Free archiver software 7-zip


Installation

There are no problems with installation.
But i have two points to note.
Firstly, after installation, nothing happens. You are not prompted to open an installed program to see what it is. To do this, you have to go to the "Start" menu.
Secondly, it is not suggested to associate archive files with 7-Zip. As a result, if you did have not any archiver, you will not be able to open the archive double-clicking on it even after installing 7-Zip. Yes, the "7-Zip" item appears in the context menu and can be used to open a file, but, nevertheless, this requires additional actions.

7zip - context menu



Specifications

The main thing that is required from the archiving program is support for the most common types of archives.

Type Extention Possibility of creating
7z 7z yes 
BZIP2 bz2 bzip2 tbz2 tbz yes
GZIP gz gzip tgz yes
TAR tar yes
WIM wim swm esd yes
XZ xz txz yes
ZIP zip zipx jar xpi odt ods docx xlsx epub yes
APM apm  
AR ar a deb lib  
ARJ arj  
CAB cab  
CHM chm chw chi chq  
COMPOUND msi msp doc xls ppt  
CPIO cpio  
CramFS cramfs  
DMG dmg  
Ext ext ext2 ext3 ext4 img  
FAT fat img  
HFS hfs hfsx  
HXS hxs hxi hxr hxq hxw lit  
iHEX ihex  
ISO iso img  
LZH lzh lha  
LZMA lzma  
MBR mbr  
MsLZ mslz  
Mub mub  
NSIS nsis  
NTFS ntfs img  
MBR mbr  
RAR rar r00  
RPM rpm  
PPMD ppmd  
QCOW2 qcow qcow2 qcow2c  

As you can see from the table, the program is able to open and unzip almost all possible types of archives, and create only seven. Moreover, one of the most popular formats - RAR cannot be created. But, you can make an archive in the equally popular ZIP format.


Description

The main window of the program is rather laconic.

7zip

In general, the context menu is quite enough to work with archives, so this window is needed more for keeping traditions than for expanding functionality. This can be seen from the buttons, of which only "Add" and "Extract" are of practical interest.
"Test" means checking the archive for errors. But check it for what? If there are errors, opening the archive most likely will not work, with or without test.
Buttons for copying, moving and deleting are not clear what they are for. It is difficult to assume that someone will use the archiving program as a file manager.
The "Information" button opens the standard "File Properties" window.


"File" menu

7zip - File menu


The "7-Zip" item duplicates the context menu.

"Open inside" means in 7-Zip, "Outside" - using standard Windows tools (if possible). It is interesting that not only archives can be open, but also, for example, libraries (dll).

"Open" the file in a standard test editor.

Split and Merge only applies to archives. The finished file can be divided into several fragments with a given size. This may be necessary for placing a large file on multiple media or sending by e-mail in parts.

 "Comment adds a description file.

"CRC" allows you to select the checksum generation algorithm. It is difficult to imagine what this might be needed for. Well, maybe someone needs it.

"Link" creates a link to the file. In Windows, this is called a "shortcut" and is much easier.

"Alternate Streams" is another cryptic point. The help explains this as follows - "Shows alternative file streams at NFTS". It has become much clearer, right? In general, I still do not understand what it is and why it is needed.

In the "Edit" menu - commands for selecting files. All this can be done much easier without any menu.

From the "View" menu, you can change the display format (for example, split the window into two panels) and customize sorting.

7zip - View menu


The "Favorites" menu contains links to folders. You can, for example, save the paths to folders with archives for open them with one click.


7zip - Favorites


There are only two items in the "Service" menu.

"Benchmark" is an assessment of the performance of your computer (apparently in terms of the speed of archiving and unpacking). For what this is also unclear. What you can do with your system? Do you change the computer if its performance is insufficient for archiving (which, however, for the tasks of an ordinary user, is hardly possible)?

7zip - Performance testing


"Settings" is perhaps the main reason for opening the main window of 7-Zip.
Here you can change the file associations so that archives can be opened using 7-Zip, another archiving program (if available on your computer), or remove this association altogether. Moreover, you can set a specific option for each individual user (or for all, or for everyone except someone). The change is made by clicking on the intersection of the line with the file extension and the column with the username.
The only bad thing is that you cannot apply these changes to all types of archives at once - you have to click on each line separately. On the other hand, this needs to be done only once, and not all types of archives from the list are actively used.

7zip - Settings


The "7-Zip" tab allows you to customize the appearance of the context menu.
"Cascaded context menu" means that a separate "7-Zip" line is created and all other menu items are inside it.
Icons in the context menu are definitely not needed, since these are not different icons, but one repeating icon.
The rest is clear - if you want to see the corresponding item in the context menu, leave a check mark, if not, remove it.
Note the possibility to immediately send the created archive by e-mail. The default mail client is used  for it (if installed, of course).

7zip - Settings


The "Settings" tab of the "Settings" item :) makes it possible to customize the program a little more.
I did not find anything interesting here, moreover, almost everything is generally incomprehensible for what it is needed.
Unless, someone might like the ability to open files with one click.

7zip - Settings


Working with the program

To work with archives, the context menu is enough, the setting of which we have already considered. You don't have to configure anything, then the menu will contain all possible items.

There are three main points for archiving and unzipping.

Unpacking:
- Unpack. A dialog box will appear where you will need to select a destination and specify a password for the archive, if it has.
- Unpack here. All archive files will be  extract to the current folder.
- Unpack to [file name \]. Files from the archive will be place in a new folder with the file name.

Archiving:
- Add ".7zip" archive. A 7zip file will be create in the current folder.
- Add ".zip" archive. A ZIP file will be create in the current folder.
- Add to archive. A dialog box appears

7zip - Add to archive

Selecting the archive format. The proprietary 7zip format is offered by default. If this is for yourself and you plan to continue using this program, you can leave it. Otherwise, it's better to use something more common, like ZIP.

The higher compression level make the smaller file but has more time for archiving and unpacking. The same is with the dictionary size and word size - then larger they are, the smaller the archive size and the slower the operations with it.

The block size is relevant only for the native 7zip format, it does not work with the rest.

The number of threads allows you to specify how many system resources can be used for archiving. More threads - faster process and more loading of the system.

You may need to split the archive into volumes in order to place the file on several media (for example, DVD) or to send it in parts by e-mail.

The rest can be noted the possibility of creating an SFX archive (a self-extracting file). This option is also available only for the 7zip format, but in this case it does not matter. This option slightly increases the size of the archive, but it allows using it without additional programs for unpacking.

The 7zip archiver has the ability to work from the command line. Maybe not everyone needs it, but this option allows you to significantly expand the capabilities of the program. For example, set up automatic archiving.


Summary

One can argue for a long time which is better - 7Zip or WinRAR. Perhaps WinRAR compresses files a little better (which is not a fact, by the way). But, everything that is required from the archiver, 7Zip does well. And it's free. Completely free - without registration, advertising and without any restrictions, even for commercial use.

The program works on all Windows versions, including servers, starting with Windows XP and Windows 2000.

You can download the 7zip program using direct links from my website:
- Windows 32
- Windows 64
or from the site 7-zip.org