Have you ever downloaded an email attachment or file that your computer couldn’t open? If the name of the file ended with .zip, .rar or .7z, it’s a compressed archive file.
That means it was squished down and packed up into a smaller size. Compressing a file saves space on your hard drive. It also makes it easier to share via the Internet and email.
While newer versions of Windows can open .zip files, it doesn’t handle other archived file types. Plus, creating your own archived files isn’t the easiest.
That’s where 7-Zip comes in. It’s a free download that you can use to open virtually any archive files or compress your own files. And, unlike the more familiar programs WinZip and WinRAR, it’s free!
Not only can it open files, its 7z format is much more efficient than other archive formats. You can make files 30 to 70 percent smaller than a .zip file. Plus, you can encrypt your compressed files to keep them safe.
Download instructions: At the top of the 7-zip page, choose either the .exe or the .msi download link. Your choice depends on whether you have a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows. If you aren’t sure, download the .exe file as it works for both.