Although Windows comes with its own decent zip tool, there are many third-party applications that pack more punch than the built-in program. One good free zip utility is known as Bandizip, which comes in both portable and full installer versions. The former is 4.0MB while the latter is 2.2MB. The program is compatible with all Windows Operating Systems from Windows XP.
Bandizip has a range of features that will suit both experienced and novice users. For example, seasoned users can choose the elements they want to include in menus, configure compression methods and select file associations among others. The miscellaneous tab allows users to change the interface language or choose a temporary folder although the program automatically extracts files directly to chosen folders. They can also integrate it with Windows Explorer via right-click menus for fast access.
This free archiver can pack and unpack Zip, ZipX, TGZ, TAR, EXE and 7Z formats. It can also unpack many other file compression formats, including RAR, JAR, CAB, ACE, APK, ALZ, ARJ, BZ, BH, BZ2, J2J, GZ, ISO IPA, IMG, LZH, LZMA, LHA, TBZ, TBZ2, PMA, TGZ, UDF, TXZ, TLZ, WIM, WAR, Z and XZ.
Users can test the integrity of their archives, customize columns, edit archive comments or rename files. Other features include:
- High Speed Archiving
- Drag and Drop
- Multi-core compression
- Preview Archive
- Automatic extraction
- Creating self-extracting archives
- Creating or extracting multiple files
- Support for split archives
- Password protection
- Search function
- Support for Unicode
- Illustrated Help file
Why is this Free Archiver Special?
One unique feature of Bandizip is its ability to skip already archived file formats, which allows it to pack files faster than many archivers. The program also extracts files directly to the chosen destination without using a temporary folder, which further increases its speed. However, users can designate temporary folders if they want. It is also possible to configure the program to delete original files automatically after completing its tasks. This flexibility lets it accommodate people with different preferences.
We tested Bandizip with different file formats to gauge its actual performance. Packing a mix of file types and programs was pretty fast. However, compressing media files alone, which are already compressed, took relatively longer.
Overall, using this free zip utility was straightforward because of its minimalistic appearance. However, the lack of an Explorer-based layout when browsing files can make it difficult for some users to find files quickly. Nevertheless, we were impressed with the way Bandizip responded to mouse and keyboard commands.
While it’s almost impossible to find one program that pleases everybody, Bandizip is a robust free zip utility that brings many types of people on board. Although the free archiver installs easily, it can only be installed in individual user accounts. While this does not affect many people, it makes it challenging when dealing with multi-user systems because it will need multiple installs and more storage space.