If you are looking for an alternative to the built-in Windows XP unpacker you may want to take a look at 7-Zip. I was always looking for an alternative to the two major archiving programs WinRar and WinZip as both are not free. After some researching I discovered 7-Zip which handles more file formats than the two commercial programs.
7-zip is an Open Source program that supports all major compression formats. While it can unpack more formats than it can pack files with, it is fair to say that you can throw any archive that you come across at it and have it unpacked without issues.
The program integrates itself into the system during installation. It assigns formats to 7-Zip so that they can be opened with the program when they are executed. You can change file associations under Tools > Options > System if the need arises.
7-Zip adds context menu entries to Windows Explorer so that you can pack and unpack supported file formats right from the default Windows file manager.
Create an archive with 7-Zip:
How to unpack archives
The basic extract dialog lets you pick a folder on your hard drive that you want to unpack the archive to. You can also set a password here if that is required, select the overwrite mode or path mode:
The interface is minimalistic. The files of the current directory or archive are displayed in the program, along with the path to the file or folder, and controls at the top. Files can be dragged and dropped from the interface, to either add them to an archive or unpack them from an archive.
The controls are used to add or extract contents with the built-in file browser. There are also options to test archives, to delete files or copy and move them. It is alternatively possible to right-click and use the context menu to perform the operations.
The software supports keyboards to perform operations faster. It is for instance possible to create favorite folder shortcuts to open those folders directly in the 7-zip program, or perform actions like copying or extracting files with the help of these shortcuts.
7-zip is one of the best free packers for the Windows operating system. It is feature rich and compatible with all popular archiving formats.
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