Command-Line Compression in Server Core

This post talk about handling compressed files in Windows Server 2008 running as a Core server. You know, that thing with no pretty graphical interface and just a big command prompt that stares at you, daring you to try some successful administration. Core mode is pretty slick – super-small footprint on the disk, great memory […]

This post talk about handling compressed files in Windows Server 2008 running as a Core server. You know, that thing with no pretty graphical interface and just a big command prompt that stares at you, daring you to try some successful administration.

Core mode is pretty slick – super-small footprint on the disk, great memory utilization, and plenty of useful roles that can be installed. But sheesh – it can be a real pain in the tail if your command-line skills are rusty or if you just haven’t ever had to deal with certain operations sans GUI.

So, quick question: have you tried to zip a file on a Core server yet? It’s sorta hard… because there is no zip.

With Core, there is no Explorer, so there is no file compression functionality. What if you need to compress a file on your Core server in order to copy it over some awfully slow connection and you want to do it all locally? You have two options:

  1. Make sure you have one of the 400 billion trillion zillion command-line zipping tools installed on your Core servers. Many of which are free even for commercial use, if you are that ‘frugal’.
  2. Cheat like a pro, and use MAKECAB.EXE and EXPAND.EXE.

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