Game guide:Backing up your game

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Creating backups are an important part of working with computers, programs, and files. Backups help protect against data corruption, hardware failure, catastrophic software mishaps, or the dreaded times when you need to reinstall your game. This game will show you how to back up your saved game data in The Sims series, and how to restore them afterwards.

Note: This game guide was written with Windows in mind only. Procedures for Mac users may differ slightly.

Backing up your files[edit | edit source]

Info information icon.png
Note
Before backing up your files, make sure you have enough space on the drive you are backing up to. You can do this by going to "My Computer" (XP), "Computer" (Vista/7/8), or "This PC" (8.1/10), right-clicking on the drive you're backing up your files to, and then clicking on "Properties". Saved games for The Sims games can range from roughly 20MB to over 1GB... and that is just for one neighborhood/world! Make sure you have plenty of free space on your storage device before attempting.

The Sims[edit | edit source]

In The Sims, your saved game data is located in the same directory as all of the core game files. Chances are you're only interested in backing up your saved games and your custom content, since all of the core game files are replaced when you reinstall the game.

Assuming you saved the game in the default location, this will be located in C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims. If you are using a 64-bit computer, this directory will be in C:\Program Files (x86)\Maxis\The Sims.

In the image below, the game was saved in a non-default location.

Backing up tutorial - TS1 img 1.png

Most of the folders you see here do not contain your saved game data, but the core game files. The two folders you probably want to back up are:

  • UserData: This folder contains your neighborhood, along with any lots and Sims you have in it. If you are playing the base game, there will only be one UserData folder. If you have any expansion packs, you will also see folders that have UserData in them followed by a number (e.g. UserData3); these are the additional neighborhoods that ship with your game. The numbers correspond to the neighborhood number you see in-game (UserData is Neighborhood 1, UserData2 is Neighborhood 2, etc.).
  • Downloads: This folder contains your custom content. If you don't have any custom content in your game, you do not need to worry about this folder.

There are two different methods you can use to back up these folders.

Option 1. Copy them to another folder[edit | edit source]

Select your Downloads folder and any UserData folders you have. (If you do not have the checkboxes on your computer, Ctrl-click on the folders to select them.)

Backing up tutorial - TS1 img 2.png

Right click on all of the selected folders and click "Copy".

Backing up tutorial - TS1 img 3.png

Now create a folder somewhere on your computer where you would like to store your backed up files in (We recommend being organized here!). You can also choose to back up to a portable flash drive or a cloud storage service, such as Google Drive. Go into that folder and right-click anywhere inside of it, then select "Paste".

Backing up tutorial - TS1 img 4.png

Yes check.svg Done! Your saved data is now backed up!

Option 2. Zip them in a ZIP file[edit | edit source]

Need help with ZIP files? See Archive file formats.

Select your Downloads folder and any UserData folders you have. (If you do not have the checkboxes on your computer, Ctrl-click on the folders to select them.)

Backing up tutorial - TS1 img 2.png

Right click on all of the selected folders, go to "Send To...", and then "Compressed (zipped) folder".

Backing up tutorial - TS1 img 5.png

A ZIP file will be created in that directory. Right-click on that and select "Cut".

Backing up tutorial - TS1 img 6.png

Now create a folder somewhere on your computer where you would like to store your backed up files in (We recommend being organized here!). You can also choose to back up to a portable flash drive or a cloud storage service, such as Google Drive. Go into that folder and right-click anywhere inside of it, then select "Paste".

Backing up tutorial - TS1 img 4.png

Yes check.svg Done! Your saved data is now backed up!

The Sims 2[edit | edit source]

In The Sims 2, your saved game data is always located in the C:\Users\<your username>\Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2 folder (This folder is C:\Documents and Settings\<your username>\My Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2 in Windows XP).

You have two options here as to how you'd like to back up your game:

Option 1. Back up the entire "The Sims 2" folder[edit | edit source]

This method will back up all of your neighborhoods, Sims, lots, custom content, Body Shop projects and creations, collections, in-game snapshots, game settings, etc. It will not back up core game files, custom content that you have installed in the core game directories, custom graphics rules settings, or the Allmenus cheat setting.

