Bandizip is probably the best free file archiver right now

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I have used different file archiving programs over the years on Windows including popular commercial programs such as WinRar or WinZip as well as a number of free applications such as Extract Now or 7-Zip.

While I really like 7-Zip, I started to notice that the application has its issues. The last stable version was released years ago and while the developer produces alpha versions of the program regularly, it is of no use to you if you do not want to run alpha software on your system.

Besides that it has its issues. 7-Zip does not support the new RAR5 format that was introduced back in 2013 and cannot open folders automatically after extraction.

I decided to look for an alternative that would tick all the boxes without sacrificing anything. Plus, the program had to be available freely as well as I had no intention of spending money for an archiver.

I reviewed Bandizip in 2011 for the first time and liked it a lot back then. The developing company has improved the application over the years so that it is now supporting all the features that I require from a file archiver. What those are? Glad you asked.

  1. Format compatibility - The program needs to support all major archive formats including zip, 7z, rar (including rar5), gz, ace, tar and others in terms of extraction, and major formats when it comes to archive creation.
  2. Convenience - Options to extract one or multiple archives from Windows Explorer and to open extracted folders after extraction.
  3. Other features - Unicode support is a must, as are options to customize the context menu and other program features.

Bandizip ticks all those boxes. The program supports 37 different file formats at the time of writing including all major archive file formats but also disc image formats such as ISO or IMG.

bandizip

The application is available as a portable version or setup for Windows as well as a (paid) version for Apple's Macintosh system. If you install the program on Windows, the file association settings page is opened right afterwards. Here you can associate archive file formats to open with the application.

Doing so will replace the icon of associated archives with the Bandizip icon. It also allows you to double-click the archive to run an action configured in Bandizip on it.

archive file formats association

One interesting feature of the application is the ability to change what happens when you double-click archives. The default action is to open Bandizip to display the contents of the archive.

You can change that however so that the archive gets extracted automatically for instance instead.

As far as customizations go, there are quite a few that make life easier for you. Here is a short list:

  • Configure what is displayed in the context menu and what is not.
  • Option to open the folder of an extracted archive after the operation completes.
  • Handling of long path names that exceed 260 characters.
  • Command line support.

When it comes to creating archives, Bandizip may not support a massive amount of options but the important ones are there.  It can create eight different archive types including zip and 7z, split up volumes, add password protection, self-extracting archives and change compression levels.

Closing Words

I have used 7-Zip for a long time but lack of updates and support for new file formats have forced me to find a replacement for the application. Bandizip ticks all the right boxes at the time of writing especially when it comes to extracting or browsing archives.

Summary
Author Rating
5
Software Name
Bandizip
Operating System
Windows
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Responses to Bandizip is probably the best free file archiver right now

  1. Lucky Limat June 24, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    I am happy with bandizip. i tried lot, including 7zip ,finally settled with bandizip.

  2. Fabrice Roux June 24, 2014 at 11:09 am #

    7-Zip still has a major advantage: it offers a msi file. Which means deploying the tool in the corporate world is as simple as a click.

  3. krisu June 24, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

    Yeah, this pretty good and you can still use 7-Zip's archiving exe if you want.

  4. Danny June 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

    I prefer Haozip myself.

  5. Maelish June 24, 2014 at 2:40 pm #

    I'm still happy with winrar. I took the time to register it a while back and it's been nothing but good.

    • Keith D June 24, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

      +1

    • Blue June 24, 2014 at 8:17 pm #

      +1

    • Zeus June 25, 2014 at 8:51 pm #

      Whatever magic voodoo WinRAR has going on behind the scenes, it's been able to successfully open archives that choke other programs like 7-Zip. That's why I swear by it, reliability. I've literally ran an archive through two or three different programs, each of which told me it was corrupt, then tried it in WinRAR and had it open the archive without a hitch.

      WinRAR used to be one of those shareware programs where everyone runs the trial indefinitely, but it's honestly worth the money, just to support continued development.

  6. Craig June 24, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

    I have been using it for years. I love it.

  7. froyton June 24, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    Oh nice, it supports the creation of separate archives for multiple files.

