"universal rar, zip file opener"
WinRAR is a popular program indeed, but that doesn’t mean alternatives with fewer features aren’t preferred; this is due to the fact that they are simpler and the users aren’t bombed with loads of tools and features they don’t need. Zipeg is a freeware that can open a wide variety of archives and has enough features to satisfy the average user, like password decryption, fast thumbnail preview of images on mouse hover as well as joining of multipart ZIP and RAR files.
Once you launch the installer a window will open with the Terms of Service. Accept them to continue and then watch a progress bar start filling up. After a few seconds the installation will have finished and the main program will open. The setup package is clean from malware and doesn’t install any additional 3rd party software either.
Supported operating systems are Windows XP, Vista and 7, but there is a version available for Mac OS X as well.
When you open Zipeg for the first time you will be prompted to choose which file types you want to associate with it. After doing so you can see the program’s main interface, which isn’t very complex since it only has a few menu bar items (File, Actions, Tools, Help) and buttons (Open, Extract, Preview, Options). Below the toolbar is the address of the folder you want to extract the open archive, which has its contents displayed on the center part of the window. Hovering your mouse over an image will display a few properties of the file along with its thumbnail.
Zipeg can open the following files types: .zip, .7z, .rar, .bz2, .gz, .tgz, .tar, .arj, .lzh, .z, .cab, .chm, .cpio, .ear, .war, .cbr and .cbz. As you can see it has a rich list of file type support.
It has an auto-detect feature that uses the correct character encoding for filenames, meaning that even if you see gibberish when using other programs you won’t have a problem here. If the auto-detect feature fails, you can manually set the character encoding.
If a ZIP/RAR archive is password-protected, Zipeg will not find the password but will let you enter it if you know it.
A thumbnail preview will be shown if you hover your mouse over an image file.
Multipart ZIP or RAR files (files with a numbered extension, e.g. archive.part1.rar, archive.part2.rar, etc.) can be joined with Zipeg. Just open the first file and the contents of the rest will be displayed as well (you can extract them normally if you wish too).
It cannot create new archives and it cannot encrypt an archive either.
7-Zip (free) is a well-known alternative that can be used to perform various actions on archives of many types, like encrypt/decrypt them, a nice compression ratio and others. More programs like this are PeaZip (free), Universal Extractor (free), IZArc (free) and HaoZip (free).
If you want a program to open archives, join multipart archives and not mess with their contents’ filenames, Zipeg is for you.
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