This method will also take up the most storage space, as the "The Sims 2" folder is quite large!

Option 1.1. Copy them to another folder

Right-click on the "The Sims 2" folder and select "Copy".

Backing up tutorial - TS2 method 1 img 1.png

Now create a folder somewhere on your computer where you would like to store your backed up files in (We recommend being organized here!). You can also choose to back up to a portable flash drive or a cloud storage service, such as Google Drive. Go into that folder and right-click anywhere inside of it, then select "Paste".

Backing up tutorial - TS2 method 1 img 2.png

Yes check.svg Done! Your saved data is now backed up!

Option 1.2. Zip them in a ZIP file
Need help with ZIP files? See Archive file formats.

Right-click on the "The Sims 2" folder, go to "Send To...", and then "Compressed (zipped) folder".

Backing up tutorial - TS2 method 1-2 img 1.png

A ZIP file will be created in that directory. Right-click on that and select "Cut".

Backing up tutorial - TS2 method 1-2 img 2.png

Now create a folder somewhere on your computer where you would like to store your backed up files in (We recommend being organized here!). You can also choose to back up to a portable flash drive or a cloud storage service, such as Google Drive. Go into that folder and right-click anywhere inside of it, then select "Paste".

Backing up tutorial - TS2 method 1 img 2.png

Yes check.svg Done! Your saved data is now backed up!

Option 2. Back up just your neighborhoods[edit | edit source]

This method will back up just your neighborhoods. Each neighborhood contains its own Sims, lots, sub-neighborhoods, and set of storytelling snapshots, and each neighborhood is separate from each other. This method will not back up custom content, game settings, Body Shop projects and creations, et al. This backs up less data, but also uses less storage space.

Icon-warning-48x48.png
Important
Note that in some cases, your neighborhoods can be corrupted if you restore them after removing your "Config" folder. To prevent this, run your game once before restoring your neighborhoods to ensure that the config files are properly generated.[1][2]
Option 2.1. Copy them to another folder

If you want to back up all of your neighborhoods at once, select the "Neighborhoods" folder and select "Copy". If you want to back up individual neighborhoods, go into the "Neighborhoods" folder and select the neighborhood folders you want to back up. Right-click on your selection(s) and select "Copy".

Backing up the entire "Neighborhoods" folder.

Backing up individual neighborhoods.

Now create a folder somewhere on your computer where you would like to store your backed up files in (We recommend being organized here!). You can also choose to back up to a portable flash drive or a cloud storage service, such as Google Drive. Go into that folder and right-click anywhere inside of it, then select "Paste".

Backing up tutorial - TS2 method 1 img 2.png

Yes check.svg Done! Your saved data is now backed up!

Option 2.2. Zip them in a ZIP file
Need help with ZIP files? See Archive file formats.

If you want to back up all of your neighborhoods at once, right-click on the "Neighborhoods" folder, go to "Send To...", and then "Compressed (zipped) folder". If you want to back up individual neighborhoods, go into the "Neighborhoods" folder and select the neighborhood folders you want to back up.

Backing up tutorial - TS2 method 2-2 img 1.png

A ZIP file will be created in that directory. Right-click on that and select "Cut".

Backing up tutorial - TS2 method 2-2 img 2.png

Now create a folder somewhere on your computer where you would like to store your backed up files in (We recommend being organized here!). You can also choose to back up to a portable flash drive or a cloud storage service, such as Google Drive. Go into that folder and right-click anywhere inside of it, then select "Paste".

Backing up tutorial - TS2 method 1 img 2.png

Yes check.svg Done! Your saved data is now backed up!

The Sims 3[edit | edit source]

In The Sims 3, your saved game data is always located in the C:\Users\<your username>\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3 folder (This folder is C:\Documents and Settings\<your username>\My Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3 in Windows XP).

Save games work a little differently in The Sims 3. Instead of each household being its own saved game, which are in turn collectively organized in neighborhoods that are separate from each other, saves consist of entire worlds with one actively played household. Saves are displayed in the main menu and can easily be duplicated in-game. It is still possible to back up saved games in the traditional method, however.

