3 free compression tools to compress files easily

3 free compression tools to compress files easily

WinZip and WinRAR are great, but if you’d rather keep your $30, you should check out these free alternatives. […]

Cloud services such as Google Drive and OneDrive are very convenient, but sometimes you need to compress a few files to send them by e-mail. Conversely, sometimes you will come across ZIP and RAR files that you need to open yourself. In both cases, a data compression tool can help you. We know three free, powerful compression tools for your file compression and unzipping needs. It is worth mentioning that Windows itself provides native compression and unpacking functions through the right-click context menu, but the functionality is very limited.

7-Zip

7-Zip, one of the most popular free tools for archiving files, is an open source utility that has been available since 1999 and is constantly being updated. It has introduced its own archive format, 7z, which provides an impressive compression function. In addition, 7-Zip can compress files to other popular formats, such as ZIP and TAR, while reading and extracting files from even more file types, such as EXT, RAR and XAR.

(c) Kevin Casper/IDG

7-Zip also offers encryption features, a very simple Windows user interface, file management features, integrations to the Windows Shell menu (right-click), support for over 80 languages and is available as a command-line version for Windows, Linux and macOS.

PeaZip

PeaZip, another popular open source archiving solution, offers a more user-friendly interface on both Windows and Linux, more in line with that of Windows Explorer or some commercial archiving programs.

(c) Kevin Casper/IDG

PeaZip supports a similarly extensive list of file formats, including the aforementioned 7-zip file format 7z. In addition, PeaZip offers even more encryption options, hashing tools and other security features such as secure deletion and two-factor authentication with passwords and key files.

BandiZip

BandiZip is available as both free and paid software. While other compression tools focus on their file management interfaces, BandiZip is a bit more focused on creating and managing archives and provides a clear guide for every step along the way.

(c) Kevin Casper/IDG

The free product BandiZip has a convenient interface, a certain Windows shell integration and is appreciated for its speed when compressing larger archives. It offers much of what 7-Zip and PeaZip also offer, but some of the features require a paid license. If you want to compress particularly large and/or complex archives, it is worth checking out BandiZip to see if it could support your projects.

Conclusion

Even if the compression features built into Windows are better than ever, it’s still worth using a special compression tool so that you have a wider range of support and features if necessary. And since there are three worthwhile free options, nothing should stop you from being prepared.

*Kevin Casper is a tech professional who likes to talk in public, use duct tape, and play an orc in every game he can.

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