File archivers are software packages that enable you to decompress, or extract, compressed file formats. For example, you might have come across the ZIP or RAR archive formats that are widely used by developers to package their software. If software is packaged in a ZIP or RAR, you can extract those formats with file archivers. You can also set up your own compressed file formats with those utilities to save some disk space.
A file archiver is a fairly essential bit of kit. True, Windows 10 File Explorer does include an Extract all option. However, you can only decompress ZIPs with that button. So Microsoft really needs to enhance Windows’ limited file archive options. These are some of the best open-source file archivers for Windows 10.
7-Zip is one of the most highly rated archive utilities for Windows, which you can install by clicking 7-Zip 16.04 on this page. This doesn’t have an especially snazzy UI, but it’s an effective tool for packing and unpacking file archives. This software can decompress a variety of compressed files such as ZIP, RAR, AR, VHD, Z, ISO, MBR, LZMA, UDF, VDI, NTFS, CAB and more besides. It can also compress several archive formats including its very own 7z format that splits files into multiple archives.
The software has a compression ratio of 2 – 10% for the GZIP and ZIP formats. Another advantage of this utility is that it integrates with File Explorer so you can select 7-Zip options from folder context menus. In addition, it also provides AES-256 encryption so you can add passwords to ZIP and 7z archive formats.
As 7-Zip is open-source software its source code is not kept under wraps. This has enabled one developer to launch his own enhanced version of 7-Zip. That is Easy 7-Zip which is much the same as the original, but with some extra refinements. For example, Easy 7-Zip includes some extra options on the Copy and Extract dialog windows, extra icons on the context menu and minimizes to system tray when users press the Background button. Open this page to save its setup wizard to Windows.
PeaZip is another of the best open-source archive utilities that’s compatible with the 32/64-bit Windows and Linux platforms and also has a portable version. Click the PeaZip Free Download button on the software’s website to add it to Windows 10. This is a utility that works with more than 150 archive formats, and it provides full read/write support for ZIP, WIM, GZ, 7z, UPX, TAR, Bz2 and PeaZip’s PEA format.
PeaZip has a slightly more engaging UI design than 7-Zip, and it also adds some handy extra options and shortcuts to File Explorer’s context menu. PeaZip also provides encryption options for its users so that you can encode archives with the password manager. Another good thing about this utility is that you can repair damaged archives with it.
B1 Free Archiver
B1 Free Archiver is a multiplatform compression utility for Windows, Android, Mac and Linux that has had glowing reviews. Press the Free download for Windows button on the software’s home page to install it. However, you can also extract compressed files with the B1 Online Archiver that supports various formats.
B1 Free Archiver enables you to open all the main archive formats such as ZIP, 7z, GZIP, TAR, ISO, RAR, CAB and its own B1 archive file. However, its archive creation is limited to only the B1 and ZIP formats. It gives you various compression modes, and users can also split and encrypt archives.
B1 Free Archiver also has a smooth and intuitive GUI that elevates it above some of the other compression utilities. This is a UI that enables you to drag-and-drop and includes hotkey support. The software’s toolbar includes all the primary options, and B1 also incorporates a file browser with a folder-tree that enhances navigation.
FreeArc is an open-source file archiver that offers faster compression than notable alternatives such as 7-Zip. Click download (7.9 mb) on the utility’s website to save FreeArc’s Windows installer. The program offers compression support for the main archive formats such as ZIP, RAR and 7z as well as ARC.
FreeArc boasts greater speed and efficiency for file extraction and compression than alternative utilities. It has eleven compression algorithms and filters that give it an edge over 7-Zip and WinRAR. The utility’s website states that it, “works 2 – 5 times faster” than other file archive programs for various compression classes.
These are five great open-source file archivers for Windows 10 and other platforms. With the utilities you can extract or compress files with a variety of archive formats, fix archives and encrypt compressed files. They also offer terrific value compared with WinRAR and WinZIP.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2016 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.