Friday, 14 October 2005

Great free Windows software, part 1

by Charles Pooter

An occasional feature where I recommend cool or useful software for Microsoft Windows. To qualify the software can be free as in freedom or just free as in beer (who cares), but must not be trialware or nagware. Don't bother telling me to use Linux or Mac OS X, as I can't be bothered. Send recommendations to:
One minor improvement to Windows XP over Windows 2000 is the inclusion of a shell extension which allows you to create, modify and extract .zip files. This allows even novice users to manipulate compressed files and folders with Windows Explorer in the same way as any other file or folder. Excellent. However there are many other archive and compression formats in use and Windows doesn't deal with these natively. What is a Windows user to do when one of his weirdo Linux friends sends him a .tar.gz file or he downloads a .rar file full of mp3s from bittorrent?

My recommendation: 7-Zip. This is free as in freedom and (more importantly) completely free as in beer. 7-Zip's main feature is its support for a new archive and compression format called 7z, but this can be ignored. More importantly 7-Zip can read most file archives that you are likely to ever encounter, including .tar, .rar, .gz, .bz2 and .arj.

Instructions for installation:
  1. Uninstall all other file compression software (WinZip, WinRAR, etc.)
  2. Install 7-Zip, accepting defaults
  3. Open the "7-Zip File Manager" and click Tools -> Options and associate 7-Zip with all file extensions except .zip and .cab (Windows can handle these fine itself).


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your reviews. I found the one on pdf converters very helpful. Comments for that post must be turned off though. I'll send you some info on free software that I use via email. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I also found the comments on free pdf converters very helpful! The most useful, comprehensive article about it that I found on the internet! :)

Thomas Anderson said...

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