Frequently Asked Questions

What is Kiwix?

Kiwix is an offline reader – meaning that it allows you to browse text or video that is normally only available on the internet. We turn various online contents (such as Wikipedia, for example) into ZIM files, and these can be opened by Kiwix even if you have no connectivity.

How do I find ZIM files?

Kiwix comes without content files. You need to download them from the app’s library or download from our repository.

ZIM files are too big! Is there smaller?

In some languages, Wikipedia in particular can be particularly heavy (it’s more than 5 millions articles, after all). If you are on a phone, consider hosting your ZIM file onto an external microSD card, or download a version without images (nopic).

We will soon release thematic contents (e.g. Maths, History, etc.) so that you can pick and chose what you want!


I’m getting messages “Unable to load —. Are you sure this is a ZIM file?”

This can happen even when the ZIM file is perfect but is likely due to you using Kiwix-desktop 0.9. We recommend you download the beta version of Kiwix 2.0,

I can’t copy Kiwix on my flash drive or SD card.

Storage is often formatted using the FAT32 filesystem which can’t store files bigger than 4GB. We recommend to use exFAT or NTFS which can deal with big files and are broadly supported.

Can I only download the parts that have been updated since the version I have?

Incremental updates are not available yet, but we’ve started looking into it.

Downloads are slow or stop mid-way. How else can I get content?

All zim files are publicly available at

If you are specifically looking for a version of Wikipedia (or other Wikimedia projects), filenames are sorted by language code, e.g. _en_ for English, fr for French, ar for arabic, etc…

I went to but the connection reseted before I could finish downloading

We recommend you use a torrent downloader, for instance Deluge. To torrent any file, take its address and add “.torrent” at the end, e.g.

creates a torrent link for the blablabla zim file.


What do Mini, nopic and Maxi mean in the zim names?

File size is always an issue when downloading such big content, so we always produce each Wikipedia file in three flavours:

  • Mini: only the introduction of each article, plus the infobox. Saves about 95% of space vs. the full version.
  • nopic: full articles, but no images. About 75% smaller than the full version
  • Maxi: the default full version.

I have a 32-bit computer (Windows XP or Vista) and can't run Kiwix 2.0 nor read the newer zim files. What can I do?

A user suggested a three-step procedure to try to recover use of the file. All three steps will involve typing commands into a terminal command line. Below we are presuming that you are using a linux operating system, but it can be done similarly on other operating systems.

First, check the file’s magic number. Type:

xxd -p -l 5 [your-zim-file-name]

If the result is ‘5a494d0406’, then the third step may solve your problem.

The third step will be to alter one byte of the magic number. This will require opening the file in a hex-editor. You can use any hex-editor available to your operating system. Linux has one called ‘hexeditor’

Open the hex-editor, advance to the fifth byte of the file, which we saw above started out with a value ’06’, change the value to ’05’,and save the changes. Be careful when performing the save: if your file is huge you may not want to save it as a new file because it will take a long time and you may not have enough disk space. Using the linux ‘hexeditor’, a simple save will be instantaneous because it just writes the one-byte change to the current file.