7-Zip is a well known file compression utility that is available as freeware. It is an open source utility that any computer user can download free of charge.
This software can be used in several platforms such as command line interface, from a Window based integrated system, or with a graphical user interface. This award winning open source software is distributed under GNU Lesser general Public License (LGPL). In its default format, this handy archiver creates compressed files with a file extension of .7z. It is however compatible with numerous packing and unpacking formats including XZ, ZIP, Z, XAR, BZIP2, WIM, GZIP, VHD, TAR, UDF, WIM, RAR, CAB, FAT, ISO, MBR, CPIO, and CramFS just to mention a few.
7-Zip is recognized for its high compression ratio and ease of installation and use. It has a simple, user friendly interface for both novice and experienced computer users. The program comes with multiple features with a number of options one can use to choose a compression method, different sizes, encryption methods, and format among other helpful options. The program supports Windows versions 98, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, and 8. It can be downloaded in both 32 and 64 bit versions and is available in 79 languages worldwide.
7-Zip has been developed on an open architecture that provides optional AES 256-bit encryption which is a format that provides one of the highest compression rates in the market today. The archiver can easily integrate into Windows Explorer menus. For example, you can access its key features simply by right-clicking on a given file. It can also display archived files as normal folders on your desktop or anywhere in your computer.
7-Zip comes with a helpful file manager with a drag and drop functionality as well as a compression focused toolbar. Some of its major features include password protection, ability to support multiple volumes, and easy integration with Outlook. 7-Zip allows you to compress or extract files in batches using hot keys as we’ll as the drag-and-drop functionality. The program supports self-extracting archives if you download the required plugins from the software’s official website.
There are a few similar archiving software that come close to 7-Zip in terms of features, speed, and efficiency. These are WinZip, WinRar, and MagicRar. 7-Zip’s performance is close to 10 percent better than its rivals in Zip and GZIP compressing formats. In terms of compression, 7-Zip outperforms its competition in a compression test for different file types such as MS Word and Excel files. However, its 7z compression is at par with WinZip’s best compression. It also has a smaller number of compression options in comparison to the other programs.
The program has a similar interface with other programs such as WinRar although 7-Zip’s interface is easy to understand and use. Its drag-and-drop functionality makes it much easier to use than the rest. Like other similar programs, 7-Zip comes with a built-in user guide with access to online forums. However, probably due to its freeware nature, 7-Zip does not have an active email or telephone customer care support.
7-Zip is a popular file compression program not only because it is free but because it is a decent high quality archiver too. It comes with all the necessary functions you would want in a file archiver, and a few more extras. It is great for users who are not very familiar with file compression formats as well as the seasoned experts in this field. This is because 7-Zip supports extraction of over 22 file formats and archives.
7-Zip’s multiple archiving and compression formats are its strong points. This can be attributed to the fact that 7-Zip is based on open architecture technology that comes with optional 256-bit AES encryption. In comparison to other similar programs, 7-Zip scores high because it is an open source program whose performance equals that of other paid file compression and archive software.
About Igor Pavlov
7-Zip was developed by Igor Pavlov way back in 1999. Since then, the software has gained popularity and has even been selected in the OpenDisc and VALO-CD open source software collections for Windows. Version 9.20 of the program was reviewed by PC World magazine in 2011 which stated that 7-Zip can easily compress and email any file regardless of size in one easy step. The program has received a number of awards including the SourceForge’s Techinical Design and Best Project awards in 2007. 7-Zip was also received the Elite Award by Tom’s Hardware for its high speed and compression ratio.
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