Windows 11 will soon extract RAR, 7z and other archive formats natively
Microsoft's Build 2023 developer conference first day has brought a number of important announcements regarding the future of Windows 11. While AI integration has been the main focus so far, Microsoft did reveal non-AI features that are coming to the Windows operating system.
Panos Panay, Chief Product Officer, Windows and Devices, published a very long post on the official Windows blog about AI and Windows 11. Panay unveiled the new Dev Home application and Windows Copilot improvements, as well as Bing Chat plugins for Windows and more.
Readers who have made it all the way to the bottom of the, very long, post, may notice the following paragraph: "We have added native support for additional archive formats, including tar, 7-zip, rar, gz and many others using the libarchive open-source project. You now can get improved performance of archive functionality during compression on Windows."
It confirms that Microsoft's Windows 11 operating system will soon be able to open more archive formats natively. Panay lists rar, tar, 7z and gz formats specifically, but mentions that other archive formats will also be supported.
Windows 11 will use libarchive for that, an open source multi-format archive and compression library. Libarchive supports several other formats, including lha, cab, xar or cpio archives. Whether all of these will be added to Windows 11 is unclear at this point. It is also unclear if advanced archive features, such as password protection, will be supported.
The change improves usability for users of the Windows 11 operating system as it gives them the option to unpack more archives without having to install a third-party software on the system first.
Windows 11 supports a few archive formats only, including zip, currently. A right-click on a zip archive displays an option to extract the contents of the archive to the current directory.
Once support for the additional archive formats is added, right-clicks on supported archives will show the same option to users of the operating system.
Windows 11 users who want to create archives still need to use an archive software for that. The applications may offer other features, such as the ability to repair archives or extract individual files from them, which Windows does not support.
The introduction may impact downloads of archive software on the Windows platform.
The option to extract multiple archive formats natively on Windows is a useful usability feature. While it will remain limited in some aspects, it may be sufficient for users who just need to extract the occasional archive on their device.
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