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7-Zip 16.01

7-Zip Editor's Review

As faster internet connections and bigger hard drives mean files sizes continue to increase, the world of zipping utilities is a crowded market. 7-Zip certainly holds its own but it struggles to stand out on anything but price.

There's certainly nothing to complain about with the software: it works reliably and doesn't cause any performance problems or crashes. It's also capable of working with a wide variety of formats, including a couple that are mainly used on Linux computers, making this a handy utility for those with a dual-boot set-up.

The main selling-point of the application is a custom 7z format which is billed as creating files up to 40 percent smaller than those of more common zipping techniques. In practice its zipped files are indeed consistently smaller, though by how much is very variable and dependent on the type of file concerned.

The program is quick enough to zip files: on a decent-specification Windows 7 machine it managed to process around 180 Megabytes in a minute. It's not as lightning-fast as some of the commercial options however.

Indeed, that's largely the story of 7-Zip. It's decent but not great in every category: for example, its menu system and integration with Windows Explorer works well enough but aren't particularly smooth or intuitive. But whether any of these limitations are enough to be a problem given it's a free application depends on how often you'll be using it.

Pros: Solid performance; potential to produce more efficient zipping.

Cons: Unspectacular overall; slower than some rivals.

Conclusions: As good if not better than any other free product and certainly worth trying before splashing the cash.

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