ISP and can start your FTP program as a new task.

     After starting your FTP program, you can select the FTP site you want from a list you've created. The list, also called a "profile list", contains ...

o- the site's internet name-- such as "" (Note: there are no "/" folder separators in this entry.)

o- the particular folder or directory you want to begin with-- such as "/images"

o- and the folder on your computer for downloads-- such as "C:\Downloads".

     Other information, such as the kind of connection (usually "Unix standard") and the password you send to the site-- usually you will log-in as "anonymous" and use your email address as the password-- are entered more or less automatically when you first create a site's profile entry. (To create a new entry you will usually just click "New", "Create New", etc. instead of picking a site to contact.)

     When the connection is made, you will see a list of files and folders in the folder you have entered. If you open one of the folders, you will get a new listing of files and folders contained in the selected folder.

     You can, also, change the the drive and folder on your hard disk to which you wish to download. For example, the default "local" folder may be C:\Downloads whenever you connect to Asimov. If you want downloads to go into D:\TempStuff, you can pick this destination. Another situation in which you may wish to change the local folder is when uploading files to a site.

     Practically all programs and compressed disks will be in .SHK, .SDK, .DSK, or some other "binary" form. In fact, "Binary" should nearly always be your download/upload mode setting, even when downloading (or uploading) Text files. About the only exception would be when dealing with a binscii archive site which can not handle binary.

     In general, when downloading an Apple II .SHK, .ZIP, etc. file, it is best to avoid letting any "helper" applications process the file during download. Usually, it is best to unZIP .zip and .gz files on the PC but, still, after you have completed the download. Your Apple II can take care of un-Shrinking and most other kinds of processing which may be required after the file is downloaded and transferred from the PC (or Mac).

     To download one or more files you click-highlight each file you want. Then, you click some button-- such as an arrow symbol pointing to your C:\Downloads folder-- to start the download.

     Usually everything will go smoothly and the files will appear on hard disk in your target folder (e.g. C:\Downloads).  If you use a dedicated ftp utility you will, usually, be able to see the exact length of a file on the site's file list. One good check for a successful download is to compare file lengths displayed in your target folder with those shown in the FTP site's file list. If you do straight downloads with no processing, there should be no differences for binary transfers. (Text file transfe
rs in Text mode often result in small length changes.)


002- Some of my downloads are bad; what's wrong?

     If the exact length of a downloaded file is different than its exact length on the download site (e.g. as shown via your FTP client program), the download is probably corrupted. (Text files are something of an exception-- i.e. the download length may be different and the file may have characters added; but, usually, the "corruption" has no damaging impact.)

     A common reason for getting a bad download is that a binary file-- e.g. a .shk, .dsk, etc. file-- was downloaded in Text mode. (See discussion about this in Q&A 001 above.)  An FTP program should be set to "Binary" before doing most downloads from ftp sites. If using a browser, pick one which defaults to binary mode for unrecognized file types (e.g. a current version of Internet Explorer).

     Some files may seem to be corrupted-- i.e. 'not work right'-- even if a length check shows that the download size is identical to the file's size on an ftp site. One possibility is that the file was corrupted somewhere in the upload process. This is fairly rare for files made available for download.

     A few Apple II files still include a Binary II prefix. This may cause the file to appear corrupted to some utility you try to use on a PC; but, it will work fine once transferred to your Apple II. (Normally, a modern Apple II telecom program such as Spectrum or ProTERM will be set to automatically strip off the Binary II prefix during transfer. GS-ShrinkIt and 8-bit ShrinkIt will remove a Binary II prefix from .shk, etc. ShrinkIt files.)

     The file may be okay but incorrectly named. For example, an .sys or .bin file may be shrinked but still uploaded as an ".sys" or ".bin" file (instead of ".shk").  Or, an .shk file may be uploaded in binscii form as an ".shk" file. (Such a file should end with ".bsq".)  When a downloaded .shk or .sdk file is rejected by ShrinkIt, it's a good idea to try running it through Binscii or GScii. Sometimes the result will be a genuine .shk or .sdk file.

     Other kinds of files are just misunderstood. A user who downloads a 'disk image' file named NarfGame.dsk.gz" may conclude it is "corrupted" when it is rejected by an emulator program or fails to convert to diskette with DSK2FILE or ASIMOV. But, all that's required is to decompress the .gz file using WinZIP or similar utility to produce a true .dsk disk image file.

