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Best Compression Utility


What is the best compression utility?  

153 members have voted

  1. 1. What is the best compression utility?

    • WinRAR
    • WinACE
    • WinZIP
    • UHARC
    • Other

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winrar is very good. it can extract files quicker that winzip.

winzip, however - (and you may want to test this for yourself) - can compress quicker than winrar.

therefor, I use winrar to unzip, and winzip to zip.

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Some polls ought to have an expiry date, or to be closed & recreated with a set of modern choices. But there's no point for a normal forum user to create v2 of this poll unless this one is closed really. Perhaps a mod can take care of it?

Right now, the choices are mostly:

  • WinRAR
  • 7zip
  • windows built-in zip support
  • WinZip
  • PowerArchiver
  • IZArc
  • TugZip

There's several factors that come into play: price (not everybody wants to spend $50 on this), formats handled (zip, rar, 7z, etc), compression speed, max compression ratio, how good the interface is (options, layout, etc) and shell integration is, support for names containing unicode chars, etc. For some others, advanced features might make the difference, like a good set of command line options too. I might find time to make a quick comparison of them sometime soon.

Anything to do with ace, lha or arj just don't belong on a modern list much like arc and others. I haven't seen anyone use or even mention any of those format in over 10 years.

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1) lha seem to be still very popular in Japan

Wikipedia says so, but no quoted sources or anything... (I'd love to see some download stats or such) That part of the page was written back in 2004, which seems to be based on the sole evidence of a page about "History of Data Compression in Japan", that was first written back in 1991. Mind you, it very well might still be the case (I'm just not going on a trip to Japan just to find out), but in any case that would be an exception...

Format wise (unless you live in Japan perhaps), there's only 3 big players:

-zip, not very good, but universally supported

-rar, good, but winrar isn't free

-7zip, can compress a little bit better than rar, and there's free software, but the compression times are longer (can be quite long for large files @ max compression)

(unless you happen to use Linux, where gzip and such is pretty common...)

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I wasn't talking about what Wikipedia says, just my personal experience when downloading apps from Japan. :)

I gave a link to the compression test just to avoid the "generic" "Winrar is faster", but "7-zip is tighter" and "Zip is more..." argument, the test results show HOW MUCH one is faster or tighter than the other, and should give an objective way to judge which is the "right" one for a given use.

(without forgetting the "35,94 € of advantages" previously highlighted) ;)


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Best (a really relative term) is one you need at the moment, cause some use zip, some use rar, some gzip, etc. You gotta use the one that does the job. If it doesn't support your archive type you're trying to extract or create, SOL.

Or, the best is one you're satisfied with...

Personally, I prefer Winrar, fastest or not, tightest or not or BEST or not. However, I also started using gzip because grub can load gzipped floppy images.

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