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Compress and extract with 7-Zip

Try to contain your excitement as we take a brief tour of an application designed to let you compress your files, and extract archived files you download from the Internet. Never before has a more enthralling piece of software been written about than 7-Zip.

Okay, so it’s not exciting, but it is useful. Whilst most compressed files or sets of files come in Zip packages which can be opened by Windows’ built-in extractor, sometime they’ll be compressed in different formats, such as 7z, Tar, or RAR, which can’t be opened by Windows’ built-in tool. In addition, if you want to transfer large files or groups of files, compressing them would be a spiffing idea to make the transfer faster and prevent the person at the other end getting huffy about the wait. So, 7-Zip serves two purposes – unzipping most compressed files, and allowing you to zip up files in different ways.

extractmenuOnce downloaded and installed you’ll be able to do two new things. Don’t let the excitement get too much for you – contain yourself. The first will appear to you in some eerie black-magic style when you right-click on a compressed file. A new option will be available on the context menu which contains the options for extracting a file or files.

‘Extract files’ will allow you to choose the location, whilst ‘Extract here’ will plonk them in the folder you’re currently in. You can also compress files from this menu. However, if you’re looking to reduce the size of more than a few files, you might find loading up the full program more effective. Load it in the usual way – it should have plonked itself in the Start Menu under ‘7-Zip’.

Selecting files for compression.

Selecting files for compression.

You then see an interface which lets you navigate around your folders. You can select folders and files that you want to compress and then click the ‘Add’ button to make the compression window pop up. You can also hold down the ctrl key to select multiple files. If you want to compress files into one package that are currently scattered around all over the place, your best bet would be to copy or move them to a single folder, and then select that and have 7-Zip compress it for you. You don’t have to worry about losing your original files, because it creates separate compressed copies of the selected items.

7-Zip is pretty nifty. It’s fast and light-weight and allows you to extract an array of different types of files. You can also compress your own files into a number of different filetypes. Considering you’d have to pay for alternatives such as Win-Zip and WinRAR, it’s worth it. You can grab it from www.7-zip.com.

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  1. July 5, 2009 at 2:51 pm

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