     A source of possible confusion for IIgs users is the occasional .shk or .sdk file which looks fine but is rejected as damaged by GS-ShrinkIt. The problem may be that the file was created by a Mac owner. Sometimes these Mac-created Shrink files unShrink fine using GS-ShrinkIt; sometimes, not. Before trashing a "damaged" .shk or .sdk IIgs file, try running it through Balloon.


From: Greg J. Buchner

     Balloon is a IIGS desk accessory that was put out by Ego handles ShrinkIt archives from anywhere you can access a New Desk Accessory on the IIGS. For the Mac, you'd use Shrink II.


From: Rubywand

003- Are there any kinds of files I should process on the
     PC (or Mac) before transfer to my Apple II?

     Yes. Many old games and other interesting wares downloaded from "emulator" sites like Asimov will arrive as .gz files. These will, almost always, be compressed 5.25" disk image (DSK) files. They should be un-compressed on the PC via WinZIP before being sent to your Apple II. This avoids a messy de-compression process on the Apple and makes the DSK file available on the PC (or Mac) should you wish to use it with AppleWin or some other A2 emulator program.

Note: If you are running an FTP program under plain DOS or Windows 3.x, long file names will be truncated to fit PC's old "8 and 3" format. A .gz file may not show up in your C:\UPDOWN (or whatever) directory with the ".gz" suffix. It is still a .gz file and will not be useful as a disk image (DSK) file until it is uncompressed. The usual size of a 5.25" disk image file is about 143kB.

     Other chores you will want to handle on the PC before sending a file to your Apple II include converting .HTM (HTML) files to text and splitting up very large Text files. Similarly, it will be easier to view, process, and convert most large graphics files on the PC.


004- I need some help with uploading. I uploaded a large file to
     an Apple II ftp site but nobody seems able to download it
     without ending up with garbage. What's wrong?

     Uploading files to an FTP site is a fairly simple process-- basically, it's pretty close to the reverse of downloading described above. For example, to upload a group of Apple IIgs files named "NARFGAME" you would ...

o  On the GS, use GS-ShrinkIt to created a single compressed file 
   containing the NARFGAME files. The new .SHK file could be named
  "NARFGAME.SHK". (On an Apple IIe or other 8-bit Apple II, you
   could use an 8-bit version of ShrinkIt to compress the NARFGAME

o  Use Spectrum or some other A2 telecom program to NULL modem
   NARFGAME.SHK to, say, the PC's C:\UPDOWN folder using Z-modem
   protocol.(Z-modem is easiest; but, other protocols, like X-modem,
   are fine. Mainly, both telecom programs involved in the transfer,
   Apple II and PC, need to be set to the same protocol.)

o  Dial-up your ISP-- no need if you are already connected via
   Netscape, 'Explorer, or some other browser or application.

Uploading via a Browser

o  If you are running Netscape or some similar browser, you can do
   the upload very easily to one of several ftp sites. (Some ftp 
   sites may not permit uploading from a browser. A major Apple II
   site which will is Asimov.)

   Go to the site's upload URL-- e.g. you might type in (or click your bookmark
   for "Asimov") and click on the incoming/ folder to open it.

   Note1: The folder for uploads will usually be named "upload",
  "uploads", or "incoming". Sometimes, there will be folders inside,
   like apple2/, apple2gs/, etc. which you should open depending
   upon where you think your stuff fits.

   Note2: Some sites will show the current contents of the uploads
   folder and some will not. Often you will see a nearly blank

   Open a window for the folder on your system which has the file or
   files you want to upload. For example, you may want to upload the
   file NARFGAME.SHK which is in the C:\NeatGames\ folder on your
   hard disk. So, you would open a window for C:\NeatGames\.

   Select (click on) the files to upload and drag them onto the
   uploads page display-- you would click on NARFGAME.SHK and drag it
   onto the part of your screen showing the uploads page display
  (which may be blank).

   Click "Yes" when asked if you want to upload the file(s).

   If the site accepts your upload you will get some kind of message
   indicating this somewhere on your screen-- maybe at the bottom--
   saying "upload successful", "upload done", etc..