Method 1. Backing up from the main menu[edit | edit source]

Start up the game and enter the main menu. Click on the saved game you want to back up, then select the "Copy Town" option.

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 1 img 1.png

You will be prompted to give your saved game a new name. This name will appear in the main menu and in your "Saves" folder. It may help to suffix a number and increment it as you go along (e.g. "Bridgeport" → "Bridgeport (2)" when you copy for the first time, then "Bridgeport (2)" → "Bridgeport (3)" after that, and so on).

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 1 img 2.png

You will see another copy of your saved game in the main menu, and in the "Saves" folder.

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 3 img 3.png

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 3 img 4.png

Right-click on the new folder that was created and select "Cut".

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 3 img 5.png

Now create a folder somewhere on your computer where you would like to store your backed up files in (We recommend being organized here!). You can also choose to back up to a portable flash drive or a cloud storage service, such as Google Drive. Go into that folder and right-click anywhere inside of it, then select "Paste".

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 3 img 6.png

Method 2. Backing up using the "Save" option[edit | edit source]

Simply save your game using the "Save" option. The game will automatically create a backup of your save in the state before you saved the game, which will be located in your "Saves" folder with the ".backup" suffix.

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 2 img 1.png

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 2 img 2.png

Right-click on the backup folder and select "Cut".

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 2 img 3.png

Now create a folder somewhere on your computer where you would like to store your backed up files in (We recommend being organized here!). You can also choose to back up to a portable flash drive or a cloud storage service, such as Google Drive. Go into that folder and right-click anywhere inside of it, then select "Paste".

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 3 img 6.png

Method 3. Backing up using the "Save As" option[edit | edit source]

Save your game using the "Save As" option.

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 3 img 1.png

You will be prompted to give your saved game a new name. This name will appear in the main menu and in your "Saves" folder. If you want to use the "Save As" function every time you save your game, it may help to suffix a number and increment it as you go along (e.g. "Bridgeport" → "Bridgeport (2)" when you save for the first time, then "Bridgeport (2)" → "Bridgeport (3)" after that, and so on).

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 3 img 2.png

You will see another copy of your saved game in the main menu, and in the "Saves" folder.

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 3 img 3.png

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 3 img 4.png

Right-click on the new folder that was created and select "Cut".

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 3 img 5.png

Now create a folder somewhere on your computer where you would like to store your backed up files in (We recommend being organized here!). You can also choose to back up to a portable flash drive or a cloud storage service, such as Google Drive. Go into that folder and right-click anywhere inside of it, then select "Paste".

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 3 img 6.png

Method 4. Backing up using Windows/File Explorer (traditional method)[edit | edit source]

This method will back up all of your user files, including your custom content, mods, saved Sims, family bin Sims, etc. It will not back up core game files or any modifications you made to said files.

Method 4.1. Copy them to another folder

Right-click on the "The Sims 3" folder and select "Copy".

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 4-1 img 1.png

Now create a folder somewhere on your computer where you would like to store your backed up files in (We recommend being organized here!). You can also choose to back up to a portable flash drive or a cloud storage service, such as Google Drive. Go into that folder and right-click anywhere inside of it, then select "Paste".

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 4-1 img 2.png

Yes check.svg Done! Your saved data is now backed up!

Method 4.2. Zip them in a ZIP file
Need help with ZIP files? See Archive file formats.

Right-click on the "The Sims 3" folder, go to "Send To...", and then "Compressed (zipped) folder".

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 4-2 img 1.png

A ZIP file will be created in that directory. Right-click on that and select "Cut".

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 4-2 img 2.png

Now create a folder somewhere on your computer where you would like to store your backed up files in (We recommend being organized here!). You can also choose to back up to a portable flash drive or a cloud storage service, such as Google Drive. Go into that folder and right-click anywhere inside of it, then select "Paste".

Backing up tutorial - TS3 method 4-1 img 2.png

Yes check.svg Done! Your saved data is now backed up!

The Sims 4[edit | edit source]

This section is in need of additional information. You can help The Sims Wiki by expanding this section.