    I'm going to switch to Bandizip for some time and see how I like it, but so far I like what I see!

  8. Dwight Stegall June 24, 2014 at 4:27 pm #

    7-Zip using the 7z format takes 40 minutes to archive my personal files. Bandizip does it in 20 minutes.

    • ReX June 25, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

      That only means it's using different (lower) compression settings.

  9. Womble June 24, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

    Been looking for a replacement for 7-Zip for much the same reasons. Will give this a try.

  10. Womble June 24, 2014 at 5:18 pm #

    Just did a quick and dirty benchmark and as you might expect it performed almost identically to 7-zip. So given the advantages outlined above by Martin, at this point, it seems like this software will be a keeper for me.

  11. Blue June 24, 2014 at 8:25 pm #

    ALZip is another freebie which does as much as WinRar and more. It is from the makers of the ALShow (previously named ALPlayer) all in one media player with built in codecs and much prettier GUI than VLC that I love so much.

    Archive Compatibility
    1. Unzip 40 different formats
    ZIP, 7Z, RAR, EGG, TAR, TBZ, LZH, Z, JAR, ALZ, ACE, ARC, ARJ, B64, BH, BHX, BIN, BZ, BZ2, CAB, EAR, ENC, GZ, HA, HQX, ICE, IMG, LHA, MIM, NRG, PAK, TBZ2, TGZ, UUE, UU, WAR, XXE, ISO, LCD, ZOO
    2. Zip files into 8 different formats
    ZIP, EGG, ALZ, TAR, TBZ, TGZ, LZH, JAR

    Language Compatibility
    1. Unicode support for EGG file
    2. Language Encoding function to view different characters around the world

    Advanced Options
    1. Restore corrupted files
    2. Span a zip file into zip files
    3. Merge spanned files into one
    4. Set password using AES-128bit / AES-256bit encryption
    5. Check for virus using your anti-virus software
    6. Create Self-extracting archive (EXE) to let people open your archive with no file compression program installed
    7. Check for errors in zip files
    8. Command line functions for expert users

    User-Friendly Options
    1. Functional in context menu to zip files or unzip in 3 mouse clicks
    2. Peek (Preview) files in archive
    3. Attach archive to email after compressing
    3. Search tools to find specific files

    http://www.altools.com/ALTools/ALZip.aspx

    They also have a MAC specific version.
    http://www.altools.com/ALTools/ALZipmac.aspx

  12. Mountainking June 25, 2014 at 9:09 am #

    While I have been also using 7-zip for years, there are some shortcomings that have literally irked me.
    I) When extracting files to a folder, it first extracts the file to a folder and then copies it back to the final destination.
    ii) It does not keep broken archives like WinRAR does.
    Read website:
    I) SOLVED http://www.bandisoft.com/bandizip/help/fastdnd/

    ii) Reading more... :)

    Does Bandizip have an option to keep broken extracted archives? 7-zip just deletes the extracted broken/incomplete file...

  13. GodHatesFigs June 25, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

    Been using 7-Zip for ages but am using this now on your recommendation.

  14. yronnen June 25, 2014 at 5:29 pm #

    It cannot compress in rar format...that's a no-go for me..

    • ReX June 25, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

      No other software other than WinRAR is able/allowed to compress RAR files, the creators made illegal to reverse engineer the compression algorithm. They did open source the decompression algorithm though.

  15. CHEF-KOCH June 26, 2014 at 4:34 am #

    Well, 7-Zip is more or less a one-man-project by Igor Pavlov so it's only logical there are not much stable releases until all reported problems get a fix.

    http://sourceforge.net/p/sevenzip/discussion/45797/thread/07d5c851/
    This is a version from yesterday, as in the comments mentioned, Igor working on Rar5 support.

    And here is the ticket:
    http://sourceforge.net/p/sevenzip/feature-requests/1176/

  16. PhoneyVirus June 28, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

    Been using WinRAR over a decade and never had any problems with it what so ever, but this freebie seems to be useful, never know when your going to need another one, plus it's portable cool.

    Thanks for the little Tutorial Martin

    PhoneyVirus

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