Uploading via an FTP program

o  If you prefer using an ftp program (e.g. WS_FTP, Cute FTP, etc.)
   or the ftp site will not permit browser uploads, start your ftp

   Select the desired FTP site's name in your "profiles list" (or,
   if necessary, create the profile entry) and connect with the
   FTP site.

   Navigate to the FTP site's uploads folder-- usually, it will be
   named "upload", "uploads", or "incoming". There may be folders
   inside this one (like apple2/, apple2gs/, etc.) to open depending
   upon what sort of stuff you are uploading.

   Note: you may or may not see any files listed when in a site's
   Uploads folder. Some FTP sites hide file names in this folder
   and/or restrict folder access to upload-only.

   For .shk, .dsk, and most other program files you upload, make
   sure 'transfer mode' is set to "binary". (For Text files, mode
   can be "text" or "ASCII"; however, "binary" mode is fine for
   Text uploads.)

   Highlight "NARFGAME.SHK" (and any other binary mode files to
   upload) in the listing of files in your C:\UPDOWN folder.

   Click an arrow button (or whatever) to start the transfer to
   the FTP site's uploads folder.

   If the upload is successful, you will usually get a message like
  "transfer complete" on your ftp program's display.

     With a little experience everything is nearly 'automatic'. However, there are a few common mistakes which can ruin an upload:

o  Probably, the most common error is failing to make sure "binary" is set (check-marked, etc.) as the transfer mode when an .SHK file or other non-Text file is uploaded using an ftp program. Basically, you should use binary mode for all uploads to modern ftp sites. If some site complains when a .txt file is uploaded in binary mode, use "text" (or "ASCII") mode for the Text file.

o  Many Apple II users seem to feel that, because "Binary Up"-- an option which adds a Binary II header-- is available on their telecom program, it should be used for all transfers. It is best to turn OFF any Spectrum (ProTerm, etc.) option which adds a Binary II header. (Also, you should _not_ use GS-ShrinkIt's option to add a Binary II header.)  A Binary II header renders a file useless until the header is stripped off; so, for example, any Text file with the header will be un-readable by a PC. If a down
loader does not have an A2 telecom program which automatically strips off the header during NULL modem transfers (or if "Binary Down" is turned OFF), the Text file will look like garbage on the Apple II as well.

o  Too many old-time Apple II users still insist upon doing a binscii conversion of all .SHK files before uploading them. When, as sometimes happens, a binscii'd .SHK file is uploaded as an ".SHK" file, downloaders end up with a ".SHK file which ShrinkIt cannot unshrink". Except for uploads to text-oriented services like comp.binaries.apple2, binscii is not necessary on the modern internet.

o  Sometimes, a user will NULL modem an Apple Text file to PC using a block transfer protocol (like Z-modem) and, then, upload the file as Text intended to be readable on-line. Such a file will, usually, be a mess when viewed on a PC.

o  Mac owners sometimes use the Mac version of ShrinkIt to create a ".SHK" archive of Apple II files which is then uploaded to an Apple II FTP site. The result is another 'mystery .SHK file' which Apple II users cannot unshrink. .SHK files uploaded to an Apple II FTP site should be created on an Apple II using an Apple II version of ShrinkIt.

     In short, most of the common uploading errors are the result of carelessness or of doing something which is unnecessary. A good uploading 'rule of thumb' is "Keep it simple".


005- What kinds of files should I upload to which sites?

  I. Many Apple II ftp sites

     These sites prefer .SHK files for stuff intended to run or be accessed on an Apple II. For example, a game which includes a program file, text Readme file, and folder of pic files would be shrinked into an .SHK file. To facilitate server compatibility, it is usually best to place files with .shk, .sdk, .dsk, and similar Apple II-specific filetypes in a .zip file.

     It is best to Shrink even compressed picture, small binary, and icon files and upload them as .SHK files because everyone is used to dealing with .SHK files and the filetype of shrinked files is preserved.

     ProDOS diskettes should, usually, be uploaded as a collection of files in a regular .SHK file. This uses less space than a whole-disk archive file.

     DOS 3.3 diskettes should be uploaded as whole-disk archive .SDK files. (That is, you have an .SHK whole-disk archive but you change its name to end with ".SDK".)

     Pictures and diagrams you want to be both useable on an Apple II and viewable on-line should be converted to .GIF form (e.g. via Super Convert) and uploaded in this form.

