7Zip is the most effective archive format in most tests, and is only less used than RAR because of the ability to do the recovery of damaged files with the help of PAR or PAR2 files, and the program QuickPar.

The program also has the advantage of being free, and open source, so that anyone wanting to lend a hand, or contribute ideas to improve the product can. Another advantage is the availability of a 64 bit version, which works well on 64 bit Windows, without any difficulties that I have been able to ascertain.

Still in a very long beta cycle, and still uncharacteristically named 9.12, when the last non-beta version was 4.65, the new 9.12 revision repairs one flaw with the 9.11 beta release. TechConnect has the details of supported formats and the author’s website shows specifically how 7z compression can usually improve upon the compression of files over the RAR format.

7-Zip is one of the most effective file archiver applications, with an impressive compression ratio and superb resource efficiency. The best part about the software is that it is open source – most of the source code is under the GNU LGPL license.

Supported formats:
Packing / unpacking: 7z, ZIP, GZIP, BZIP2 and TAR; Unpacking only: ARJ, CAB, CHM, CPIO, DEB, DMG, HFS, ISO, LZH, LZMA, MSI, NSIS, RAR, RPM, UDF, WIM, XAR and Z.
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.

Updates include:
– ZIP / PPMd compression ratio was improved in Maximum and Ultra modes.
– The BUG in 7-Zip 9.* beta was fixed: LZMA2 codec didn’t work, if more than 10 threads were used (or more than 20 threads in some modes).

Website: 7-Zip
Download: 7-Zip 9.12

I never came across the problem repaired in this revision, and I doubt many did, but it is very good to know that the author is so conscientious, and is squashing the tiniest, hardest to find bugs.

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