Detailed Review of 15 Best Compression/Archiving ToolsBy Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
These days, two things are fairly common for all of us. 1. We are running out of space, 2. We are going for shorter and smaller versions of anything. That is where file compression softwares come in to rescue us from both the plights. They squeeze our files to less space. It takes less space to keep them, lesser to upload and download. So on my quest to find out the best file compression software, I was thoroughly confused. Gone are the days when Winrar and Winzip used to monopolize. There are so many softwares now in the market, I was trying to figure out which one to choose which one to not. Again, another question that came to my mind is, what is the basis of determining better compression tool? So I zeroed on to some criteria and reviewed each software on the basis of those.
Criteria for a Good File Compression Tool
I had a lot of features to ponder over while doing this. Some of the main features were,
- The ratio of compressed file size to the actual one
- Ease of archive creation
- Ease of archive extraction
- Time Taken to compress
- Time taken to decompress
- File support (How many compressed file formats are supported)
- Overall Compressibility Index (How does it fair with not only .doc but also with .mp3 and .wmv)
It can potentially compress the files up to 50 %. However it won’t compress the executable files The files are zipped into a .zip code, and later can be obtained in their original size using the same software. This software was the most popular software because, it has been and is the easiest and most user friendly compressing tool. You’re also given the option to choose from two modes of operation: Wizard Mode and Classic Mode.
The biggest disadvantage with Winzip has been its inability to support different compression file extensions. It has very limited features and limited extensions to go with.
It is not free and nags you after the trial period if you don’t pay (though retains full functionality). For a starter its fine but for us, sorry.
When we have talked of Winrar had to come. You can use winrar software to make zip files and rar files. It supports 8 percentages to 15-percentage compression rate. Winrar provides different types of compression methods such as normal, good, fast, best, fastest etc. More the compression methods, lesser the size but more time consuming. Good for someone who sends a lot of files by mail. Takes less time to upload.
Another feature I found useful is volume size. This feature is especially useful when you want to send large file by e-mail. Winrar splits large file into small files (such as .rar1, .rar2)as specified in volume size.
Self extracting archive is one of the unique features available in Winrar. As its name indicates it can be extracted independently, it does not require any external program to extract files. It has .exe extension and works like executable programs (though my preference is sfx archive). Most of the softwares have these facilities, but Winrar was the first to come up with such tricks.
Though one disappointing point is, most of these advanced features are available at .rar format only. So, unless that person has Winrar too, its problematic.
It is available on a free trial basis for 40 days, if you wish to continue you must register. Many people have and are using Winrar and they are happy. Its a competent tool and I will give it my vote too.
7-zip is a free software.That is not the only reason why I will give my trust vote and favourite vote to this. 7-zip is a no nonsense, simple, quick and less resource consuming compression tool. Its very efficient and gives me the control to select the level of compression, not like the built in Compression Tool in Windows XP. It allows me to set a much higher compression rate for a smaller output file size. From the conventional zip, rar, 7z to uncommon ones like ARJ, CAB, GZ and many other file versions are supported for extraction. The overall compressibility index is very fine too. It runs well within Windows and Linux (tar compression).
So, there is no noticeable con to 7-zip so that I can ignore it. Thumbs up.
Yes the name suggests it al . ALzip can actually zip and extract from all the notable file extensions (excepting RAR). Its very simple and fast. You can not get confused. Its that simple. Pauses during archiving allowed which is a wonderful feature to have. But the main aspect, i.e. the compression ratio is very poor for AlZip. So if you do not care much about reduction of file size but want an universal file archiver with good speed, then AlZip is for you.
Izarc goes hand in hand with Alzip in supported compressed file types. It support almost all types of file extraction. The compression ratio is really good for Izarc. It can compress your files upto 50%. Though the speed with which it does is terrible. The time taken to compress and decompress take too much of time. No SFX integration is there surprisingly. I would have given a sympathy vote to IZarc for its freeware and high compression ratio. But it is only for Windows. Tough luck!
PKZip is practically the father of all the compression tool with its age old (long back at 1980) history to boast of it. PkZip, being from the old school is extremely easy to use and the speed is excellent. The compression ratio is poor though. PkZip doesn’t get my vote because it doesn’t support .zip or .7z and sfx support is not there. Too many shortcomings grandpa.
