Best Free File Archiver-Zip Utility

 
Introduction

Utilities that compresses one or more files into one smaller file have been around since the first personal computers were introduced.  These archive or zip file utilities were known by various names such as arc, pkarc and pkzip and they were run from a command line.

Considering that most personal computers back then didn't have a hard drive larger than 10 MB (if they even had one at all) and were only connected via modem speeds up to 1200bps, these compression utilities were essential for saving space and shortening upload and download times.

Even though today's computers have much more storage space and faster connection speeds, compression utilities are still incredibly useful for saving time and hard disk space. Through their modern graphical interfaces, drag and drop capability, support for multiple compression formats, security features and much more, they are also easier than ever to use.

 
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Discussion

7-ZipOne product which has really impressed me is 7-Zip. It can unpack a multi-part RAR volume embedded in a ZIP archive, and gives a meaningful error message when attempting to unpack a 256 bit encrypted WinZip archive.

7-Zip supports 7z, zip, gzip, bzip2, tar, arj, cab, chm, cpio, deb, dmg, hfs and much more . It has a strong AES-256 encryption in 7z and ZIP formats and has powerful integration with Windows Shell.Even though it handles fewer archive types than some other programs, it is a fantastic program that will fulfill 99% of all your file archiving needs.

 

PeaZipAn open-source product that many here have suggested is PeaZip, which is easy to use and very versatile. It is capable of extracting from archive types including ACE, ARJ, CAB, DMG, ISO, LHA, RAR, and UDF.

It runs on 32 and 64 bit Windows as well as various Linux distributions. It's open source, portable and a great little program. 

PeaZip can extract most of archive formats both from Windows and Unix worlds, ranging from mainstream 7Z, RAR, TAR and ZIP to experimental ones like PAQ/LPAQ family, currently the most powerful compressor available.

For archive creation, PeaZip supports a wide range of compression and encryption standard, from fastest to most powerful ones, and allows to export job definition as scripts to bridge the gap between GUI and console applications, and let the user pick the best of the two worlds.PeaZip has secure deletion feature, can verify file checksum and hash, and supports multiple strong encryption standards, optionally using two factor authentication (password and keyfile) for increased security

 

IZArcIf multi-format capabilities are important to you, I'd recommend IZArc. IZArc is a freeware archive utility supporting many archive formats like: 7-ZIP, A, ACE, ARC, ARJ, B64, BH, BIN, BZ2, BZA, C2D, CAB, CDI, CPIO, DEB, ENC, GCA, GZ, GZA, HA, IMG, ISO, JAR, LHA, LIB, LZH, MDF, MBF, MIM. With a modern easy-to-use interface, IZArc provides support for most compressed and encoded files, as well as access to many powerful features and tools. It allows you to drag and drop files from and to Windows Explorer, create and extract archives directly in Windows Explorer, create multiple archives spanning disks, creating self-extracting archives, repair damaged zip archives, converting from one archive type to another, view and write comments and many more. IZArc has also build-in multi-language support.IZArc can be configured to run your preferred Anti-Virus scanner when you open any archives. It also supports 256-bit AES encryption to secure your data.

If you already use WinZip you'll find either 7-Zip or IZArc make excellent companion products. They can read just about all the major archive formats, including the widely used RAR.

Note: Despite saying this on their website: "IZArc is 100% virus free and it doesn't contain any spyware or adware.", this program is bundled with OpenCandy (See this article for more information.). If you want to do away with OpenCandy, you have to add a switch, for example C:\IZArcSetup.exe /NOCANDY, when installing the program.

 

B1 Free ArchiverB1 Free Archiver is a freeware compression utility that works on Windows, Linux, Mac and Android. It will be highly appreciated by those of you who have several devices on different platforms, but would prefer to use unified software across all of them. B1's interface looks pretty alike on all platforms so you intuitively know how to use it at first sight. In fact I would call B1's smooth and flawless interface one of the most prominent features of this utility as compared to other players on the market. You can drag-and-drop stuff, use hot keys and key combinations. B1 Free Archiver for Android perfectly serves as a file manager and makes navigation much easier.

B1 Archiver unpacks ZIP, RAR, 7Z, TAR.GZ, TAR.BZ2, as well as its own B1 format. However, with B1 you can create only ZIP and B1 archives. My basic testing showed that compressing into B1 format goes a little bit faster than into other formats and delivers the same or better compression ratio. But you should remember that if you create a B1 archive you will be able to unpack it only with its native utility which is B1 Free Archiver.

