Bandizip is probably the best free file archiver right now
Bandizip is a free file archiver for Microsoft's Windows operating system that supports all major archive file formats and many customization options.
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 those programs are all great and may be your top choice when it comes to the unpacking of archives on your devices, I discovered a program back that ticks all the right boxes for me.
The name? Bandizip. It is a free program for Windows that supports all major and many minor archive formats and comes with impressive functionality.
Bandizip support all the features that I require from a file archiver; what those are? Glad you asked.
- 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.
- Convenience - Options to extract one or multiple archives from Windows Explorer and to open extracted folders after extraction.
- Other features - Unicode and long path support is a must, as are options to customize the context menu and other program features such as search in archive functionality.
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.
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 afterward. Here you can associate archive file formats to open with the application so that archive formats open in Bandizip when you click on them on the Windows machine.
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.
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 content of the archive. You can change that however so that the archive gets extracted automatically for instance instead.
Tip: you can add unsupported archive file types to Bandizip if they use a supported format. CBR files are renamed zip files for instance, and you may add support for them in the Bandizip options so that they are opened with the program.
Bandizip displays archives in two panes. The first pane displays all folders of the archive and the main pane the folders and files of the selected level. You can use the sidebar to navigate between folders quickly and run any file directly using the interface.
A click on a column sorts the archive data based on the selection. A click on compressed sorts by the largest compressed file while a click on modified by file modification date.
The application supports several extraction options, for example, to extract to the current directory or an "archive-name" directory, or to a directory that archives were previously extracted to.
Bandizip is highly configurable. Open the Settings with a tap on F5 or by selecting Options > Settings from the menu.
We talked about associating certain archive file types with the program already; you can integrate it in Windows Explorer using various extraction and compression options to run these actions directly from the default file browser.
What I like about this in particular is that you can select the actions that you want in the Explorer context menu. Instead of having ten or so actions displayed there, customization enables you to display only those actions that you want in the menu.
Users who don't use Explorer or don't need to control archives using the context menu can disable integration entirely as well.
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.
- Customize the Bandizip interface to display or hide certain information.
- Configure the program to handle certain unsupported file types as archives, e.g. cbr or cbz files.
When it comes to creating archives, Bandizip may not support a massive number of options but the important ones are there.Â It can create eight different archive types including zip and 7z, split up volumes, add password protection, set up self-extracting archives and change compression levels.
The process itself is super-easy:
- Select New Archive in Bandizip, or right-click on files in Explorer and select the New Archive option there directly.
- Add files to the archive using drag & drop or the "add" button.
- Select a desired filename for the archive and output path.
- Select one of the supported archive formats, e.g. zip.
- Select whether to split the archive into multiple volumes.
- Select a compression level.
- Enable encryption by checking the password box and entering a password.
Most archive creation settings are optional. The fastest way is to simply add files and click on start to create the archive using the default parameters, or to right-click on files in Explorer to create archives this way.
Additional options are provided; you can enable test mode to test the archive, or select to delete files after successful archiving. Note that the latter removes the archived files from the system.
Bandizip is an excellent program for Windows users who need a reliable and powerful archiver that supports all major archive file types and lots of customization options. You can use the program to extract or create archives,Advertisement