Igor Pavlov, the developer of the archive program 7-Zip for Microsoft Windows, released 7-Zip 17.0 Beta to the public on April 29, 2017.
The new version of the program ships with a couple of changes, but the most important aspect of its release is that 7-Zip development continues.
If you look back, you will notice that only a few new stable version have been released in the past six or so years. The last releases, 15.x in 2015 and 16.x in 2016 were the first non-beta releases in years.
The new beta version does not necessarily mean that we will see a new final release in 2017, but it seems likely that the next version will be released this year.
First the basics: 7-Zip 17.00 Beta has been released for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the Microsoft Windows operating system.
Interested users can download the beta version as exe or msi files from the official project forum. Please note that the beta will replace any previous version of 7-Zip installed on the computer.
Also, it is beta software; if you are on a production machine, you may not want to install the beta and wait for the release of the final stable version instead.
The changelog of the new 7-Zip 17.0 is rather short, and three of the four entries can be dealt with quickly as there is little to talk about:
Probably the most important feature addition is this:
7-Zip now reserves file space before writing to file (for extraction from archive).
It can reduce file fragmentation.
Basically, what it means is that 7-Zip will reserve the required disk space for file extractions in that version and going forward. So, if you are about to extract that 4 Gigabyte large archive, space will be reserved by 7-Zip before the extraction begins. File fragmentation may slow down the loading of files, especially on platter based drives.
New features may land in future beta releases, or the stable release. The first 7-Zip 17.00 release indicates that development continues, and that is definitely a good thing. While I moved on to Bandizip, 7-Zip is still a solid alternative to any archiving program out there.
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