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A free file archiver for extremely high compression

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7-Zip is a file archiver with a high compression ratio for ZIP and GZIP formats, which is between 2 to 10% better than its peers, depending on the exact data tested. And 7-Zip boosts its very own 7z archive format that also offers a significantly higher compression ratio than its peers—up to 40% higher! This is mainly because 7-Zip uses LZMA and LZMA2 compression, with strong compression settings and dictionary sizes, to slow but vastly improve density. If a zip tool gains its appeal from its ability to efficiently compress files, then 7-Zip proves it has a little bit o’ magic.

7-Zip at a Glance

After you effortlessly download and launch 7-Zip, you’ll quickly discover its simple and easy to navigate interface. The main toolbar contains 7-Zip’s most used features and there are several menus that allow you to dig deeper within. For example, the Extract button lets you easily browse for or accept the default destination directory for your file, while the View menu contains a Folder History, and the Favorites menu lets you save up to ten folders. 7-Zip also integrates with the Windows Explorer menus, displaying archive files as folders and providing a toolbar with drag-and-drop functions. You can also alternate between a single or dual-pane view.

Product Details

7-Zip offers several features that make it one of the best compression software options around. For example:

  • Open architecture—The source code uses the GNU LGPL license, while the unRAR code is under a mixed license with GNU LGPL + unRAR restrictions.
  • High compression ratio—Using its own 7z format with LZMA and LZMA2 compression, 7-Zip’s compression ratio is up to 40% higher than its peers. For ZIP and GZIP formats, 7-Zip provides a compression ratio that is 2-10% better than PKZip and WinZip.
  • Strong AES-256 encryption—This includes both password protection of files and encryption of file names.
  • Ability to use may compression, conversion, or encryption methods—For example 7-Zip:
    • Supports packing and unpacking for 7z, XZ, BZIP2, GZIP, TAR, ZIP, and WIM.
    • Supports unpacking only for ARJ, CAB, CHM, CPIO, CramFS, DEB, DMG, FAT, HFS, ISO, LZH, LZMA, MBR, MSI, NSIS, NTFS, RAR, RPM, SquashFS, UDF, VHD, WIM, XAR, and Z.
    • Supports a self-extracting capability for 7z format.
  • Integrates with Windows Shell—Using its menu options, you can integrate 7-Zip to the Windows Shell menu.
  • Powerful file manager and command line versions—There’s also a plugin for FAR Manager.
  • Localizations for 79 languages—This kind of support is why 7-Zip is the world’s favorite free compression software.



7-Zip is easy to download and use, it opens and compresses most everything, and is has a Windows shell extension. The interface is a little sparse and so are the instructions, but the program works like a charm anyway.

Quick Specs

  • Version: 9.22
  • Date added: March 2, 2013
  • Operating systems: Windows