Restoring from backup[edit | edit source]

Now that you know how to back up your saved data, this section will show you how to restore them in the event of an unfortunate mishap that results in you needing to restore from backup.

The Sims[edit | edit source]

Before you restore any files, go to your C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims folder ( C:\Program Files (x86)\Maxis\The Sims for 64-bit computers) and delete the Downloads and UserData folders. This is important, since they may contain a different set of files than the ones you have in your backup, and if you try to mix and match, you could potentially break something! You can also back these files up before you begin; just make sure you've organized all of your backups so you don't get mixed up.

Restoring tutorial - TS1 delete old files.png

Option 1. If you backed up by copying files to another folder[edit | edit source]

Go to the folder where you placed your backup files in. If you want to keep a copy of your backups (and we recommend you do!), select the folders, right-click on them, and click "Copy".

Restoring tutorial - TS1 method 1 img 1.png

Go to the game directory, right-click on an empty spot in the folder, and then select "Paste".

Restoring tutorial - TS1 method 1 img 2.png

Yes check.svg Done! Your data has now been restored! You may want to start up the game to make sure everything's working correctly.

Option 2. If you backed up by zipping them in a ZIP file[edit | edit source]

Go to the folder where you placed your backup files in. Right-click on the ZIP file you created and select "Extract All".

Restoring tutorial - TS1 method 2 img 1.png

Click on "Browse" and then navigate to the game directory.

Restoring tutorial - TS1 method 2 img 2.png

Restoring tutorial - TS1 method 2 img 3.png

Click on "Extract". Wait for all the files to be extracted and placed into the game directory.

Restoring tutorial - TS1 method 2 img 4.png

Yes check.svg Done! Your data has now been restored! You may want to start up the game to make sure everything's working correctly.

The Sims 2[edit | edit source]

Option 1. If you backed up your entire "The Sims 2" folder[edit | edit source]

First, delete your entire C:\Users\<your username>\Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2 (C:\Documents and Settings\<your username>\My Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2 in Windows XP) folder. This is important, since if you're restoring from backup, you want to make sure that all of the backup files are correctly restored and that there aren't any newer files in there that could potentially cause problems. You can also choose to back this folder up again; just make sure you've organized all of your backups so you don't get mixed up.

Restoring tutorial - TS2 delete old files.png

Option 1.1 If you backed up by copying files to another folder

Go to the folder where you placed your backup files in. If you want to keep a copy of your backups (and we recommend you do!), select the folder, right-click on it, and click "Copy".

Restoring tutorial - TS2 method 1-1 img 1.png

Go to C:\Users\<your username>\Documents\EA Games (C:\Documents and Settings\<your username>\My Documents\EA Games in Windows XP), right-click on an empty spot in the folder, and then select "Paste".

Restoring tutorial - TS2 method 1-1 img 2.png

Yes check.svg Done! Your data has now been restored! You may want to start up the game to make sure everything's working correctly.

Option 1.2. If you backed up by zipping them in a ZIP file

Go to the folder where you placed your backup files in. Right-click on the ZIP file you created and select "Extract All".

Restoring tutorial - TS2 method 1-2 img 1.png

Click on "Browse" and then navigate to C:\Users\<your username>\Documents\EA Games (C:\Documents and Settings\<your username>\My Documents\EA Games in Windows XP).

Restoring tutorial - TS2 method 1-2 img 2.png

Restoring tutorial - TS2 method 1-2 img 3.png

Click on "Extract". Wait for all the files to be extracted and placed into the game directory.

Restoring tutorial - TS2 method 1-2 img 4.png

Yes check.svg Done! Your data has now been restored! You may want to start up the game to make sure everything's working correctly.

Option 2. If you backed up just your neighborhoods[edit | edit source]

Icon-warning-48x48.png
Important
Note that in some cases, your neighborhoods can be corrupted if you restore them after removing your "Config" folder. To prevent this, run your game once before restoring your neighborhoods to ensure that the config files are properly generated.[3][4]

Go to C:\Users\<your username>\Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Neighborhoods (C:\Documents and Settings\<your username>\My Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Neighborhoods in Windows XP). If you are restoring all of your neighborhoods, delete the entire folder. If you are restoring individual neighborhoods, delete the neighborhood folders that you are about to replace.

