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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