The ZIP archive format is still ubiquitous although it’s compression ratio has been surpassed by many new file compression programs. So I decided to write about free WinZip alternatives and .zip software in general – this will complement my recent post about RAR extractors nicely.
While WinZip is by far the most popular program for handling Zip files, it is only one of many. In fact, if all you need is something to open .zip files and you don’t need the additional “features” of WinZip (like FTP uploading or DVD burning which can both be handled by other software), you can easily make do with free Zip software and might be better off for that.
ZIP Software For Windows
There are hundreds of file compression utilities, both freeware and paid, and most of them can open .zip files. For example, 7-zip is a widely known freeware archiver that provides much better compression ratios (in 7z format) than WinZip and knows how to open zip files. Another free program that can zip and unzip files is ZipGenius, plus it also supports many other archive formats. Some prefer ZipCentral which supposedly has a better interface, but it hasn’t been updated for a long time…
My personal favourite is WinRar. I like the interface, it creates smaller archives than most other archivers (when using the native .rar format) and supports most popular archive formats. It’s shareware, but you can actually use the free trial version forever – it doesn’t stop working after the trial period (though I’d suggest you buy it, it’s good). There’s also ZipUltra that seems to offer some of the same features as the Pro version of WinZip, but I haven’t really used it.
Ah, I almost forgot – Windows XP and Vista can open Zip files without using any additional software. Windows just treats the archives as “compressed folders”. You can double-click a file to open it, but aside from that, the built-in .zip handling has a very limited feature set.
Linux And Zip Software
If you’re at loss about how to open .zip files on Linux (which I find somewhat unlikely), take a look at two appropriately named utilities – zip and unzip (or see this page). If commandline isn’t your thing, I hear there’s also a Linux version of 7-zip.
How To Zip Files on Mac
So that’s it about the free Zip software. I prefer RAR anyway 😛Related posts :