Today’s computers are very powerful and hard disk space is no longer a major constraint. However, if you have lots of files to deal with, a good file archive utility can still be very useful. There are many file archive utilities available today—some free and some paid. If you have to deal with lots of files, it is better to opt for a commercial utility such as WinRAR. However, there are many freeware and open source applications that are equally good.
Here are 10 free file archive utilities for Windows:
7-Zip is a file archive tool that offers a high compression ratio. It supports a number of compression formats such as 7z, XZ, BZIP2, GZIP, TAR, ZIP and WIM. Using 7-Zip, you can both pack and unpack these formats. Apart from these, you can also unpack files compressed using ARJ, CAB, CHM, CPIO, CramFS, DEB, DMG, FAT, HFS, ISO, LZH, LZMA, MBR, MSI, NSIS, NTFS, RAR, RPM, SquashFS, UDF, VHD, WIM, XAR and Z formats, though you cannot create these files using 7-Zip. Other features include AES-256 encryption, self-extracting capability for 7z format and a powerful file manager.
B1 Free Archiver (http://b1.org/)
B1 Free Archiver is a relatively new archive utility that is steadily increasing in popularity. Currently it supports zip, rar, 7z, and the native b1 format. In the future version, support for other formats will be added. Coming to the user interface, B1 Free Archiver comes with a very simple easy to use interface that takes little time to get used to.
This utility is available for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android as well. If you are looking for a file archiver for your smartphone, this should fit the bill perfectly.
BandiZIP is a popular file compression utility that handles most popular compression formats, including Zip, ZipX, 7z, and RAR. Bandizip features a fast algorithm for compression and extraction by drag and drop, archiving, and multi-core compression function. The multi-core compression feature allows users to manually choose to use multi-core processor function to increase compression speed. It also comes with an optional archive encryption using ZipCrypto and AES 256 feature. A portable version is also available.
FreeArc is a fast and efficient file compression utility. It also comes with a rich set of features. FreeArc works 2–5 times faster than other most compression programs. It comes with 11 compression algorithms and filters. It also includes LZMA, PPMD, TrueAudio and generic Multimedia compression algorithms with automatic switching by file type. FreeArc is a free open source project.
HaoZip is a widely popular in China. The developers behind this utility are now looking to expand into new markets. HaoZip supports compression into 7z, zip and tar formats, decompresses archives of practically all popular formats. It also has support for virtual CD-ROM mounting and comes with a Skin Changer.
All of the above file archive utilities are more or less the same. All of them support popular archive formats. If I were to choose, I will definitely go for 7-Zip. But it will depend on your personal preferences at to which of these is the best..