Windows cannot complete the extraction/ The compressed (zipped) folder is invalid

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
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Windows cannot complete the extraction The compressed (zipped) folder is invalid

Zip files are perhaps the most popular archive file format in the world. We all have had to deal with them when using a computer. That’s why it can get really annoying when we try to extract one just to be met with an error. ‘Windows cannot complete the extraction’ and ‘The compressed (zipped) folder is invalid‘ are two of the most common errors you’ll face when dealing with a zip file on Windows. In this article, we’ll look at how we can deal with them.

Windows cannot complete the extraction

You’ll face this error when trying to extract a zipped folder. In fact, there are a couple of variations of the error you can face when trying to extract folders. You’ll find the most common variations below.

The destination file couldn’t be created [FIX]

This error‘s name is pretty self-explanatory.  This error usually happens because you don’t have permission to create the destination file. This usually means the zip folder exists in a protected location, for example, the root folder of the C drive or Program Files folder. You can fix this issue simply by copying the zip to another location where you have full access. This can be the Desktop, Documents, or wherever you keep your files.

The file name(s) would be too long for the destination [FIX]

Path too long error

This one happens when the zip folder contains a file that has a long name or it contains a long string of folders inside one another. Windows Explorer only accepts paths that are less than 260 characters (including the file name); it will refuse to handle longer ones by throwing an error. There are two ways to fix this problem depending on which side you want to tackle:

Fix this error by making the path less than 260 characters

By tackling the long paths, you can either rename the files in question or restructure the folders in such a way that no path is longer than 260 characters.

Sometimes, changing the location of the zip file works too.  If your zip file is in ‘’, moving it to a location with a shorter path will save you some characters, and might solve your problem.

Fix this error by configuring Windows to support longer paths

This is a newly introduced feature in Windows 10. You can now increase the maximum path length allowed in Windows Explorer by configuring the Registry. There is a catch, although. This method introduces some compatibility issues with old 32bit applications, so if you are using or planning to use those applications, the first method might be safer for you.

  1. Open the Registry. The easiest way to do that is by pressing windows+ R and typing ‘regedit’.typing regedit in run Windows cannot complete the extraction
  2. Use the left navigation to go to this address “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\FileSystem”.LongPathEnabled in Registry
  3. Double click on ‘LongPathsEnabled’.
  4. Make sure the Value Data is set to one.Change value to one Windows cannot complete the extraction
  5. Restart your computer.

That’s it. You can now use file lengths much larger than 260 characters, and you shouldn’t encounter the file name(s) would be too long for the destination error anymore.

The compressed (zipped) folder is invalid [FIX]

This error can occur when trying to extract or open a zipped folder. It is the most ambiguous of the errors and the hardest to fix. Below, we’ll look at a couple of methods to fix it:

Fix by redownloading the archive file

Perhaps the easiest thing to do is redownloading the archive. Your download manager could’ve faced an internal error or your internet connection messed up during the downloading process. This could’ve led to you downloading a corrupt file. Redownloading the file, if the size is small, would be really easy to do and wouldn’t require any substantial effort. No method other than redownloading can help you with a thoroughly corrupt file.

Fix by using third party archive handling software

You should try using another program instead of the built-in Windows zip extractor. While the built-in program is great, there is no denying it that it can’t stack up to some third parties applications out there. We have a great article explaining the top 5 open source file archives. Sometimes trying another program solves the issue.

Fix by using recovery and repair programs

These programs scan the archive for any potential errors and automatically fix it if it is possible. The catch is that most of these programs are shareware and must be bought. WinRAR, although not exclusively an archive recovery program, can fix and repair archive files. It should be able to fix the Windows cannot complete the extraction error.

You should give it a try as it comes with a forty-days free trial.

Fix by finding another source to get the file

If you’ve obtained the archive from the internet, you should try to find an alternative source to download the archive. Sometimes there is no way around it, the archive was uploaded to their system significantly corrupted, and no tool can help with that. Thankfully, it is very rare that you can find a file only on one server, and in most cases, if you look hard enough, you should be able to get the file from another source.


We went over the most common errors you’ll face when handling a zip archive on Windows including the commonplace Windows cannot complete the extraction (and all of its variations). We hope you’ve found this article useful and informative. Please tell us in the comment section if we’ve missed any specific error, or if there is a better and easier way to handle one of these errors.