     If you have several pictures or diagrams you want to be accessible off-line on an Apple II as well as a PC, Mac, etc., you can convert them to .GIF form, place them all in a .ZIP file on your PC, and upload the .ZIP file.

     All of the above would be uploaded in "binary" mode.

     Text which is intended to be readable on-line should be uploaded as plain Text in "ASCII" or "Text" mode or, on most sites today, in binary mode.

     Whenever you upload a game, utility, etc. to an ftp site, it's a good idea to also upload a brief Text file with a description of the uploaded item. For example, after uploading NARFGAME2.SHK (in binary mode), you could upload a brief description in a Text file named NARFGAME.TXT (in Text or binary mode).

 II. Asimov and other Apple II emulator ftp sites

     Upload files will, generally, be individual DOS 3.3 or ProDOS disk image (.DSK) files created on an Apple II by DSK2FILE or ASIMOV. Upload in binary mode.

III. Comp.binaries.apple2

     Programs, etc. posted to this newsgroup are normally .SHK files which have been Binscii'd-- i.e. after Shrinking, the file is changed to Text form via a binscii utility.

 IV. Comp.sources.apple2

     Source files posted to this newsgroup are normally plain Text.


From: Brian Hammack

006- How can I read & send email and newsgroup messages
     with my Apple II?

     You can use a program by Tom Larson named "2qwk!".  Many PC-based BBS's and other servers have hidden among the door programs a "maildoor," which will package all unread messages in a user's chosen news groups and make them available for download as a single compressed file, called a QWK packet. (Hence "2qwk", QWK access for Apple II; get it?!)

     So, you have a QWK packet sent to your machine, which takes a few seconds to a few minutes depending on how fast the modem is and how many messages there are. Then, you can go off-line and launch 2qwk!. Selecting "Archiver" lets you start the utility of your choice (such as Angel 0.81b, available separately) to unpack the QWK packet and return to 2qwk!.

     Now, you may select "Messages" to view your news groups, scan messages by author and subject, and, finally, read individual messages. When you find a post that needs a reply, you can decide how much of the message to quote and type-in your words of wisdom. You can also haul in text from disk and, even, pick just the right tagline (snappy words at the very end of many messages seen on-line nowadays). Naturally, 2qwk! allows complete freedom to change a message title along with the group to which it is 
to be posted and to originate new messages.

     When you are done reading and replying, you exit the program and it creates a reply file, called a REP packet. The next time you connect, you simply upload the REP to the maildoor. The maildoor will decide what goes where and your messages will enter cyberspace pronto!

     To use 2qwk! you will need an enhanced Apple IIe, IIc, or IIgs, with at least 128k RAM and drive space to hold the QWK data. The program itself will fit on a 5.25" disk with plenty of room to spare. Of course, the server to which you connect must have a QWK-compatible maildoor. 2qwk! runs under ProDOS 2.x. It comes with QuickFix, a program to patch ProDOS, and other utility programs to handle MSDOS-legal names.


From: Richard Der

007- With a fast modem, how can the IIe connect to the internet?

     Get an Internet Service Provider that has the option of a text based shell account. For email, Proline and METAL BBS's work well too.


008- I'm on the Internet and running the Lynx web browser.
     It dosn't look like Netscape Navigator at all. Where do
     I put in the URL?

     Type "g" which will bring up a URL dialog. You can then type in the URL and hit return.


009- How do I download an .SHK file through Lynx? Selecting the
     link gives an unusable text dump.

     Just highlight the link, but do not press return.  Press "d"  instead, which will bring up the download dialog.


From: Rubywand

010- Can I send and receive FAXes using my Apple II?

     If your Apple II is a IIgs, yes. There are two GS FAXing programs: FAXination and PMPFAX.


011- What is a "Binary II" header?

     A Binary II header is a small block of code tacked onto some Apple II files. Sometimes, this is referred to as a "binary wrapper". Mainly, the Binary II header contains filetype information. The purpose of Binary II is to allow Apple II users to download files and have them show up with the correct filetype. (Otherwise, a downloaded file tends to show up as a TXT type file.)

     In order for a Binary II header to be recognized and used to supply the filetype info, the Apple II downloading software must have its "Binary Down" option set to ON. The problem with this is that, at least on a few popular telecom wares (like Spectrum), setting "Binary Down" to ON will turn OFF Resume Transfer, something you probably do not want to do when downloading over phone lines.

