7-Zip is a file archiver which is used to compress files developed by Igor Pavlov in 1999. 7-Zip uses its own 7z archive format but has the ability to read and write several other archive formats including ZIP, Gzip, bzip2, xz, tar and WIM and also supports unpacking for APM, ARJ, CHM, cpio, DEB, FLV, JAR, LHA/LZH, LZMA, MSLZ, Office Open XML, onepkg, RAR, RPM, smzip, SWF, XAR, and Z.
For ZIP and GZIP formats 7-Zip provides a compression rate that is 2-10% superior to its closest competitors. 7-ZIP is free and open source software meaning there is no need to register or pay to use the service.
Using 7-Zip’s own 7z it can compress anywhere between 30 and 70% better than compressing to standard ZIP files.
It offers many features including volumes of dynamically variable sizes, making it possible to use for backups on removable media such as writable CD’s and DVD’s, you can use it as a standard file manager when used in 2-panel mode, the ability to open EXE files as archives allowing decompression of data from inside Setup, Installer or Extract type programs without even having to launch them, a command line interface and a graphical user interface, the ability to create self-extracting volume archives and also the ability to unpack archives with corrupted file names renaming them as required.
7-Zip comes with a file manager along with the standard archiving tool, the file manager has a toolbar with options to create an archive, test archives to check for errors, copy, move and delete files and even open a file properties menu solely for 7-Zip.
While the interface can seem fairly basic and there is not many additional features 7-Zip offers a compression ratio that is outstanding often cited as the best and most efficient compression program available.