"7-Zip is a powerful file archiver"
Windows users often tend to forget that WinZIP isn’t the only compression software out there. There are a lot of better tools out there with more functionality and features than WinZIP. One of the best file compression utilities is 7-Zip. It can extract from lots of archive formats and you can also create TAR and GZ archives with it. These archives will be very familiar for those working with Unix and Linux. Let’s analyze its features in this quick article and find out what makes 7-Zip a solid file archiver.
The installation of 7-Zip is as fast as it should be, considering the fact that the setup kit barely measures 1 MB. In addition, 7-Zip is a lightweight and reliable tool that doesn’t come bundled with other software. Furthermore, it is freeware (thumbs up here as compared to the WinZIP which is a shareware) and it supports the following versions of Windows: Windows 7 / Vista / XP / 2008 / 2003 / 2000 / NT / ME / 98.
The interface was designed with Windows in mind. In terms of design, it is similar to WinRAR and a little trial and error is required to properly understand all the functions and how they work. It isn’t particularly difficult though as long as you are a little computer savvy. Archives are easily created due to the excellent drag and drop functionality that is provided by 7-Zip. On the other hand, there isn’t any wizard to help you get started. However, there’s a Help menu which is very useful when you enter into a twilight zone. I’m a 7-Zip user and in my opinion, though its interface looks quite plain and simple, it serves its intended functions well with a clear and clean look.
A number of common file compression features like password protection, multi-volume support and integration with Outlook are included in 7-Zip program. Like the majority of compression tools out there, full support with Windows Explorer is provided by 7-Zip as well. Moreover, any 7-Zip function can be accessed by using the right-click button on your mouse. Other features like batch compress and extracting by using hotkeys as well as drag and drop are part of this archiver tool. If you want to create self-extracting archives, additional modules or plugins from the 7-Zip website must be downloaded first. The overall ZIP compression ratio of 7-Zip is decent and on par with the renowned ZIP compression from WinZip. Regarding the extracting formats, the extraction of up to 22 different archives is supported. A merit of the 7-Zip program is its speed as well because the time taken to carry out any of its function is rather quick. One can even compliment this program as having ‘speed’ as its middle name!
7-Zip has all the tools present just like the majority of file compression tools and probably its problem is that it doesn’t particularly stand out since it doesn’t have any additional feature that is considering leading the pack in its niche. That said, it does lack slightly in the compression options department and the selection can be broadened a little more. Also, while I have no problems with it in terms of extracting files from archives; I do encounter problems with other PC users unable to access such archives. This happens when I zipped up my files in a .7z archive and email the archive to another computer user who does not have the 7-Zip program, he is usually unable to access my .7z archive with his own zipping program.
There are many alternatives to 7-Zip and these tools include WinRAR, FreeCommander, PeaZip, IZArc and many more. The difference between these and 7-Zip is that the latter is a bit more advanced and targeted at those that are more familiar with file compression. WinZIP is another alternative which is usually rated higher than 7-Zip due to its mainstream popularity.
All in all, 7-Zip does a lot of things right. 7-Zip is more than a decent file compression software product and by using it, you can extract a variety of archive types and files. Basically, it is a solid tool; its functionality is great and the interface will more likely warm up to you in a couple of days.
Top user review