DropZip: When I 'zip' a file Windows Users can't open it


I often need to compress my drawings or word processing files when sending them via E-mail. When I make a Zip file using Stuffit DropZip (or ZipIt! for Mac), the Windows PC users can't open it. Why?


A registered copy of Drop Stuff or ZipIt! or a full version of Stuffit Deluxe.


Mac, Windows, and Unix computers all support 'binary' formatting. However, each platform's version of binary is slightly different. It's a bit like comparing vanilla ice cream and french vanilla ice cream. Both are 'vanilla' but just slightly different. That slight difference makes a big difference. A file zipped on a Mac using the Mac 'flavor' for Binary (MacBinary) can't be read on a WinTel PC. A file zipped on a PC using the PC 'flavor' of binary can't be read on a Mac.

The problem you describe sounds like a simple case of the 'wrong flavor' / wrong preferences set in the Stuffit Drop Zip Application.

What To Do

Here's the sure fire way to make sure the Files zipped on your Mac can be read on a PC or Other Systems.

Stage One: Check and set the DropZip Preferences as follows:

  1. Launch DropZip
  2. choose Preferences -> Click on the MacBinary Icon
  3. Click on the NEVER radio button
  4. press OK

The results should look like the following image. These settings will mean when the file is Zipped, it will NOT contain any binary information which makes it readable on a PC. You'll never need to perform this step again unless you reinstall the application.

DropZip -> Preferences -> NEVER use Macbinary


Stage Two: Now, simply do this to compress (zip) the file:

  1. save the file on your Mac to a location you can easily find (for example the Desktop)
  2. drag and drop it onto the DropZip Icon.
  3. This makes a *.zip archive containing your file. E.G. MyFileName.dwg.zip
  4. To be 'extra safe' you should rename the file so it has Only a .zip ending
    • E.G. MyFileName.dwg.zip should be renamed to MyFileName.zip
    • while most windows modern windows operating systems will not have a problem with the original MyFileName.dwg.zip filename, some older Windows Operating systems can. We're recommending the safest solution but either method can work

  5. Attach the file created in (2) to your email message and send it (or burn onto CD or send it on a Zip Disk or other physical media)

As an alternative to Zipping a file (*.zip) , you can also set the Drop Stuff Preferences to create a Self Extracting Windows Archive. This will essentially make a *.exe file. The *.exe file can be double clicked in Windows and the contents of the archive containing your file will be expanded.

We hope that helps

If you found this article or the website in general to be helpful, educational or a time and money saver you can show your support. Thank you ~ Brian (huc) Huculak

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I would get winrar and use

I would get winrar and use it to compress files so that you can also use rar files, i have a huge file extensions list that it uses to make zip and other files

stuffit deluxe works with RAR too

note that stuffit deluxe works with RAR too

Problem doesn't exist with newer versions of Stuffit

If you're using Stuffit 11 or 12, the above noted problem doesn't exist. That is, MacBinary isn't an option in those versions of the application. It might have also been corrected in Stuffit 10 but my memory is a bit foggy going that far back ;P LOL So please just double check your settings/preferences when using older versions of Stuffit to make Zip archives.

Frankly the built in solution for making zip archives exists in Mac OS? X (related article INTL URL ) and I think it's much more convenient to do the same job and I've never had issues with Mac or Windows users being unable to open the zip archive.

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