Frequently asked questions
What is KIWIX?
KIWIX is an offline reader – meaning that it allows you to check text or video that is normally only available on the internet. We turn various online educational contents (such as Wikipedia, for example) into ZIM files, and these can be opened by Kiwix even if you are no connection whatsoever.
Where is the Wikipedia content?
If you only downloaded the KIWIX reader (say, from the Google Store or iTunes), then you also need to separately download the ZIM packages with the content you want.
My ZIM file is too big. What should I do?
In some languages, Wikipedia in particular can be particularly heavy (it’s more than 5 millions articles, after all). Consider hosting your ZIM file onto a SD card, or download a version without images (nopic).
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, but if you are using a 32-bit computer (from 2012 and older) a user kindly suggest a three step procedure to try to recover use of the file. All three steps will involve typing commands into a terminal command line, so you should know what you are getting into.
In the example below we are presuming that you are using a Linux operating system but it can be done similarly on other operating systems.
First, verify that the file is correct by performing a checksum test
and comparing it to the md5sum result on the content list page. To do this, open a command line and run:
If the checksums aren’t identical, then it looks like the file has
been corrupted, so the next steps may not work.
The second step will 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
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 ‘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.
I have downloaded a ZIP file but I can’t unzip it. The file seems corrupted.
Use an unpacking software which supports the ZIP64 format (ZIP format for big files), like for example 7-zip. If this still fails, then your file was corrupted during the transfer. Please restart the download using BitTorrent, then it should work.
I can’t copy Kiwix on my USB flash drive because the index files (*.idx directory) are too big.
USB flash drives are 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.
Autorun does not work for USB keys?
It looks like the autorun functionality has been blocked for Windows 7 and higher.
Is there a user forum where Kiwix users can help each other out?
Yes, it is located here.
Can I only download the parts that I am interested in?