Many files on the Internet are compressed to reduce the time it takes to transfer them to users requesting them, and to cut down on monthly bandwidth bills.
A negative aspect of this is that the files need to be decompressed on the user's computer system before they can be used. This happens automatically at times, for instance when websites compress some files to speed up transfers and reduce bandwidth costs,
They usually fail on the other hand when it comes to extracting lots of archives, especially if those are stored in multiple folders.
This article reviews four specialized programs that are capable of extracting multiple archives at once.
Extract Now is the only program of the four that has been reviewed before by Ghacks. That was back in 2007. The developer has continued to develop the software and extended its functionality by a lot.
The basic functionality however has remained the same. Archives can be added for extraction by dragging and dropping folders or files into the Extract Now interface, or by selecting them in Windows Explorer and using the context menu link to send them to the program.
Extract Now supports a variety of formats including zip, rar, gzip, tar, iso and dozens of others. All archives that have been found can be extracted automatically or by clicking on the Extract button in the main program interface.
The software comes with lots of options that make the whole extracting process more comfortable. Extracted archives can for instance be deleted so that they do not have to be deleted manually in the end.
Extract Now is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit editions of most Microsoft Windows operating systems.
Unpacker uses a completely different design but provides almost the same functionality that Extract Now offers. The program does not support drag and drop though, but selection of files or folders from the file browser in its interface.
Selected folders are scanned for archives which are then automatically displayed with selection boxes to select some or all for extraction.
A major limitation of Unpacker is that it only supports rar and zip archives. These two formats make up the majority of compressed files on the Internet, but it may lead to the occasional manual extraction of unsupported archives.
Unpacker comes with a folder watcher that can be used to monitor folders for new archives. New compressed files are then automatically unpacked by Unpacker.
Scene Unpacker is limited to the rar format. It has been specifically designed for so called scene releases which are normally distributed as rar archives.
A folder can be selected in the file browser. The program scan that folder and subfolders automatically for rar archives. Any rar archive found is then listed in the interface so that it can be extracted easily.
The application seems to have troubles recognizing rar files correctly since it added several jpg images that ended with numbers as archives as well. This alone makes it rather impracticable to use unless it can be ensured that images are not located in the rar archive folders.
Scene Unpacker requires the Microsoft .net Framework. It can be integrated into the Send To menu for extra context menu integration.
The Scene Release Unpacker (SCRU)
SCRU, just like Scene Unpacker, have been specifically designed for P2P downloaders. It is basically a background program that can monitor multiple directories for new archives and process them automatically whenever they are discovered.
The app is complex as it provides lots of features that require configuration. It supports all the basic options one would expect like shell integration or logging. Advanced features include configuring different profiles and filters for specific usage scenarios.
The Scene Release Unpacker supports both rar and zip archives. It requires the Microsoft .net Framework 2.0 and can be downloaded from the developer website.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.