|So let me get this straight: you installed Vista, didn't like it, used a certain program or special feature of the OS to backup files as .zip archives and then you installed Windows XP. You want to decompress these .zip archives so that you can use them for XP. Unless you have used some special software that has somehow made a .zip file more difficult than normal to open you should be able to use Windows XP's default archive manager to decompress them. |
You could also boot a Linux distribution and do the same. I know for a fact that the latest versions of Ubuntu support .zip archives. In fact, I would be surprised if most things did not support them as they are somewhat old and don't have very good compression. If you really want to save space on backup data I would say try .rar, .bz2 or .7z archives. Rar has pretty good compression, bzip2 has good enough compression for my purposes (haven't seen a comparison between bzip2 and others) and as far as I know, the 7z archives that 7-zip creates have the best compression.
If you have any trouble opening the archive for some reason I recommend trying the 7-zip archive manager I mentioned just a line ago (known as p7zip on Ubuntu, would assume the name is the same on other distributions).
If I can be of any more help please let me know.