For Windows, an open-source tool for manipulating all sorts of zip files
Windows Vista / Windows 8 / Windows 98 SE / Windows ME / Windows 2000 / Windows 2003 / Windows 7 / Windows XP / Windows 98 / Windows NT
7-Zip is a piece of software that allows you to compress files and extract information from zipped files. This tool is entirely free, and it offers nearly the same functionality as WinRAR.
If you've ever used any compression or 'zipping' software, you'll probably be fairly familiar with the UI for 7-Zip. It features a command line that helps you find files to either compress or unzip, and the main window of the app is a file manager where all the action occurs.
You can use the control panel to perform basic functions like Test, Add, and Extract, and you'll also find functions for moving, copying, and deleting files. Just like other similar programs, such as WinRAR and WinZip, 7-Zip is fast, efficient, and intuitive. It works with the most common formats for archiving, including ISO, RAR, ZIP, and TAR.
7-Zip stands out from the crowd when it comes to the actual process of archiving files. WinRAR also lets you compress files into ZIP or RAR formats, and WinZip only includes compress-to-ZIP functionality. With 7-Zip, you'll have five formats to select from when archiving files.
There are a number of update modes in the software as well. You can use these modes to sync files across several archives, add files to archives, replace files within archives, and refresh the archive entirely. Archives can be protected with passwords for the ultimate security.
One of the most useful functions in 7-Zip is the Split tool. This tool helps you fit a large archive onto multiple physical mediums or smaller files for easier transfers. This means you can take a single huge archive, split it into multiple parts, then save each part onto a DVD or CD. This also makes it easier to share archives online since many services have a limit to the file size that can be transferred.
7-Zip might have a number of strengths over the main competitors in the category, but it has some disadvantages as well. For instance, you can't use 7-Zip to perform virus scans of archives before they are expanded. Also, when 7-Zip expands a file to find it corrupted or damaged, it can't repair those files. While 7-Zip offers excellent encryption, you can't customize the strength of the encryption.
If security isn't that important to you, the versatility of 7-Zip can certainly outpace the performance of WinRAR or WinZip. It offers the ability to split archives, and you can save archives in five different formats. WinZip often feels too restricted, and WinRAR isn't the most user-friendly piece of software on the market. 7-Zip, on the other hand, is easy to use, filled with features, and incredibly flexible. Those who want something new from their digital archiving software should consider 7-Zip.
An open-source, free to download, file-archiving utility designed for compressing digital data, reducing files to a more manageable size.
7-Zip supports all of the popular file compression formats, including ZIP, but also promotes its own high-compression format for archiving individual or groups of files. The utility features a small installation package that belies a surprising number of features and functions. In short, 7-Zip is a free archiving option that rivals its better known, often costly, contemporaries.
The interface of the program places commonly used tasks on a control panel that runs from left to right across the top of the file browser window. From here, a user can archive, extract, test, move, copy, and delete data. Furthermore, it allows the user to manipulate files in order to create compressed archives for easy storage or migration to another computer. The layout of the interface may be sparse, but it uses a familiar file explorer configuration that any computer user can quickly get to grips with. Simply manage files and archives within nested folders and directories, intuitively locating a document or an image on the Desktop, or navigate to any chosen folder and data with a few clicks of the mouse. Those more comfortable with a command line environment can bypass the mouse and directly enter command inputs that result in the same level of functionality.
While there are many examples of file archivers available, each with a reputation for high-performance and a long list of features, 7-Zip finds its place in this competitive market with a well-earned reputation for versatility. One leading file archiver may support the RAR format, with another managing the ZIP format, but 7-Zip can manage and manipulate both of these formats, adding TAR and ISO to an impressive number of supported archive formats. On top of this essential capability for coping with different archive types, 7-Zip uses its own 7z format, an archiving standard that features high-compression ratios and AES 256-bit encryption. Other noteworthy features include compatibility with Windows and Linux and a low processor overhead that allows the utility to show off speedy performance.
Market dominance may favor several other alternatives, but none have the simplicity of operation and the versatility that 7-zip has. Additionally, there are two versions of the software. That is, one offers 32-bit compatibility, while the other is a 64 bit variant. For those that view the simple user interface as a disadvantage, tap the F9 key and the computer screen is transformed into a more advanced dual-panel layout.
Versatile support of popular compression formats, including RAR, ZIP, TAR, and ISO.
Open-source 7-zip archiving format offers high compression ratio thanks to the LZMA algorithm.
Free to download.
Command line operation available.
Integrates with Windows context menu.
Simple file manager interface.
Essential task control panel.
Superior compression when compared with ZIP and RAR.
Simplicity could be viewed as a disadvantage.
Doesn't support virus scans.
No facility for repairing damaged files.
Not as widely supported as alternative file archivers.