Many of us Windows users employ the native compression option of the OS quite a lot. It is very easy to simply highlight a bunch of files and use the context menu to send all of those files to a compressed archive. The archive created by Windows is in the ZIP file format. While this option is convenient and quick, the native Windows compression lacks a lot of features.
Amongst these missing features are password protected archives, support for multiple file formats, creating compressed parts for files, and more. If you are looking to fill this gap left by the Windows operating system, you must look towards third party applications. Undoubtedly, the best of these come with a hefty price tag attached. But there are a considerable number of competent freeware options also available online. This list is dedicated to the top 5 of such freeware compression applications. Check them all out below and use the comments section to let us know what you think.
This freeware app comes in a setup file that is sized at nearly 5 MB. The latest version released is 4.9.2. Using this application, you will be able to handle various commonly used file compression formats. 7Z, RAR, TAR, and ZIP are amongst the various supported file formats. A few ‘odd’ file formats are also supported such as those that belong to the PAQ and LPAQ families. Similarly, you are able to create compressed archives in numerous formats while setting encryption options to keep the contained data secure. You can get this powerful freeware compression application from here.
The developers of this application did a wonderful job of naming it: ZipGenius is truly a genius when it comes to handling compressed archives on Windows operating systems. Sized at nearly 11 MB, you can quickly download and install the application’s setup file; the latest version is 6.3.2.
The application’s long list of support compression file formats includes ZIP, CZIP, BSZ, MSKIN, DSFZ, CBZ, PCV, 7Z, LZH, SQX, YZI, TAR, TAZ, CAB, RPM, ACE, RAR, EXE, ARJ, ISO, NRG, and more. I am positive that while going over this list, there might be entries that you might not even have heard of before. That is precisely how versatile this app is; hence the ‘genius’ in the name. Encryption support is a bonus feature of the application. You can get ZipGenius from here.
Although all applications in this list are competent and effective compression tools, my personal favorite is IZArc. I do not know whether it is because of its intuitive interface or simply because I have been using it for a very long time, but whenever I reinstall Windows on my laptop, IZArc is one of the first freeware apps I install after Windows is setup.
The application comes in a setup file that is sized at nearly 5 MB and its latest released version is 4.1.7. This tool provides support for a very wide range of compression formats. Just take a look at some of the file formats supported by the application: 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, NRG, PAK, PDI, PK3, RAR, RPM, TAR, TAZ, TBZ, TGZ, TZ, UUE, WAR, XXE, YZ1, Z, ZIP, and ZOO.
If that was not enough to impress you, you should also consider the fact that application supports multi part archiving and password protected encrypted archives. The app also adds entries in the context menu so you can simply highlight a bunch of files and right click on them in order to add them to an archive using the context menu options. You can get IZArc from here.
4. Universal Extractor
If you are looking for a simple file extraction tool for a compressed archive that is not supported by Windows, all you have to do is get the Universal Extractor. The setup file of this app is sized at nearly 5 MB and it supports virtually every compression file format. You simply select the archive and you select the target file directory and you begin the extraction. Check out Universal Extractor over here.
If you are looking for a single application that extracts not only compressed archives but also extracts contents of disc images. In addition to supporting various compressed file formats such as ACE, 7Z, JAR, ZIP, and encrypting archives using Blowfish, Triple DES, and Rijndeal algorithms, the app also supports scripts for automated backups. Extraction of BIN, C2D, IMG, ISO, and NRG disc image formats is also supported. You can get TUGZip from here.
One favorite amongst many users is 7-Zip. Although it does not have a very visually appealing interface, it does include support for a lot of archive formats. You can get it from here.