Use PowerShell to Zip Multiple Folders

Summary: Use Windows PowerShell to create a .zip archive of multiple folders.

Hey, Scripting Guy! Question Hey, Scripting Guy! I need to compress multiple folders before I attempt to archive them. I would like to do this without having to install additional software. Can you help?


Hey, Scripting Guy! Answer Hello DR,

Microsoft Scripting Guy, Ed Wilson, is here. This afternoon I am sipping a red berry tea and munching on a chocolate biscotti. Maybe it is not too exciting, but it is relaxing. I am looking over my email sent to on my Surface 3 Pro, and things are good.

One of the cool things about the free update to Windows 8.1 from Windows 8 is that in addition to including Windows PowerShell 4.0, it includes .NET Framework 4.5, which is way cool. The thing I love the best is the improved compression classes. It makes working with .zip files a piece of cake.

I have a folder on my laptop that I use for backing up files, creating archives, and stuff like that. So, I do not need to check to see if a folder exists or worry about overwriting such a folder. Here is the path assignment in my script:

$path = "C:\backup"

I use the Get-ChildItem cmdlet to find all of the folders I want to archive. In this example, I want to archive all of my FSO* types of folders. I test my command before I add it to my script. This is the command and its output:

PS C:\> Get-ChildItem -Path c:\ -Filter "fso?" -Directory

    Directory: C:\

Mode                LastWriteTime     Length Name                                      

—-                ————-     —— —-                                      

d—-          3/4/2015   9:47 AM            fso                                        

d—-          3/9/2015   3:28 PM            fso1                                      

d—-          3/9/2015   3:28 PM            fso2                                      

d—-          3/9/2015   3:28 PM            fso3       

The cool thing is that in the Windows PowerShell ISE, I can highlight only the portion of the command I want to use, and that is what runs. So my actual command will be:

$source = Get-ChildItem -Path c:\ -Filter "fso?" -Directory

I know that this returns a DirectoryInfo object, and that I need to access specific properties to get to the individual folder paths—but I will do that later.

I need to add the assembly that contains the compress classes, so I do this here:

Add-Type -assembly ""

I now need to create the destination path for each archive I will create. I do this inside a loop that walks through my collection of DirectoryInfo objects. This script is shown here:

Foreach ($s in $source)


  $destination = Join-path -path $path -ChildPath "$($"

I keep only one archive of a folder in my Backup folder at a time, so if the archive exists, I want to delete it. Here is the script that accomplishes that task:

If(Test-path $destination) {Remove-item $destination}

Now it is the simple task of creating the archive. Here is the command:

[io.compression.zipfile]::CreateFromDirectory($s.fullname, $destination)

The complete script is shown here:

$path = "C:\backup"

$source = Get-ChildItem -Path c:\ -Filter "fso?" -Directory

Add-Type -assembly ""

Foreach ($s in $source)


  $destination = Join-path -path $path -ChildPath "$($"

  If(Test-path $destination) {Remove-item $destination}

  [io.compression.zipfile]::CreateFromDirectory($s.fullname, $destination)}

I check to see if the archives exist. As shown in the following image, they do:

Image of folder

DR, that is all there is to using Windows PowerShell to create a .zip archive of multiple folders. Zip Week will continue tomorrow when I will talk about more cool stuff.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Facebook. If you have any questions, send email to me at, or post your questions on the Official Scripting Guys Forum. See you tomorrow. Until then, peace.

Ed Wilson, Microsoft Scripting Guy 

Comments (1)

  1. Chris M. says:

    Great tip, BUT… how can I do this in PowerShell 2.0.
    Cannot add type. The assembly ‘System.IO.Compression.FileSystem’ could not be found.

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