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Zipeg is a free, open source extractor for popular archiving formats such as ZIP, RAR, 7Z, TAR, TGZ, BZIP2, ISO, CBR, CBZ and many others - it currently supports 17 popular formats used by Windows, Mac OS X and Linux users.
The main purpose of this tiny software is to allow you to open a compressed file, sort filenames in alphabetical order (also uses autodetect filenames encoding), view its content (including photo previews) and extract the content from it: it can also open and extract the content from password protected archives (encrypted) such as ZIP and RAR files including those that contains multiple parts. Currently, Zipeg is available in two versions: for Microsoft Windows and another one for Mac OS X users.
Setup: If you don't have JAVA installed on your computer, Zipeg won't continue the installation while your default browser will open automatically taking you to the official JAVA website - allowing you to download the latest version of JAVA. Please install it and then, try again to install Zipeg - now the setup will work. For additional questions, please visit the FAQ or the support sections.
Note: When you will open the program for the first time, you will be prompted to choose the default viewer for the file types associated with Zipeg. Keep in mind that all of them are archiving/compression extensions (.zip .7z .rar .tar .tgz etc.) so my advice is to choose "All" and then hit "OK".
Main usage: There's no need to repeat the list of features found at the top of this page. To keep it simple, if you want to open files, this software can open and extract the following compression formats: .zip (Zip archive), .7z (7-zip archive), .rar (RAR: Roshal archive), .bz2 (BZip2 archive), .gz (GNU Zip archive), .tgz (same as tar.gz), .tar (Tape archive), .arj (Archiver Robert Jung), .lzh(LHA/LZH archive), .z (Unix Compress (LZC), .cab (Windows Cabinet), .chm (Compressed HTML), .cpio (Posix CPIO/Pax archive), .ear (Enterprise archive), .war (Web archive), .cbr (Comic Book Archive for RAR), .cbz (Comic Book Archive for Zip). Please note: the file name extension indicates the archive type used.
While I was playing with this application and testing all of its functions I noticed that preview function does a great job. Sure, probably you would use this feature for pictures but I was able to preview even a .exe file that actually opened the main software interface (e.g. ZSNES a game simulator that is delivered as an archive but it should also work with similar programs). Obviously, the program didn't actually run and I had to terminate it using ALT+F4 keyboard combination but it's nice to see that you can take a preview of such files using Zipeg. As a comparison, WinRAR doesn't seem to have this ability and when attempted to open the same file, I can only see a window with a bunch of scrambled, random-text meaning nothing for me as a regular user.
You can't create archives: According to the developer of Zipeg, the purpose of this tool is to provide a "deliberately simple and unsophisticated application" for those who need a free extractor, not an archiver and he also gives the best example on how Windows can compress files. You're probably thinking that Windows can create only one type of archive and that's correct.
A common example: while all the other extractors can extract the content of popular compression formats, they are unable to create certain archive types for instance: RAR format. RAR archive format has been introduced by WinRAR and while almost all popular archiving utilities can extract .rar files, due to its proprietary license WinRAR is the only program that can create RAR compressed files. Therefore, if you read again the message provided by the developer of Zipeg - it makes sense.
Conclusion: I am personally a fan of user friendly (easy to use) tools. This utility is by far among the easiest file openers/extractors that I ever used: the main software interface is light, clean and provides a confirmation message after each step when using the program so the learning curve is close to 0. You just download, install and use the program intuitively. Finally, I would like to say that this is a clean, open source software and most alternatives use bundles/unwanted installers or you have to buy them (shareware) and if you want to encourage and support the author's work - please donate!