     When you use a PC or Mac to handle downloads and, then, NULL-modem the files to your Apple, it makes sense to leave "Binary Down" ON for the telecom program running on the Apple II. Resume Transfer is not necessary because you have a direct, noise-free connection between two machines. Meanwhile, Binary Down will automatically recognize and strip-off any Binary II header and save the resulting file with the correct filetype.


012- Should I add a Binary II header to files I upload?

     In general, no. Binary II is an Apple-only device which, today, is largely unnecessary and can cause problems. Virtually the only valid use for Binary II is to retain filetype information for .SEA self-extracting archives. (An .SEA file with a Binary II header is a .BSE file.) The only file which significantly benefits form a Binary II header is a self-extracting archive of GS-ShrinkIt.


From: Adalbert Goertz

013- How can I use my Apple II on the internet?

So, you have been told that you cannot get ftp or http files or images, right? Of course, you cannot read .pdf files either because you have an obsolete computer, right? Well, you are told wrong!

There is a list that you can subscribe to which tells you all you need to know about emailing efficiently. It is called "ACCMAIL". To subscribe write to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.AOL.COM with message in body:
  subscribe accmail

and you should be on. You can change the setting to digest, too, (which I recommend). 
So, how do you get ftp files? There are a number of addresses which will send you ftp files which accmail tells about. I use to get ftp files by email. I think that by sending HELP to that address you will get the rules of how to do it. 
How about surfing the net? Well, I send messages to or with SUBJECT anything (it will be ignored) and message: 
  get http://www .... .html  (i.e. the URL of the document)
You can expect to receive the www-document in your email box. 
If you need to look at the source files of the www-page, send message: 
  get http://www .... .html  
You also may simply send message HELP to the above addresses, if your request fails. This way you will find out whether or not you made a mistake in sending your request. If the http-URL is too long (more than one line), you may expect problems.

Some of the servers will send you image files, too, like .gif or .jpg files. I get these files as file attachments in my mailbox. You have to experiment to see what works for you. Some files are ready to use, others (uuencode or mime) need to be decoded with BISCIT. 
Search engines? Yes, they are available, too.

You need to know about http-URLs on keyword1 and keyword2? Send message to In the body write this:
  search keyword1 keyword2 
Voila, you are in business. 
If the http-URL contains a pdf-file, send message to or to with message:  
  http://www .... .pdf
and you will get the file back in text format. 
If you want the pdf-files back in html-format, that can be done by replacing "txt" in the URLs with "htm". 
I use Proterm 3.1 for surfing by email and have my favorite addresses available as macros.

From: Rubywand

014- Why do I get bad .zip downloads? Is there a solution?

     You may have noticed that you get good IE downloads of .zip files from some sites-- WinZip unzips the files with no problem. But, from other sites, the .zip files cannot easily be unzipped or, sometimes, not at all.

     One idea I've come across is that, starting with IE 6, Microsoft began to require that download sites provide information about .zip files, perhaps other kinds of files, too. If the information is supplied, the file arrives okay. If not, you get a 'bad' .zip file.

     Either way, there is nothing wrong with the .zip file maintained on the site. The problem is with how IE treats .zip files.

     What's happening is that the bad zip files have been gzipped and that is how they arrive, still with the ".zip" suffix. The good zip files are either not gzipped or, if they were, are sucessfully un-gzipped upon arrival.

     WinZip, at least the versions I've tried,  is confused by a gzipped file with a ".zip" suffix and will not unzip it. A solution that usually works is to rename the file, say "", to "Narf.gz". WinZip will ungzip the file and ask you to supply a suffix, which should be ".zip". Now, you have a .zip file which WinZip can unzip.

     The above seems to work in most cases; but, not always. I've come across one case where either the initial file could not be unzipped or ungzipped or the resulting .zip file could not be unzipped. Via an ftp connection to the site, I downloaded the file; it unzipped with no problem.

     Evidently, the gzipping may introduce an error, at least as far as WinZip and 7-zip are concerned.

     A simple solution is to use some browser other than IE when planning on downloading .zip files. For instance, on my Windows ME computer, .zip file downloads from Apple II sites under Netscape 4.78 work fine. Firefox users report the same result.

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM