Compressed files are common place on the Internet. More often than not the files you download from the Internet contain some form of compressed files. While ZIP and RAR are the most common formats in the Windows world, tar.gz is widely used on the Linux side.
As you might be knowing that you require special software to extract these files. WinRAR and WinZIP are the most common choices. However, these are not free and after the trial period is over you may be greeted with a nag screen or not allowed to use the product all together. So its time we go looking for some alternatives.
As it stands there is just a perfect alternative for all your archiving and extracting needs. Its 7-Zip. 7-Zip is free, open source and apparently performs better than its commercial counterparts. It is available for 98/ME/NT/2000/XP/Vista as well as for Linux. Let’s just see what 7-Zip has to offer:
As soon as you fire it up you are greeted by the powerful file manager. Using it is pretty intuitive. You can perform basic functions like extracting, testing, creating or copying/moving archives
I however like to utilise the integration with Windows Shell. I am sure you will like it this way as well. 7-zip integrates tightly with the right click menu. You can choose which menu options appear in when you click an archive, so it doesn’t clutter your context menu. Just click on file and choose the appropriate action and 7-zip does the rest, quickly and efficiently
7-Zip supports creating and extracting archives which are in 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZ2 and TAR format while it can extract (not create) archives in ARJ, CAB, CHM, CPIO, DEB, DMG, HFS, ISO, LZH, LZMA, MSI, NSIS, RAR, RPM, UDF, WIM, XAR and Z formats. That’s more file formats supported than you would ever need. A downside can be that is doesn’t allow you to create RAR archives if you use RAR a lot. As for me that is not an issue because of all the other formats that it supports. In particular the 7z format offers better compression than other formats so you might want to look into that.
Don’t take my word for it, the 7-Zip site offers details on how 7-Zip(and the 7z format) compares performance wise with some of the commercial offerings out there:
Another 7-Zip feature that I simply adore is that you can encrypt your data when you are creating an archive in 7z or Zip format. Add in a password and you have got your data protected. Additionally you can choose to encrypt the filename as well if you think the name is giving away too much of information.
Developers can also get access to LZMA SDK that allows you to use compression in your applications. Visit the 7-Zip home page for more details.
7-Zip is perfect for your daily archival needs. Its free, its open source and its better, I have never looked for anything else since I started using it. Give it a shot and let us know how you liked it