Our four best Compression Tools for Windows/ Mac
A while ago, we talked about compressed files and today we will see which alternative third party tools you could use instead of the Windows implemented version. We will compare commercial Shareware tools with free open-source alternatives. The standard criteria for a good compression tool are the
· Ability to split compressed files in smaller pieces
· File encryption and password support for archives
· SFX - Self-extracting file formats (so other people won’t need a third party tool to open the compressed file)
· Multilingual support for the major languages
· Extracting the most common file formats for compression tools (Such as RAR, ZIP, ZIPX, 7-ZIP, TAR and ACE)
WinZip is the classical third party tool for creating zip-files. It offers also other useful functions such as automated backup (only pro) or image resizing and also comes with the familiar ribbon interface (same as Microsofts Office 2007/2010). It comes in a standard and pro version – while the core functions such as zipping and unzipping will be supported by both versions. Since version 14 they have introduced a new file format named “ZIPX”, which is by default the ending of the compressed container file. Due to the fact that this format is new, not many utilities support it.
· Supports image-resizing
· Ribbon interface
· Integrated “Zip-Send” function
· View-function for compressed only with pro-version
· Bad compression rate with “ZIP”
· No “ACE” support
Beside zip-files WinRar offers one of the most common compression formats – the “.rar” format. It offers a way much better compression than the zip-format and can be opened by well-known third party programs. It has a clean interface and supports up to 45 different languages and provides in addition to its own compression format also the creation of zip-files. You can also extract a large variety of archive types and advanced SFX options. On the official Website you could also download different themes for the interface which are offered with different icon sizes for the toolbar.
· Supports many languages
· Enhanced SFX
· Supports themes with different icon sizes
· Repair function for damaged archives
· Overloads the context menu on default installation
· No “ZIPX” support
7-Zip is a powerful and free compression utility for private and commercial use. It supports several of archive formats, such as the native 7-ZIP format “.7z” but also “.zip” and “.tar” formats. It’s known for a one of the best compression-rate for large files and offers an option for different compression algorithms. The interface, which looks similar to commercial solutions such as WinRAR, is minimalistic and even an inexperienced user, could handle it. There is an active community behind this software which helps you out if there are any questions left. 7-Zip comes mainly for Windows based systems, but offers also packages for Linux, Macs and other systems. It’s free for commercial and non-commercial use.
· Supports up to 79 languages
· Supports 256-bit AES encryption
· Themes can be installed
· Minimalistic interface
· Only one stable release since version 9
In its current version 0.666, the website of Free Arc propagate to be between 2x – 5x faster than programs such as 7-Zip, WinRAR and WinZip. The functions of that program are quite impressive. It offers also different algorithms for compression and also for encryption. It’s native file format is “.arc” which is currently the only file format which is supported (0.7 will also support “.zip” and “.7z” formats for compression). The interface might be a bit difficult for beginners, due to a large possibility of settings which can be done. After the installation Free Arc integrates itself like other tools into the context menu of Windows. Like 7-Zip it also supports Themes and is free for commercial and non-commercial use.
· Supports many languages
· Different methods of encryption possible
· No support for “.zip” compression
· Interface only for experienced users
· No Mac support