Restoring tutorial - TS2 method 2-1 img 3.png

Restoring tutorial - TS2 method 2-1 img 4.png

Option 2.1. If you backed up by copying files to another folder

Go to the folder where you placed your backup files in. If you want to keep a copy of your backups (and we recommend you do!), select the folder, right-click on it, and click "Copy".

Restoring tutorial - TS2 method 2-1 img 1.png

Restoring tutorial - TS2 method 2-1 img 2.png

Right-click on an empty spot in the folder, and then select "Paste".

Restoring tutorial - TS2 method 2-1 img 5.png

Restoring tutorial - TS2 method 2-1 img 6.png

Yes check.svg Done! Your data has now been restored! You may want to start up the game to make sure everything's working correctly.

Option 2.2. If you backed up by zipping them in a ZIP file

Go to the folder where you placed your backup files in. Right-click on the ZIP file you created and select "Extract All".

Restoring tutorial - TS2 method 2-2 img 1.png

Click on "Browse". If you're restoring your entire Neighborhoods folder, navigate to C:\Users\<your username>\Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2 (C:\Documents and Settings\<your username>\My Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2 in Windows XP). If you're restoring individual neighborhoods, navigate to C:\Users\<your username>\Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Neighborhoods (C:\Documents and Settings\<your username>\My Documents\EA Games\The Sims 2\Neighborhoods in Windows XP).

Restoring tutorial - TS2 method 2-2 img 2.png

Restoring tutorial - TS2 method 2-2 img 3.png

Yes check.svg Done! Your data has now been restored! You may want to start up the game to make sure everything's working correctly.

The Sims 3[edit | edit source]

Method 1. If you followed Methods 1 or 3[edit | edit source]

Go to the folder where you placed your backup files in. If you want to keep a copy of your backups (and we recommend you do!), select the folders, right-click on them, and click "Copy".

Restoring tutorial - TS3 method 1 img 1.png

Go to your C:\Users\<your username>\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Saves folder, right-click on an empty spot in the folder, and then select "Paste". (If a folder with the same name as the one you're about to paste exists already, you must delete it completely before pasting the backed up copy)

Restoring tutorial - TS3 method 1 img 2.png

Yes check.svg Done! Your data has now been restored! You may want to start up the game to make sure everything's working correctly.

Method 2. If you followed Method 2[edit | edit source]

Go to the folder where you placed your backup files in. If you want to keep a copy of your backups (and we recommend you do!), select the folder, right-click on them, and click "Copy".

Restoring tutorial - TS3 method 2 img 1.png

Go to your C:\Users\<your username>\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3\Saves folder, right-click on an empty spot in the folder, and then select "Paste".

Restoring tutorial - TS3 method 1 img 2.png

Rename the folder you just pasted and remove the ".backup" suffix. Do not touch the ".sims3" suffix. If a folder with the same name as the one you're renaming your backed up copy to exists already, you must delete it completely before renaming.

Restoring tutorial - TS3 method 2 img 2.png

Restoring tutorial - TS3 method 2 img 3.png

Yes check.svg Done! Your data has now been restored! You may want to start up the game to make sure everything's working correctly.

Method 3. If you backed up using the traditional method[edit | edit source]

First, delete your entire C:\Users\<your username>\Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3 folder (C:\Documents and Settings\<your username>\My Documents\Electronic Arts\The Sims 3 in Windows XP). This is important, since if you're restoring from backup, you want to make sure that all of the backup files are correctly restored and that there aren't any newer files in there that could potentially cause problems. You can also choose to back this folder up again; just make sure you've organized all of your backups so you don't get mixed up.

Method 3.1. If you backed up by copying files to another folder

Go to the folder where you placed your backup files in. If you want to keep a copy of your backups (and we recommend you do!), select the folder, right-click on it, and click "Copy".

