A Free, Open-Source alternative to WinZip

Last Updated on July 21, 2017 by Dave Farquhar

Free graphical Zip/Unzip programs for Windows have come and gone. I’m always looking for one because I don’t use a graphical one all that often, preferring the command-line utilities from Info-Zip that I’ve been using since 1991.

But sometimes the graphical interface makes things easier. Info-Zip has a GUI front-end, but it’s difficult to install, at least compared to the typical Windows program. Power Archiver used to be free, but it’s slow, and now it’s shareware, and frankly, I don’t think it offers much of anything that WinZip or PKZip for Windows doesn’t.

Enter 7zip. It’s easy, it’s GPL, it handles all the common file formats, and it’s reasonably fast. Enough said.

It also introduces a new file format. The “7z” format compressed some of my stuff about 80% more than Zip. It also compressed better than CAB or RAR. You can do people a favor and make your 7z files self-extracting, so they don’t have to download yet another archiver (my big beef with RAR).

It’s not only free, it’s better. Go get it.

And while we’re on the topic of Zip utilities, I would be remiss to not mention Ken Silverman’s excellent Zip tools. If you’re not afraid of the command line, they are a must-have.

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4 thoughts on “A Free, Open-Source alternative to WinZip

  • December 30, 2003 at 11:42 pm

    Agreed, I found out about 7Zip about a year ago and actually zip up “My Documents” folder as a self-extracting 7Zip archive monthly when I do my CD backups. Last time I checked, the 7Zip was 40% smaller than the zip file… that is a lot of savings when it is almost 100MB in size.

  • December 31, 2003 at 11:10 am

    It looks like the url for this site is actually http://www.7-zip.org, not 7zip.org (note the hyphen). This looks like yet another addition to my ‘toolbox’ that I’ve found here! Thanks!

  • December 31, 2003 at 3:28 pm

    Thanks for the correction. I changed it above.

  • December 31, 2003 at 10:10 pm

    Still using WinZip and hammering out bugs in the latest public beta (no private betas for the main WinZip are currently available). I use the encryption quite a bit, though I should probably be using PGP.

    I’m just looking forward to getting this year’s calendar…

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