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Two useful features of 7-Zip

7-Zip is my favourite file compression tool. It is free (and open source), clean, fast, and multi-languages.

I have used 7-Zip for a couple of years but only used it as a simple compression tool. Recently I happened to open up 7-Zip's main interface (right click on a file name or folder name in Windows Explorer and from the popup menu, select 7-Zip, and then Add to archive...) and noticed two valuable features that I used to resort to the help of other software.

Here are the two useful 7-Zip features that are often overlooked.

1. Compress to a normal Zip format (.zip file extension).

Zip format (.zip file) is probably the most popular compression format because of the popularity of WinZip.

In the past, when I sent compressed stuff to friends, the first question I asked was if they had 7-Zip installed because my compressed file was in 7z format (.7z file extension). Well, often times my friends never heard about 7-Zip so they have to download and install 7-Zip before they can extract my stuff from the archive.

Now the pain is over. I can use 7-Zip to compress files into Zip format (.zip file extension) and my friends can use their WinZip to uncompress it. On the other hand, for a feature that I have used all the time, when friends send compressed stuff to me in Zip format, I also can use 7-Zip to uncompress it even though I don’t have WinZip installed on my computer. What a wonderful world!

2. Encrypt the compressed file.

Sending files on the internet is not safe. I always encrypt my archive before I send it out online. 7-Zip comes with a strong encryption feature where you can specify a password to protect the archived content. In addition to encrypting the content, you can also encrypt archive header, including file name(s), if you use 7z format for the compression.

It's worthwhile to spend some time exploring other features in 7-Zip (or any other software you use on daily basis). You may find that gold is just right under your finger tips but you haven’t paid attention to them for years. Slowdown, look around and think. Opportunities are always around us.


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