B1 Archiver has a handy online version which is the best solution in case you cannot, don't want or are not allowed to download any software to your computer but still have to unpack an archive. The process is really easy - you click the big blue button, choose the file from your computer and then wait few seconds. Unpacked files appear on the website, after that you can download them to your computer.

 

To be reviewed:

  • Bandizip, handle most popular compression formats including Zip, ZipX, 7z and RAR files.
  • HaoZip, build Zip, 7z and Tar compressed files directly, decompress 50 formats, support virtual CD-ROM mounting and extract the disc image, etc.
  • FreeArc, fast but efficient compression, create SFX (self-extracted) archives and installers and many other features, with console and GUI versions for both Windows and Linux.
  • TUGZip, a powerful archiving utility supporting for a wide range of compressed, encoded and disc-image files, create self-extracting encrypted archives, repair corrupted ZIP and SQX archives, etc.
  • Zipeg, decrypts password protected .zip and .rar files, combines and opens multipart .zip and .rar files, shows content of archives and allow you to select what to extract, and more.
  • Bitser, free windows software for managing archives and backups similar to WinZip, 7-zip and WinRAR but with an alternate user interface.
 
Related Products and Links

You might want to check out these articles too:

 
Quick Selection Guide

7-Zip
5
 
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Easy to install, gives meaningful error messages, capable of uncompressing from multiple embedded files.
User interface is minimalistic.
http://www.7-zip.org/
http://www.7-zip.org/
9.20
1 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available but not from the developer.
Windows 98 to 7. Command line version for Linux/Unix.

Non-English languages are supported. The portable version is available here.

PeaZip
5
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Supports many file types.
http://www.peazip.org/
http://www.peazip.org/
5.3.1
5.76 MB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Open source freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 9x to 8, Linux
B1 Free Archiver
5
 
Available either as a web service or stand alone program
Has a smooth and intuitive user interface, is greatly customizable.
Doesn't work with as many formats as other archivers.
http://www.b1.org
http://b1.org/download
1.5.86
570 KB
32 and 64 bit versions available
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 98 to 7, Linux (Ubuntu, Fedora), Mac, Android

Is multilingual. Can create password-protected archives.

IZArc
4
 
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Handles nearly 50 different compression formats.
Large file download and memory footprint, the installer is bundled with OpenCandy.
http://www.izarc.org/
4.1.8
5.23 MB
Unrestricted freeware
A portable version of this product is available from the developer.
Windows 2000 to 7

Can encrypt files using Rijandael - AES (256-bits) encryption

 
Editor

This software review is copy-edited by Ian Richards. Please help edit and improve this article by clicking here.

 

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Comments

by Beagle (not verified) on 8. October 2011 - 10:25  (81102)

If you want a basic program that a novice can use just with a right-click of a mouse, then have a look at JustZIPit:

http://www.softpedia.com/get/Compression-tools/JustZIPit.shtml

by Anonymousity (not verified) on 8. October 2011 - 15:11  (81113)

I found Kuaizip recently. For those wanting to take a look: http://www.kuaizip.com/en/index.html

by JeanPh (not verified) on 30. October 2011 - 13:53  (82411)

Agree, 7-Zip is a really rock-solid software.
Of course speed is not blazing, as lzma is quite heavy and 7-Zip hyper-optimizes even good old deflate to provide premium compression rate.
However on dual core it beats WinRar and WinZip, and I hope the same will remain true in near future when lzma2 will be mature enough to be the new default, as a multi-core CPU is now the norm.

by Asmodeus (not verified) on 9. November 2011 - 8:01  (82963)

IZarc is perfectly reliable programme in version 4.1.6. Default compression type is "maximal" - if thisd seems slow to you just switch to normal for there is almost no difference in filesize but compression speed increases dramaticaly.

by Anonymouse (not verified) on 19. November 2011 - 5:10  (83528)

7-zip is great except for two things:

1. On my Acer Travelmate 6293 with Win7 Pro, it refuses to register the filetypes it manages. So, I would have to register each one individually. No thank you.
2. The context menus are bonehead. If you right-click on a zip, 7-zip still shows the option to "Add to Zip".

After looking through the comments here, I tried Haozip and it rocks!

The icons look good, the context menu is smart and configurable and it supports the file types I need. That's all that matters to me in a file archiver.

