Unzip Software That I Use

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 20, 2010
Updated • May 9, 2017
Software, Windows software

Having at least one unzip software at your disposal is a must, considering that many files that you download from the Internet or receive from colleagues are compressed to save up bandwidth during file transfers. Another reason why files are compressed is that you can add multiple files to a single archive which, in turn, improves manageability.

Some operating systems come with basic support for unzipping files. Windows 7 for instance can unzip zip files without third party tools. Then again, most users will encounter other compression formats such as 7z or rar eventually which means that they do not a third party software to unpack those files on their computer system.

I'd like to share the two programs that I use for the purpose. Wait, two programs? Yes, I'm using two programs to unzip files on my PC.


7-zip is a classic unzip software that supports a wide variety of formats. It can pack and unpack formats such as zip, gzip, tar or 7z, and unpack only compression formats such as rar, iso, msi, cab or dmg.

The program integrates into Windows Explorer, so that it becomes possible to quickly unpack compressed files with a right-click on the file. It furthermore comes with a graphical user interface that can be used as well to pack or unpack files in the operating system.

I use 7-Zip to compress files and to unpack single archives on my computer. It's extensive support of compression formats makes it ideal for those two tasks.

Update: I switched to the excellent Bandizip in recent years, as it supports the very same things that 7-Zip supports, and then some.

Extract Now

extract now

Have you ever downloaded or transferred many compressed files at once? I did, and that's where I realized that 7-Zip was not the best program for those situations. Say you have a directory full of compressed files, some split into multiple files.

The best tool for this situation is Extract Now which integrates into Windows Explorer as well. Simply right-click the folder containing the compressed files and select Search for archives from the context menu.

Extract Now will locate all archives in the folder. The unzip software can be configured to extract all archives automatically, or after user input only. The program can also be configured to monitor directories to unpack new archives that are stored in the directories automatically.

In short; I use 7-zip to pack and unpack individual files, and Extract Now to mass extract compressed files in a directory.

Which unzip software do you use? Let me know in the comments.

Unzip Software That I Use
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Unzip Software That I Use
I highlight to compression programs for Windows that I use regularly to unpack archive formats on machines running Windows.
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  1. Korde said on December 20, 2010 at 10:05 am

    I use 7-zip as its free ware. Only issue I found is at times some compressed file don’t opened and show error when accessed through WinZip. otherwise I love it. Specially its contextual menu.

  2. Alex said on November 25, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Noone mentioned HaoZip. This software handles pretty much any compressed file. It’s free and you can even apply a skin to make it look just like WinRar. WinRar users will find it very familiar.

    Visit their site here: http://www.haozip.com (it’s in chinese)
    or download the setup from here: http://download.haozip.com/haozip_v2.1.5278.multi.exe

  3. Thomas said on November 22, 2010 at 11:40 am

    IZarc and UniExtrcact for installers (as most apps run portable) is my choice.

  4. kalmly said on November 21, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    This is something I’ve never understood. Truly. All I’ve ever done is double-click. Well, maybe back in Windows 95 I used an UNzipper. Then I acquired a Win7 laptop and had to install 7zip. ???

  5. jolliday said on November 21, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    I use 7zip predominantly. Re zip generally, you may be interested in Zipinstaller by Nirsoft: “The ZipInstaller utility installs and uninstalls applications and utilities that do not provide an internal installation program. It automatically extracts all files from the Zip file, copies them to the destination folder you select, creates shortcuts in the start menu and in your desktop, and adds an uninstall module to allow you to automatically remove the software in the future.” I find it very useful.

  6. Jeanjean said on November 21, 2010 at 11:03 am

    I used “Ultimate zip” awhile.
    Now, I use 7zip and I am very satisfied.
    If I have several compressed files (Never more than a dozen), I select them all together and I ask 7zip extraction by right-clicking.

  7. Ivan Kolevski said on November 21, 2010 at 2:06 am

    7-ZiP FTW :) Have used it for the last 4~5 years, does everything that I need. I have tried tugzip, uniextract, winrar, peazip, ….

  8. Roman ShaRP said on November 21, 2010 at 12:04 am

    7-zip or file manager plugins (zip and 7-zip again).

  9. rono_ceh said on November 20, 2010 at 11:55 pm
  10. Jashar said on November 20, 2010 at 10:38 pm


  11. TatesMan said on November 20, 2010 at 6:59 pm


  12. X said on November 20, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    7-Zip is excellent. You can uncompress multiple files very easily: Just select them, right-click and choose 7-Zip/Extract here (or Extract Files to another folder).

    1. Martin said on November 20, 2010 at 5:52 pm

      That’s true, but it is not that easy anymore if you have a large directory with several multi-zip volumes since you have to select the first file of all compresses archives that you want to unzip. That’s the main use for Extract Now on my system.

  13. MartinDK said on November 20, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    I also use the built-in zip functionality in Total Commander. It also has a plugin that gives compatibility with 7-zip. Otherwise I on occasion use WinRAR when Total Commander doesn’t work – hasn’t been necessary in a couple of years, though…

  14. Crodol said on November 20, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    I also use the .zip functionality of TotalCommander.
    Occasionally I use PeaZip http://www.peazip.org/
    fro playing around with compression methods etc.

  15. Mayur said on November 20, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    I’m using WinRar since past 5yrs, it’s simply the best.

  16. Transcontinental said on November 20, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    I’ve always used (as far as I remember) IZArc Archiver, handles many archive formats, functional. But I hadle most archives with Total Commander’s built-in module.

  17. Dan said on November 20, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    7-zip is good enough for me. Or I can live with Windows’ built-in zip folder capability. My needs are simpler than yours. :p

  18. SomeGuy said on November 20, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Uni Extract
    Unpacks/unwraps just about everything, archives, installers, cabs, .debs, yums, rpms, bins…everything.

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