7-Zip

Manipulate file archives with this open-source tool that supports several formats

6.8

387 Votes

  • Category File Compression
  • License Free (gpl)
  • Version 17.01
  • Size 1.11 MB
  • Works under Windows 8.1 / Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista / Windows 2003 / Windows XP / Windows 2000 / Windows ME / Windows 98 SE / Windows 98
  • Language English
  • Program by Igor Pavlov

Created originally to simply compress data files, the 7-Zip file archiving utility still efficiently shrinks files in size, but the program has evolved somewhat over the years. Above and beyond this primary feature, the software also manages archived data and encrypts each archive, so security is assured by a 256 bit AES algorithm when this facility is selected. Additionally, the size-reducing utility uses its own proprietary 7z compression format, one that can be used to build self-extracting archives.

The 7-Zip downloader is as compact as one of the archives it creates, so the software downloads rapidly. It's also free to use and comprehensively supported by an open source community. Next, the user interface is gratifyingly uncluttered, yet every feature lies only a single mouse click away. The main features include compression, extraction, archive splitting, testing of compressed files, encryption, and many of the file management tools modern computer users take for granted. With this fact in mind, the copying, moving, and deletion of an archive is easily accomplished.

On still holding a light to the main window, the interface uses a traditional layout, one that places commonly used tools on an upper menu strip and lists files within a large main window. Reminiscent of Windows Explorer or an Internet browser, this approach yields fast results due to its intuitive design. It's from this main window that all currently active and archived data files are manipulated. The software supports other compression types as well as its own 7Z format, but the homespun format does incorporate a file reducing engine that boasts a significantly higher compression ratio than some other compression standards in this class. This feature alone makes the program a tempting proposition, especially when hard drive space is limited or an ISP allows only small attachments on emails.

A comprehensive feature set does make 7-Zip a leader among its peers, and this level of finite control is achieved without making the program top-heavy. Quite the opposite, in fact, for this file archiver avoids messy workflows and keeps its interface clean. User-friendly by design, first-time customers quickly get to grips with the layout and functions of the software, so this program is well-suited for non-computer savvy types, which represents a real advantage considering all of the code manipulation going on beneath the surface. Indeed, this popular file shrinker seamlessly works naturally with its own 7z format, plus it can pack and unpack files that have been created with the TAR and ZIP compression format. Classed as an undoubtedly versatile data archiving utility, 7-Zip is available as either a 32-bit or 64-bit download.

Pros

  • Free and open source
  • Tiny 1MB download
  • Unpacks RAR and iso packages
  • Intuitive user interface
  • File archiving management tools
  • Windows context menu compatibility
  • Enhanced compression algorithms
  • Encrypts with 256-bit AES

Cons

  • Limited customization
  • Encryption level is fixed
  • Missing virus scan features
Alternatives to 7-Zip
You might also be interested in…

WinRAR  5.50

Program designed to help users view compressed files and compress them back

WinZip  22

A leading program for unzipping and backing up files

WinRAR  64 bits 5.40

Create and open all types of files with this intuitive program

Universal Extractor  1.6.1

Program that decompresses and extracts files from any installer or archive type

RAR to ZIP Converter  1.0

Easily turn one popular type of file archive into the other

DMG Extractor  1.3.8.0

Opens a wide range of image files without needing pre-conversion