Yay for Haozip :)

by Simstim (not verified) on 23. November 2011 - 4:42  (83746)

7-zip doesn't register file associations properly in Windows 7, I suspect because the installer does not have the correct user access. To fix the problem, run the 7-zip File Manager as Administrator, then go to Tools -> Options and associate 7-zip will all the available file extensions.

by Rahulvats (not verified) on 28. November 2011 - 20:46  (84066)

well, the regular or standard edition of 7 zip do have problems while registering file types.i would suggest you to use the beta edition. it works well and also registers itself as default archive handler :) without any trouble.
it also has the feature to manually change read/write settings for individual user.

by GuyF (not verified) on 7. December 2011 - 23:03  (84602)

KGB Archiver is a very strong compressor, but takes a lot of time as it is built on a modified old version of PAQ algorithm.
PeaZip compresses better than KGB with PAQ8, but it takes too long too.
7Zip with .7z format, using LZMA or LZMA2, is a good choice for strong compression with acceptable speed, and FreeArc's .arc is even more efficient in compression but slower on extraction.
PeaZip supports both .7z and .arc compression/extraction, so can be a good starting point to compare all those alternatives.
BTW, all of those applications are Open Source software.

by Aleron (not verified) on 12. December 2011 - 22:56  (84921)

Try also Bandizip: http://www.bandicam.com/bandizip/

I started to use this and first positive thing in this archiever is high speed of compression and decompression of files.

by George.J on 2. January 2012 - 3:11  (86372)

Here's a new software for you to review Haozip. Very promising

by jatson (not verified) on 23. February 2012 - 13:18  (89298)

Having now abandoned Winzip, I'd really like to use 7-zip for my main backup/archiver, but I can't seem to figure out how to use it to backup only files with the archive bit set (and then clear the bit).

All I seem to find on the web for doing this involves 3rd party programs, etc. I would have thought that this basic operation would be possible with 7-zip stand-alone. Anyone have any clues?
Thanks.

by Geert on 5. March 2012 - 13:45  (89947)

Indeed. According to FreewareGenius HaoZip should at least be in the top 3 (instead of IZArc I presume)
(cf. freewaregenius.com/2012/03/05/the-best-free-compression-zip-program-a-comparison)

btw, there's a typo: "Rijandael" should read "Rijndael"

by Bloaxor (not verified) on 31. March 2012 - 10:52  (91481)

FreeArc is great, and it would definitely help spread the word about it if it got reviewed here. :]
If anything, I'd actually recommend reviewing the latest alpha version, since 0.666 was a bit buggy.
And because there were a lot of pretty big improvements since then. Including the addition of a good/fast .zip implementation.

Link: http://freearc.org/Download-Alpha.aspx

And for all I know, it's pretty popular in good repacks. What does that say about the compression quality? ;p

by jamilow I can (not verified) on 25. April 2012 - 8:02  (92578)

Can anyone help me as I forgot the password of .CAB File ??? How i can Recover it.

thanks

by MidnightCowboy on 25. April 2012 - 9:34  (92585)

This category currently has no editor and we are unable to provide individual support in the comments sections. Please post your query in our forum.

http://www.techsupportalert.com/freeware-forum/general-computer-support/

by Human (not verified) on 15. May 2012 - 21:07  (93518)

Ive worked as an engineer in IT for 15 years and have yet to come across an ace file.

by Rob (not verified) on 28. May 2012 - 17:37  (94104)

Does anyone know of a program that would allow me to double click a zip file, and it will extract the contents into the same folder that the zip was in ?
Say I had a folder called -
C:\Temp
and I had placed a zip file in there.
That zip file contained NO folders, just a .txt file and a .exe file.
After double clicking the zip file, I would end up with three files in C:\Temp
.zip
.txt
.exe
There would have been NO sub folder created out of thin air.

I know that 7Zip can do that with a right click, and an 'Extract here' click.
I would like to avoid even that, and just double click the zip file.

by A_Nonny_Mush (not verified) on 28. May 2012 - 21:15  (94111)

This was highlighted on dottech recently, FastUnzip Snack. Haven't tried it as yet myself, may well be what you're looking for. Link is....

http://www.donationcoder.com/forum/index.php?topic=30797.msg286530#msg286530

by Rob (not verified) on 28. May 2012 - 22:19  (94113)

Thanks,
You might see a few posts from me there.
From Locutus' description, it sounds like it creates a sub folder (using the name of the zip file, as a folder name), and places the contents into the sub folder.
This then means I have to move the contents back up to the parent (original folder where I first placed the zip file), and delete the sub folder.
I have also written on the author's thread at Donation Coder, and I am still not 100% sure whether it creates that useless sub folder.

by Aleron (not verified) on 9. June 2012 - 13:20  (94602)

I have few free file archievers to offer you for a test:

1. HaoZip: HaoZip is a great freeware alternative to commercial archiver WinRAR. It's interface and feature-set are very much similar to WinRAR. One will find it very easy to move from WinRAR to HaoZip. Like WinRAR it has a powerful self extracting archive creator. HaoZip also comes with some handy tools like image viewer, image converter, md5 checksum calculator, batch renamer etc.

http://www.haozip.com/Eng/index_en.htm

2. TUGzip: TUGZip is a powerful award-winning freeware archiving utility for Windows® that provides support for a wide range of compressed, encoded and disc-image files, as well as very powerful features; all through an easy to use application interface and Windows Explorer integration.

http://www.tugzip.com/Home.html

3. FreeArc: FreeArc is a modern general-purpose archiver. Main advantage of FreeArc is fast but efficient compression and rich set of features.

