Tips & Tricks

Compression Utilities to Handle ZIP/RAR/7Z

Written by Kevin

What can I use to to open a RAR, ZIP or 7Z type file? We have just what you are looking for. Check out the best compression utilities.

Many of you probably have to use some sort of zip program one time or another.  Maybe a friend sends you a file and it’s compressed into a .zip file.  Or maybe it’s in another type of file like .rar or .tar or .iso.  WinZip is a popular program that is most of the time already on your computer when you first buy it.  However, what if you are a person who made your own computer?  You have to pay for it and it’s not cheap either.  So, you look for another zip program but what to choose?  Well, I’m here to help and don’t worry…

They’re all free.


Let’s start with a good one and my favorite, 7-zip.  This zip program is fast, and compatible with most any file you could think of.  I can’t even list them there are so many.  It’s even badass enough to have its own file type, .7z.  Once you install it, it’s ready to go.  If there are any settings you need to play with, it’s the file types it can open.  All you have to do to change the settings is when you have the program open, you go to Tools at the top.  Under that, click Options and a dialog box will open and all the choices will be right there.  Just select all and click ok.


Next is a program called jZip.  It’s actually based on the same technology that 7-zip was built on.  It is not as compatible as 7-zip but still really quick.  I was able to open a 50mb .zip file in a second.  I barely had time to start and stop the imaginary stopwatch I had.  The GUI is better and more user friendly than 7-zip.  It has a style button that allows you to change the style of the interface.  You could also change what information about the file you see e.g. Modified date, Size, etc.

Another good one is WinRar and this one is available for 32-bit and 64-bit systems.  This is a good one because it scans for viruses when it packs and unpacks and is good at it.  Also, it compresses files really well, much better than WinZip.  This one doesn’t have as much compatibility as the previous two but it still has a healthy number of files it is compatible with.  I also like the all-around safety of this program.  It has really strong encryption and archive damage protection.

Mac OS X

I gotta give credit to my buddy Kevin on this one since he is the Mac Guru.  He found a couple of good zip programs for the Mac.

First, is the Unarchiver.  It is designed to be compatible with numerous file types.  Also it can handle files created in non-English versions of other Operating systems.

Another is UnRarX.  This one is cool because it can restore corrupted or missing archives using par2.

Lastly, we have StuffIt Expander.  This one you can get in the Mac App Store.  It has the same compatibility as the others (maybe even a bit more) and it does it pretty quickly too.

Well, I hope this helps.  If you have any questions, put them in the comment section below.

About the author


Kevin is the Founder and Senior Editor of Tech Heavy. When he isn't writing about the latest tech tools he spends his days working in an IT department in Dubuque, IA. @kevincray