What is 7-Zip and what makes it so good?
7-zip is an open-source software application that enables you to compress, unpack and prepare large files or folders for sending via e-mail or another file transfer solution over the Internet.
Unlike many popular archive programs that require charge, 7-zip is, despite free, much lighter and works more quickly and will pack most files without reporting any errors. Paid solutions are often heavy, take much space on hard disks and thus work very slow, resulting in errors.
This means that even if you paid for software needed for a simple operation such as archiving and zipping folders into package files prior sending, you have to worry whether it would return fatal errors that should prevent you from sending wanted files.
A paid solution is not always the best solution
I often had problems with one of these paid archiving applications. Often when I tried to zip my business archives, I encountered errors for no reason.
Whatever I tried to do, such as calling their tech support, browsing various forums and question-answer pages – did not help me. Then I referred to a computer expert who recommended me to download 7-Zip.
When I followed his advice and got the 7-zip download, I first packed some photos I made to see how it works. As it comes free, I also installed it on my laptop. Then I packed the folder in .zip format and posted it from desktop to laptop. I was surprised to see how quickly 7-Zip did it’s job on my laptop – it took only few seconds to open the attachment and show me the photos.
Encouraged by a good outcome I went on doing the same for my business files I failed to zip using a paid zipping app, and it worked well. Zipping on my desktop, sending the archive via mail to laptop, opening and re-editing the files; all worked fine for me. Quickly I sent the zipped files to my company.
To be ensured they could open it, since they used a paid alternative, I called the manager and he told me that he received and unpacked the file without any problems. I kept on using it for my everyday business tasks and was satisfied, not because it saved my money by being free of charge, but mainly because it enabled me to work more efficiently and be sure that my files will be sent on time.
That I will not encounter errors requiring additional time to solve and possibly lead to delays with my future projects.
7-zip – New great archive format
Another great feature of 7-Zip is their own archive format – .7z . 7z allows for an even faster compression and decompression of files. Files are much lighter than .zip ones and thus more contents should be sent via e-mail.
My 60MB photo file packed into a .zip took 51.8 MB, while the same folder shrank to 44.6 MB when I packed it into a .7z file. The only disadvantage related to this new file format is that most paid applications don’t work with it. When you intend to work with it you need to persuade your coworkers to get it on their computers.
Maybe some of them are stubborn, but 7-Zip has enough arguments on its side. I also spent some time persuading my managers to replace paid software with more efficient 7-zip, but upon accepting it they quickly unsubscribed from paid applications and kept on working with 7-Zip as the only archiving software.
Now we all exchange our business files in a .7z format and edit them in 7-Zip.