FreeArc works 2–5 times faster than best other compression programs.

http://freearc.org/

4. Bitser: Bitser is free windows software for managing archives and backups similar to Winzip, 7-zip and Winrar but with an alternate user interface. Bitser's interface is built around the file system with explorer style views and features similar to those found in backup applications. All underlying archiving functions are performed using the open source 7-zip compression software and therefore all major archiving formats are supported. Bitser also provides a password manager and a MD5/SHA checksum calculator to verify file identity.

http://www.bitser.org/

5. Zipeg: Zipeg is a universal free file opener for .zip and .rar files. With just a click you can open a file and see what is inside. Find exactly what you are looking for and extract it. Zipeg is for everyone!

http://www.zipeg.com/

6. Bandizip: Bandizip is 100% free Archiver for home and office.

It handles the most popular compression formats, including Zip, ZipX, 7z, and RAR files for free!.

http://www.bandicam.com/bandizip/

I hope you will test some of these apps.

Best regards

by Anupam on 9. June 2012 - 13:38  (94604)

Thanks for the suggestions.

At this time, the category does not have any editor. So, these suggestions will be taken up only when a new editor takes over this category.

by Thex (not verified) on 2. July 2012 - 12:23  (95648)

I certainly can not speak for anyone but myself... however freearc has a beautiful website, comparing differing compression algorithms also varying dictionary sizes. Source code is free also (for those who wish to tinker or just learn). This is my new default compressor replacing 7zip... also note a command line version is included for those who write batch files.... Ty for the info !!!

by Thex (not verified) on 2. July 2012 - 12:37  (95650)

I am presently downloading Kuaizip to evaluate again. The last version i tested had some Chinese messages alas that is not my second language. I shall hope for more English this time around.

by George.J on 27. July 2012 - 4:16  (96714)

Cool suggestions Aleron

By the way Haozip 3.0 has been released. Its my first preference over 7zip. :-)

by noinfo12 (not verified) on 12. August 2012 - 19:26  (97619)

On web page http://www.izarc.org/download.html there is a download for IZArc advertised as "version 4.1.7 from 20.07.2012".
Downloading results in a file called "IZArcInstall.exe".
I've run "IZArcInstall.exe /nocandy".
Installer offers promotional software "Browser Manager" and "Babylon Toolbar".
I've unchecked permission to download and install this software.
Yet, the installer downloaded and installed this software as well as something called "bProtect".
It also attempted to install other software but the firewall was triggered and I was able to deny access.
At some point, a file called "au_.exe" was downloaded in a temporary folder and the antivirus blocked access to this file.
A task was scheduled for "Browser Manager" using schtasks.exe.

In the end, IZArc was not installed :( but I had to lose some time to remove all of the above.

So, I recommend to avoid installing IZArc.

by TCB (not verified) on 11. October 2012 - 15:36  (100645)

Are you perhaps thinking of ZipGenius? Check zipgenius.com.

by stevedaman (not verified) on 11. November 2012 - 4:39  (102142)

Now you have told us what you don't use!

How about what you do use?

by Marco B. (not verified) on 15. November 2012 - 1:23  (102336)

Sadly I have to confirm IZArc v4.1.7 tries to install unrequested software and for some reason it succeeded installing Incredibar. The first drawback was a crash of Internet Explorer and it took some time to remove all the software from the PC (in the 'Uninstall a program' page was split in several applications). Last problem was version 4.1.7 does not work at all on my Win Vista 64. Very sad indeed as I always considered IZarc my favorite piece of software. Now I don't if I have to reinstall v4.1.6 or it is time to change.

by Thex (not verified) on 19. November 2012 - 20:33  (102580)

I presently use FreeArc...

by Anonymous newbie (not verified) on 28. November 2012 - 11:23  (103013)

If I email files compressed with P zip or 7 zip will users of Winzip be able to unzip them easily?
& if I receive winzipped files will I be able to unzip them?

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