Variety of programs that compress and decompress files

There are a variety of programs that compress and decompress files. Some are operating system dependent and others have versions for multiple operating systems. The major programs/formats include :

  • 7-Zip (.7z file) – A popular archive format. The free 7-Zip program can also handle many other formats.
  • GNU Zip (.gz file) – Used on many *NIX operating systems. Many programs support this archive type.
  • LHA (.lha or .lzh file) – This is now used on multiple operating systems and is a standard on Amiga systems. Free unarchivers exist.
  • RAR (.rar file) – A proprietary format second only to .zip on Windows systems. WinRAR is a popular program to use although free unarchivers exist.
  • StuffIt (.sit file) – A popular archive format for the Macintosh although it can be found on other operating systems.
  • Tape archive (.tar file) – Used on many *NIX operating systems. Many programs support this archive type.
  • WinAce (.ace file) – A format often used for CD/DVD images. The WinACE program is not free but free dearchivers exist for older versions of the format and the commercial version has a free trial period.
  • Zip (.zip file) – Probably the single most popular archive format out there. Many programs support this archive type (both free and commercial). Even Windows itself can create and dearchive .zip files
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