7-Zip is an open source file archiver. The program works by taking multiple files and compressing them into a folder or archive, reducing the file size and making all the files into one. This makes it easier to upload the files to places like an email without having to worry that the files will be too big to send, and also prevents you from having to upload multiple files one at a time. You can also extract a compressed file after moving it to restore it the individual file form. 7-Zip is good for people who want to do things like download music and send it to other places by compressing an album or many albums, or if a user wants to extract a large archive containing a lot of picture files. Using this program is very easy and takes minimal research. After using it once, it's hard to forget how to.
7-Zip compresses and encrypts files in the blink of an eye.
Downloading and installing 7-Zip is easy. On the website, you can choose between 32 and 64-bit and download the .exe file for the latest version released. 7-Zip supports unpacking and packing for a large variety of file formats including but not limited to 7z, ZIP, WIM, ISO, RAR, and more. Install the application by running the .exe file, and that's it. Once 7-Zip is installed you're prompted to set it as your default archive and compression software which is convenient so you don't have to select it every time.
How to use this program
If you'd like to compress file, select them and add them to a folder. You can either continue here from the location of the folder, or you can open 7-Zip and do everything there. For the first option, go to the folder you'd like to compress, then right click on it. Hover over the 7-Zip tab, and then a menu will open up. In this menu, you can archive the file, compress and email it, compress the files into the .7z format and email them, or compress them into .zip format and email. For each of these options, a window will open and you can see the details of the action and change the settings like where the files will be archived to, the archive format, and the memory that will be used to compress the folder. You can also change the compression level. These levels range from normal to ultra. Ultra will compress you file into the smallest version possible, but the process is quite slow. The default setting of normal works just fine for most files, compressing in a matter of seconds. Another awesome feature in the archive window is the option to create an SFX archive, or self-extracted archive. Doing this will enable you to send a compressed file to someone else and they can double click to unarchive without having to download 7-Zip.
Extracting a compressed or zipped file works in a similar way. Right click on the file, hover over 7-Zip, and the drop down menu will include different methods to extract and unpack the smaller files. You can extract to a specific location including a folder that already exists, or extract to a new folder that will have the same name as the original file for easy searching. Once unzipped, the contents of the archived file will be extracted and you can view them in the original form.
The main uses of 7-Zip are compressing and extracting archives, but you can also encrypt in 7z and ZIP formats. When you archive a file, change the default archive format from zip to 7z. If you don't make that switch, the file names will not be encrypted. Enter a password into "encryption" section of the window and you will create a secure, ecrypted archive. To extract, just double click on the archive you've just created and once you've entered the password the extraction will begin.
Where can you run this program?
7-Zip is only available for PCs running Windows. The supported versions of Windows are 2000, 2003, 2008, 2012, 2016, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10. There is never any loading time and navigating around the software is as smooth as can be.
Is there a better alternative?
A good alternative for 7-Zip is WinRAR. WinRAR is another archiving program for Windows that can create archives in both ZIP and RAR file formats, and unpack in ISO, 7z, RAR, ZIP, and other formats. Although it is only available for Windows, WinRAR does have an app for Android called "RAR for Android". Like 7-Zip, WinRAR can encrypt and self-extract files, but it is not open source or free. There is a 40 day trial before a user is charged. Compression times are very close to 7-Zip, coming in only two or three seconds behind. If you don't have a PC, WinZip is a decent option. It only creates archives in ZIP format, but it is available for Mac, Windows, iOS and Android mobile devices, and iOS and Android tablets. Winzip compresses a bit faster than 7-Zip, but it is not open source and charges a one time fee for the software.
7-Zip is an excellent archiver to have. Compression speeds are just a few seconds even for large files, and functions like the ability to encrypt and self-extract files give the extra padding of security so users know that files that might be more sensitive can be safely sent.
Should you download it?
Yes, we definitely recommend downloading 7-Zip. The download and installation process is effortless. It is a powerful program that supports many file types so you know that you'll always be able to quickly compress and extract your files. It is lightweight, barely taking up any space on your computer and is completely free. Simple functions like folder history and favorites are a plus, which along with the rest of the more advanced actions make this software pretty much irreplaceable. Most users will be comfortable navigating around the software due to its basic, user-friendly interface.