7-Zip 4.49 Beta

7-Zip is a file archiver with the high compression ratio. The program supports 7z, ZIP, CAB, RAR, ARJ, LZH, CHM, GZIP, BZIP2, Z, TAR, CPIO, RPM and DEB formats. Compression ratio in the new 7z format is 30-50% better than ratio in ZIP format.

The main features of 7-Zip

* High compression ratio in new 7z format with LZMA compression
* Supported formats:
- Packing / unpacking: 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2 and TAR
- Unpacking only: RAR, CAB, ISO, ARJ, LZH, CHM, Z, CPIO, RPM, DEB and NSIS
* For ZIP and GZIP formats 7-Zip provides compression ratio that is 2-10 % better than ratio provided by PKZip and WinZip
* Self-extracting capability for 7z format
* Integration with Windows Shell

* Powerful File Manager
* Powerful command line version

* Plugin for FAR Manager
* Localizations for 63 languages

Changes:

- 7-Zip now can unpack WIM archives
- 7-Zip now replaces incorrect characters in filenames during extracting.

Download: 7-Zip 4.49 Beta freeware
Link: Home Page

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A comparison of speed and size between 7Zip and WinRAR:

1456 files (including 148 duplicate files in separate directories) 135,587,773 total size

I never could find a good comparison that helped me really see the differences between the two programs, so I decided to do one myself. This is a test I just did... (yes, I was bored) I archived a directory and subfolders using various easy-to-find settings... Several different file types included in the directories.

WinRAR 3.70

Dictionary Size 4096KB (4MB) - RAR - Best - 50 sec - 43,589,464 (32%)
Dictionary Size 4096KB (4MB) - RAR - Fastest - 11 sec - 48,175,437 (35%)

7Zip

Dictionary Size 64KB - 32 word size - LZMA - Fastest - 8MB solid block size - 20 sec - 41,771,177 packed (30%)
Dictionary Size 64KB - 16 word size - LZMA - Ultra - 4GB solid block size - 24 sec - 40,832,536 packed (30%)
Dictionary Size 2MB - 16 word size - LZMA - Ultra - 4GB solid block size - 26 sec - 31,808,160 packed (23%)
Dictionary Size 64MB - 16 word size - LZMA - Ultra - 4GB solid block size - 30 sec - 29,749,962 packed (21%)
Dictionary Size 64MB - 8 word size - LZMA - Ultra - 4GB solid block size - 23 sec - 30,093,874 packed (22%)
Dictionary Size 64MB - 16 word size - LZMA - Maximum - 4GB solid block size - 29 sec - 29,756,073 packed (21%)
Dictionary Size 64MB - 256 word size - LZMA - Ultra - 4GB solid block size - 88 sec - 28,945,935 packed (21%)

I did the same test WITHOUT duplicate files, just to see how it would be affected...

1308 files (no dupicates) - 126,471,057 total size

WinRAR
Dictionary Size 4096KB (4MB) - RAR - Best - 46 sec - 35,493,082 (28%)
Dictionary Size 4096KB (4MB) - RAR - Fastest - 10 sec - 40,058,685 (31%)

7Zip

Dictionary Size 64MB - 8 word size - LZMA - Ultra - 4GB solid block size - 25 sec - 29,968,375 packed (23%)

This should give you an idea of how changing the settings in 7Zip will actually affect speed/size/etc.

The verdict...

WinRAR is great for basic archiving with very fast/light compression. It is incredibly fast in those modes. WinRAR also makes it easier to manipulate files once they're in .RAR format. Deleting/Moving/Copy a file inside of a .RAR or playing with a .RAR file is usually pretty easy and works almost like a normal directory.

7Zip does the deep compression modes much better and much faster, if you understand how to change the settings. (Large dictionary size with small word size seems to work the best for me.)

7Zip also has a huge advantage when dealing with duplicate files in an archive. It only stores the data for the file once, while maintaining the structure for all of the duplicates. This makes for a good amount of saved space.

I have used some compression tools over the years, WINZIP, ACE, RAR, POWER ARCHIVER, 7-ZIP...? and although, I like Powre Archiver and probably the best 10 bucks I have ever spent... 7-ZIP is still in my view one of the best in it's class. Easy to use and quite a powerfull little kit of software.

I sounded like an advertisement for compression software...? :redface:

I use 7-zip on Vista because Vista take to long on big zip files. I didnt install it, I use 7-zip portable (for USB drives) and keep it in a folder. File type associations work fine for .rar files.

Yep. WinRar is still the best, I find, but not free.
7-zip is just a little slow, but has sufficient functions and is free.

I changed over from using winrar to 7zip and honestly i can't tell a diff in speed...but then i haven't really compared the speed of extremely large compressions...

What is "WIM"?

@helloluffy: 7zip is easy to use, too. It's only less colorful than WinRAR. But who needs the main window?

th3rEsa said,
What is "WIM"?

@helloluffy: 7zip is easy to use, too. It's only less colorful than WinRAR. But who needs the main window?

WIM is a file from Windows Vista setup.

This is one of the best zip program. Though, i sometime find this very slow. The icon could also have an update. Other, awesome.