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By: Danette Mckay
Archiving files is an important task that most users do at some point. Some people do it on a daily basis while others rarely do. More users need to open archive files than to create them.

So how can you create archives without paying for software like WinZip?

There are many archive file types. The two most popular ones are Zip and RAR. If you receive a file with a Zip extension it means that it is a Zip archive file type. Windows supports some basic built in functionality for opening Zip files and extracting files from them. But if you need some better handling of Zip archives or if you need to create Zip files Windows built-in Zip support is not enough.

So what are your options when it comes to handling archive files? Fortunately there are many options on the market. Some of the options are commercial products that cost money. Some are free to use at home but if used at work or for commercial use you will need to pay for them. And some are completely free for any use.

The most famous compression software is called WinZip. As the name suggests the software focuses on providing Zip archives support on the Windows operating system environment. WinZip has developed over the years and it now supports much more than just Zip files. It can open and create files in many other formats too.

WinZip has two main disadvantages. One is its feature rich user interface which can be confusing for the less technology savvy users. The other one which is really the biggest problem is its cost. WinZip is not free for any use. You can install WinZip for a short evaluation period of 45 days. After that period of time you will need to either pay for it by purchasing it online or remove it from your computer.

If you are not willing to pay for using an archive software you are not alone. Fortunately enough there are many options for using archive software that is free. An example of such software is 7Zip. 7Zip is not just free software it is also open source software which means that you can not only use the software for free but you can also download its source code make any make any changes to it that you need that is if you are a very skilled technology savvy user.

7Zip supports many more file types than just 7Zip. With 7-Zip you can open and extract files from many archive types like RAR and GZip. But the core of the 7Zip software is its own unique file archive type known as 7Z. 7Z archive files are efficient in terms of speed and compression ratio. They are better than Zip in many cases although they are not as popular as Zip. Since 7Zip and other free archive utilities are free the best thing you can do is to play with some of them and decide which one you like the best. There are other free alternatives to WinZip. AlZip is such free software and so are TUGZip and Zipeg.
Danette Mckay writes more about this and other subjects. Check out 7zip for more about this and other subject from Danette Mckay
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