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How to Transfer and Decompress Data and Applications

How to retrieve data or applications

Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape, and most other World Wide Web browsers that you will use to read this page, are capable of transferring selected files between our server (or one of its mirror servers) and your PC. These browsers open a Save As dialog box after you click to initiate an FTP transfer. Most browsers also allow you to view files in ASCII format on your screen without first downloading them. Many files on the World Data Center for Paleoclimatology ftpsite are simple ASCII files. Large or archive files are often compressed however. This includes .zip and .exe (self-extracting archive files). These need to be downloaded and expanded or decompressed before their contents can be viewed.

In most browsers, when the mouse is over the name or icon of a downloadable object the status line will read something like:
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pollen/pdb/unzip.exe
You can try this yourself, by placing the cursor over the highlighted unzip.exe text below.

How to decompress zipped files

The WDC for Paleoclimatology distributes certain files (e.g. Tilia files) in compressed, "zip" format to reduce both disk storage and the time required to transfer the file over the network. In addition, many different files can be stored in a single zip file, greatly simplifying data exchange.

The zip format is public domain, and programs for decompressing and restoring files to their original form are freely available. To get a version of the unzip program for MS-DOS systems, click unzip.exe. To get a copy of the documentation for this program, click unzip.doc.

How to expand self-extracting executable (.exe) files (MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows only)

Self-extracting executable files are typically zip files that can unzip themselves, thus you do not need to run unzip or pkunzip to extract their contents. Self-extracting executable files are expanded by executing them at the DOS prompt or from Windows Explorer. To execute a file, simply type its name at the DOS prompt, or double-click the name in Explorer.


Contact Us 24 April 2002