Saturday, May 9, 2009

File compression programs

File compression is probably one of the best things that has happened since, well, files themselves. Have you ever needed to move a file that was just too large? Have you ever needed to backup a directory full of files and wished it was as easy as copying one file? Are you strapped for bandwidth (have a slow internet connection) and wished you could upload a smaller file? Getting a file compression program could help you in all of these situations. When I think of compression, three programs come to mind. All of these programs work in a similar way. Specify a directory or list of files, and these programs will make those file(s) into one archive with a collectively smaller file size.
  • WinRAR: WinRAR is one of the best compression programs I have found on the internet (when it comes to paid solutions). Although to access all features of this program you need to buy the 'full version', the average user will get everything they need from the free version. WinRAR comes with the standard set of features, including the ability to compress to the popular .rar format (as well as many others). The rar format is far better than the windows standard zip format compression.
  • 7-Zip: 7Zip is not as complete as WinRAR but does serve it's purpose. It can open and compress rar files as well as it's own 7z format and a few other less popular formats. 7-Zip is completely free and easy to use. Linux users can also make use of 7Zip through the command line after downloading the 7-Zip linux package.
  • KGB Archiver: KGB Archiver is not as well known as the other mentioned softwares. It also has higher software requirements and in some cases compression time will be a bit longer. However, KGB Archiver has an extremely good compression rate when using its own format kgb files. In some tests, files were able to be compressed at a 90%+. In addition, many more encryption and security measures are offered for KGB Archiver than on WinRAR and 7-Zip. If you really are in a crunch for space and/or you need to hide some information from someone, KGB Archiver would be the best choice of archiving programs.
Right now I have all of these programs installed. Each one has their own strengths and weaknesses.


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