You surely know about this one. Because power archiver has been a very popular compression tool for the users over the years. Mainly because power archiver has a strong and very good compressing engine that maintains a high compression ratio, the speed is rather slow. The help file is particularly good and explains a lot. There are many a features in power archiver that you can use. You can use Power archiver if you want. But I don’t think it has that good to be a shareware yet. But you can use it nonetheless.
Quickzip has quite a few very helpful features that attracted me first up. Batch file creation and extraction, 7z creation, built in Rar extraction; Rar creation with (CakExtension and Rar.exe), support for scripting, SFX builder, integrated anti-virus (clam-av client). So the developers have been very keen to make it as resourceful as possible. It zips with a high compression ratio but slower speed. I wonder why is that name then? Anyway, being impressed by the features, I think, I won’t disallow it to be a compression tool for my desktop.
I am naming this software for one main reason. That is to balance between that darn compression ratio and compression time. All the softwares I have reviewed so far lose out on any one while gaining points on the other. But Squeez is not very good in any but not bad either. It does the work efficiently. It saves time, saves space. SpeedProject’s Squeez is serious about archiving, supporting 13 different compression algorithms. Squeez is a software that I will suggest you to use because it is not that popular still the facilities it provides shook me up first up. Squeez gets a definite affirmation from me.
My next venture is ZipGenius. Well, the name is lucrative but it doesn’t go by its features. A standard archiving tool with a very good compression speed and a very poor… you know the obvious by now, right? ZipGenius Suite adds functionality through plug-ins, and notably, the ability to use the Open Source UPX executable compressor to further compress (.exe, .dll, .ocx, .img) files. ZipGenius has a good backup utility for files and folders which is an important feature to have. All in all, ZIpGenius is no genius, but its not dumb either. You can try if you like.
ZipZag is another file compression tool I liked. Loaded with everyday features users need, such as batch archive extraction (and creation), good archive conversion options, scripting, and multi-volume support (disk spanning), ZipZag sets a full table. It has an excellent interface with charmingly good tool tips and the overall appearance is very likable too. You can opt for ZipZag. The only problem is, they are too lazy to upgrade their product which has every potential to race for the top compression tool. Alas. Try it.
One thing that comes into my mind while tracking Bitzipper is, it is versatile. You may create 10 different types of archives 7 types of self-extracting archives and extract 20 different archive and encoding formats through this! One of the best encryption algorithms is there inside Bitzipper which makes security concerned people to give it a sure try. There are multiple features that bitzipper offers. Its rich in texture but the compression time is long. You can and should give Bitzipper a definite try.
The Unarchiver is the built-in default file compression utility for Mac OS X. Unlike Windows, which only supports the ZIP format out-of-the-box, The Unarchiver handles most major formats. The catch: The Unarchiver is a read-only application, so if you’re on a Mac and you want to write to more obscure archive types than ZIP, you may need to add an extra tool to your arsenal. Most OS X users, however, are happy to stick with The Unarchiver for all their decompression needs.
thanks to lifehacker.
File Roller is an archive manager for the GNOME environment. It supports gzip(.tar.gz , .tgz), bzip (.tar.bz , .tbz), bzip2 (.tar.bz2 , .tbz2), compress (.tar.Z , .taz), lzop (.tar.lzo , .tzo) along with conventional .rar, .zip and .7z. A very simple compression tool with lots of file extension support and moderate compression ratio. The speciality is a strong support of developers. If you are using Linux, you can surely try that.
Anyzip is a perfect example of a modern day, fast and flexible compression tool. Apart from having usual features that almost all the compression softwares have these days, Anyzip has less common features such as quick archive e-mailing. The keyboard settings are also very well maintained at Anyzip. IT has a strong foundation for both Windows and Linux. Multi-volume archive can be created on non-removable storage device as well. It is a good software that can be tested for sure.
As I come to conclude here with my study, I know you are as confused as I was in order to choose the best software. As I already said, my vote goes with 7zip and Winrar for major purposes. If you love testing new softwares, you can also try Squeez, ZipGenius, Zipzag and Bitzipper anytime. You won’t be disappointed. Tell us what you think to be the best compression tool and which one are you using right now. Beefore I go, I will leave you with two comparative charts of the compression tools. A note of thanks to donationcoder.com for that.
Tags: 7-zip, archiving tools, Arsenal, compression tools, file compression software reviews, fileroller, iZarc, Open Source, Power Archiver, Squeez, Unarchiver, winrar, winzip, ZipGenius, ZipZag