Best Freeware File Compression Software For Windows
File compression or file archiving is nothing new for the computing world. In fact its pretty much de-facto for users who regularly downloads files or share files. The concept of packing multiple files into a compressed archive before sending it to someone was very important in the earlier days of the Internet with very less bandwidth. Although the Internet is much faster now with lots of bandwidth, the concept of file compressing is still going great. People still compress files (multiple files) into a single file before sending them over the Internet. One of the advantages of using file compression is it reduces the chances of forgetting to attach an important file. It’s also very frustrating for the person who is receiving the file. Instead of downloading multiple files one after another, he/she just needs to download a single archive. This also bypasses (if the compressed file is password protected) the compressed files from the prying eyes of various email or cloud storage services.
Natively, almost all operating systems can open ZIP files, the most popular file compression format. Although the built-in compression feature on Windows operating system leaves a lot of space for improvement. The ZIP file format is good enough for most users but the world has moved on from using ZIP format to compress files. Many different open-source and proprietary formats like RAR, ARC, TAR, 7Z, etc. are in use now. All these different archive formats has made the need for a dedicated file compression app on Windows a necessity. Here’s a quick look at the five best free file compression software for Windows.
7-Zip is by far the best freeware compression app for Windows and its open source too. It not compresses a file into the popular ZIP format but comes with its own 7z format. It not only shines while compressing files, its support for extracting files from a range of formats including the popular RAR and ARC makes it the king of all other file compression apps. To satisfy your curiosity to know exactly which archive formats 7-zip supports, 7-zip file compressor supports 7z, XZ, BZIP2, GZIP, TAR, ZIP, WIM, ARJ, CAB, CHM, CPIO, CramFS, DEB, DMG, FAT, HFS, ISO, LZH, LZMA, MBR, MSI, NSIS, NTFS, RAR, RPM, SquashFS, UDF, VHD, WIM, XAR, Z.
You can either install 7-zip on your computer (which has its own advantages) or use the portable version to carry it around. If you install 7-zip app on your Windows, you will find the Windows Explorer integration with useful 7-zip context menu very handy. The only thing that may bother users of 7-zip is its user interface. Other than that, 7-zip is a very good file compressor for Windows that’s free and open-source. And it’s our favorite app too.
PeaZip is another open source free file compression app for Windows. Similar to the 7-Zip app, PeaZip supports file compression in a various formats including its native PEA file compression format. According to the PeaZip website, it can compress files into 7Z, ARC, BZ2, GZ, *PAQ, PEA, QUAD/BALZ, TAR, UPX, WIM, XZ, ZIP files. Its ability to extract files from more than 150+ file compression formats makes it a must have for any Windows users. This includes support for extracting files from ACE, ARJ, CAB, DMG, ISO, LHA, RAR, UDF, ZIPX and more compression formats. Thus the next time you received a file compressed using an exquisite compression format, you may look for PeaZip to extract it.
Other than the regular features expected from any other file compression app, its extra features like the ability to find duplicate files, calculate hashes of files, export job definition as script, and plugin architecture for extensibility makes it a great choice for users. What makes PeaZip shine brighter than its counterparts is its built-in encryption with two-factor authentication support, an encrypted password manager, and secure deletion. Further, PeaZip is a cross-platform free file compression app available on all three major operating systems (Windows, OS X and Linux). With this huge amount of features that are not even offered in commercial apps, it’s surely going to take the crown off 7-Zip and become the king of free file compression apps.
Bandizip is a freeware file archiver for Windows. Its small footprint and the minimal user interface is similar to the other file archive managers we saw here. It does a good job as a file archive manager offering different formats for file compression and file extraction including popular formats like ZIP, RAR and 7z. It supports file encryption using ZipCrypto and AES 256 encryption algorithms.
Bandizip inserts a quick access menu to the Windows Explorer context menu so that you can easily extract files. You can easily customize the Windows Explorer context menu if you want to. A unique feature of Bandizip is its Embedded Image Viewer that lets you view images without extracting the file archive. It’s a very handy feature that saves you a lot of time. The next time when your relative sends an archive full of photos, you can preview the photos and extract the important ones instead of extracting the file archive. It supports both Windows and Mac OS X.
Bitser is another file compression app for Windows that’s free. The user interface is little different from the file archive managers we saw earlier. It offers a tab-based interface for accessing its different functions. It actually uses the open-source 7-Zip software for all compression and extraction process. Thus you can be sure that all the major file archiving formats supported by 7-Zip are supported by Bitser too. So, if you don’t find the user interface of 7-Zip very amusing but still want to have all the features, Bitser may be a good 7-Zip alternative for you.
As a bonus, Bitser features a password manager and a MD5/SHA checksum calculator to verify file identity. Bitser required Microsoft .NET Framework 4 to run on Windows operating system.
Hamster Free ZIP Archiver
Hamster Free ZIP Archiver takes a refreshing approach towards the design of the user interface. Its fancy look will make you think differently. In comparison with the user interface of the other four file archive manager apps above, it’s very fresh.
Hamster Free ZIP Archiver creates a compressed archive when you drop files into its dark interface. After dropping files, you can name the archive, select the compression level and save the archive to wherever you need it. It also allows you to upload your files to a supported cloud storage service (Dropbox, Yandex Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and Google Drive).
Beside the Create tab, click on the Open tab to extract files. Simply drag a supported archive and it will extract the files out. The ease-of-use of Hamster Free ZIP Archiver along with its simple interface will make it a good choice for users who needs a simple file archive manager. It’s a very good alternative for the file compression apps we saw here before it. Hamster Free ZIP Archiver is also available for Apple OS X platform.
File compression apps have travelled a long way since the birth of the Internet. Some users may argue if we really need them today. Yes, we enjoy fast internet access with almost unlimited bandwidth, huge disk and gigabytes of free cloud storage spaces. Still, the value and importance of a file compression apps for its users are not diminished.
All the five file compression apps are freeware. Depending upon your needs, you can pick up the most suitable file archive manager. One way to find out which one is the best for your requirements, is to try them out. Afterall, all of them comes a great price of zero!
The above five file archive managers doesn’t conclude the list of file compression apps. Out there, you will find a huge number of file archive managers. We may have missed out a few which are worth mentioning here. In reality, by selecting only five best compression apps available for Windows, we may have only touched the tip of an iceberg. The world of Windows apps is pretty huge. So, if you know about an app that’s worth mentioning off, share about it in the comments below, we are eager to know about them.