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In order to unpack (extract) files from a ZIPped package you should use a special program. Probably most popular and easy to use is WinZip. You can download it from http://www.winzip.com. Windows XP has a built-in support for ".zip" files so, if you use Windows XP, there's no need for additional software.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that a ".zip" package usually contains a collection of files that should be extracted somewhere before you can use them. It doesn't matter what program you use to extract files. Just follow its instructions to do it and put extracted files in place of your choice. It's better to create a special folder for such cases. Alternatively you can use temporary folder provided by Windows.
Once files are extracted you should examine them. If you see one named "Install.exe" or "Setup.exe" among them then you can double click it to complete installation process. Even though archives are very convenient when used on a bunch of files, they can be used to pack a single file to reduce its size. So if you have extracted a single file with its name ending with ".scr" then you should keep reading.
* Bare screensaver files
As I have said before, these files have their name ending with ".scr". They are screensavers themselves. That is, they are programs that create all these amazing effects when started. You can find some details about them in my article "Windows Screensavers Explained" at http://www.elasticsystems.com/articles.html .
The easiest known way to install ".scr" files is to right click on them and then choose "Install" from available menu options. Once you do this, Windows will set screensaver as default and open Display Properties dialog where you can adjust screensaver's settings if you wish.
This way has some disadvantages though. First, you should be careful with where you keep screensaver file. If you have put it in temporary folder and it is likely to be deleted or moved somewhere else later, then system won't find screensaver anymore. So you'd better create a special folder for screensavers that you choose to install this way. Second, if you select another screensaver from list in Display Properties dialog then Windows will forget any screensaver installed using described method. That is, you will have to right click it and choose "Install" once and again.
Nevertheless, this way is very convenient if you just want to take a look at screensaver, play with its settings and delete it. If you really like screensaver and want it to brighten boring cloudy days then you'd better find a cozier place to keep it.
How do you find such place? It's easy. What you need is to drag screensaver into your Windows folder. If you use Windows 95/98 or Windows Me then chances are this folder is on your drive C: and has a name of "Windows". If you use Windows NT/2000 or Windows XP then it's probably on your drive C: and is called "WINNT". Once you put screensaver in this folder it will be available in list of installed screensavers in Display Properties dialog. Now you can select it whenever you wish. Furthermore, you should worry no more about reinstalling it every time you change your mind and select another screensaver.
TIP: Sometimes you download a ZIPped installation package for screensaver, extract its contents to some folder and find there both "Setup.exe" (or "Install.exe") and ".scr" files. In this case double clicking "Install" or "Setup" is preferred way. That's because installation program will perform all steps needed to install screensaver like copying necessary files, updating system registry, providing uninstaller and so on. Simply copying ".scr" file to Windows folder apparently won't do it.
Now that you have a few more useful tricks under your belt, you can install much more screensavers. Add here acquired confidence that those screensavers you like are ready to please you whenever you wish and there's a good reason to become a bit happier.
Roman Kramar is a software developer who enjoys writing screensavers as his time permits. Visit his site at http://www.elasticsystems.com/ to find out more about screensavers and his work.