Restoring tutorial - TS3 method 3-1 img 1.png

Go to C:\Users\<your username>\Documents\Electronic Arts (C:\Documents and Settings\<your username>\My Documents\Electronic Arts in Windows XP), right-click on an empty spot in the folder, and then select "Paste".

Restoring tutorial - TS3 method 3-1 img 2.png

Yes check.svg Done! Your data has now been restored! You may want to start up the game to make sure everything's working correctly.

Method 3.2. If you backed up by zipping them in a ZIP file

Go to the folder where you placed your backup files in. Right-click on the ZIP file you created and select "Extract All".

Restoring tutorial - TS3 method 3-2 img 1.png

Click on "Browse" and then navigate to C:\Users\<your username>\Documents\Electronic Arts (C:\Documents and Settings\<your username>\My Documents\Electronic Arts in Windows XP).

Restoring tutorial - TS3 method 3-2 img 2.png

Restoring tutorial - TS3 method 3-2 img 3.png

Click on "Extract". Wait for all the files to be extracted and placed into the game directory.

Restoring tutorial - TS3 method 3-2 img 4.png

Yes check.svg Done! Your data has now been restored! You may want to start up the game to make sure everything's working correctly.

The Sims 4[edit | edit source]

This section is in need of additional information. You can help The Sims Wiki by expanding this section.

Backing up to other storage devices[edit | edit source]

The above guide has covered how to back up to your computer's main drive in a different directory from where the game files are housed. While this preserves your data when you reinstall your game, it won't work if you suffer a fatal hardware failure, or if you lose access to the computer where your backup was saved in. In such circumstances, you can also choose to save your backup files to another storage device, such as a USB flash drive, or to a cloud storage solution, such as Google Drive.

USB flash drive[edit | edit source]

Backing up to

First, plug in your USB flash drive.

Backing up gg - flashdrive method img 1.JPG

Copy the files that you want to back up.

Backing up gg - flashdrive method img 2.png

Go to "This PC" (8.1/10), "Computer" (Vista/7), or "My Computer" (XP), and open the flash drive you plugged in.

Backing up gg - flashdrive method img 3.png

Right-click on an empty spot in there (or in the folder of your choosing) and select "Paste".

Backing up gg - flashdrive method img 4.png

Restoring from

Again, plug in your flash drive and open the folder where you saved your backup files.

Backing up gg - flashdrive method img 3.png

Right-click on your backup and select "Copy".

Restoring from gg - flashdrive method img 1.png

Then paste them into the folder of your choosing on your main drive.

Restoring from gg - flashdrive method img 2.png

Cloud storage[edit | edit source]

In this game guide, we will use Google Drive. While other cloud storage providers differ slightly in their instructions, in general it should all work the same.

Backing up to Google Drive is easy. Simply open Google Drive in your browser, navigate to the folder you wish to place the backup file into, and then drag and drop the file.

Backing up gg - gdrive method img 1.gif

To restore the file, simply right-click on the file in Google Drive and then select "Download". Depending on your browser settings, you will be able to decide where you wish to send the downloaded file to.

Restoring from gg - gdrive method img 1.png

Restoring from gg - gdrive method img 2.png

Archive file formats[edit | edit source]

Saved games can get pretty large at times, so there is also the option to store them in an archive file, also known as a compressed folder. A compressed folder is basically a file that contains other files that have been compressed to reduce their file sizes. These compressed folders are handy, since they can reduce the amount of storage space your files use, and make it easy to share with other people. In fact, most custom content creators and modders distribute their works through these compressed folders. Files inside compressed folders must be extracted, or uncompressed, before they can be used, however. They are therefore best used to store files that do not need to be accessed all the time, or for transporting files between computers.

There are many different archive file formats out there, and countless programs that can handle the job of compressing and extracting files. We used the ZIP file format, which most modern operating systems have built-in support for, in this game guide. We also used the compressing and extracting functionality built into Microsoft's Windows Explorer (known as File Explorer in Windows 8.1 and 10).[n 1]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. If you're a more advanced user, we recommend the 7z file format, which has the best compression ratios compared to other archive formats; you will need the (free) 7-zip utility to use this format though.

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]