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With improving technology and high level of data transfers, the means of transferring information is also becoming sophisticated. There is a need to compress data to increase the existing space in a hard drive and decrease the file size to make it easier to transfer via internet or USB. 7-zip similarly is a file archiver that compresses files.

7-zip was developed in 1999 by Igor Pavlov. It is licensed with GNU LGPLv2.1 accompanied with unRAR restrictions and is a mere 1.3 MB in size. It comes in 79 different languages and uses the 7z format to archive files. However, it is able to detect and use other formats as well. The usability of the software spans over graphical user as well as command line interface. It is also accessible from the Windows shell integration.

7-zip extends its unpacking services to formats such as CHM, APM, JAR, FLV, Office Open XML, RAR, XAR, ISO, FAT, NTFS, UDF, etc. It also supports xz, tar, WIM, Gzip and ZIP archive formats. Moreover, in case of gzip or ZIP files, the software uses a DEFLATE encoder that enables better quality compression though at the cost of speed. The license of 7-zip might not allow it to use RAR5 files but the beta preview version v15.06 does.

The archiver 7-zip has a file manager tool along with the other standard tools. This manager gives the options to create, extract and test archives. It can also open, copy, move and delete a file. The file manager also allows hidden files to be shown irrespective of the windows settings.

The 7-zip has two main versions, 7z.exe and 7za.exe. While the former involves external libraries, the latter is self-sufficient. At the same time, the latter only supports gzip, bzip2, Z, tar, ZIP and 7z formats. This version can also be used with Unix-like OS, OpenVMS, AmigaOS 4 and FreeDOS but is available under a slightly different name, p7zip, though performs the exact same functions and has been developed by the same person.

The main features of the 7-zip include the following:

  • In addition to its support for multi-threading, it also enables its configuration.
  • If used in the 2 panel mode, it can be used as a basic file manager.
  • One of its outstanding features includes its ability to open EXE extension files by decompressing the data in them. This means that the applications do not need to be launched at all.
  • It also allows unpacking of archives that have corrupted filenames. It changes the names however necessary.
  • Furthermore, it is also able to extract archives with single volumes on its own.
  • It can work around different sizes of volumes which helps with backups on CDs, DVDs and other such removable media.
  • With features ranging from the very basic to diverse and most authoritative website reviews rating it better than most other archivers, 7-zip is an excellent software that makes compressing and decompressing files simpler and better by 30-70% which is a tremendous improvement compared to its contemporaries.

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